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The Meaning of Democracy in Atikutionary

By: Kali Gwegwe

 Published January 24th, 2011

It did not come as a surprise that the presidential primaries of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) attracted so much attention across the country. As the ruling party, this was normal. However, the decision by former vice president Atiku Abubakar not to accept the wishes of party delegates at the special convention that held at the Eagle Square in Abuja on the 13th of January, 2011 has only helped to turn some minds into arid fields. Democracy will for sure not geminate in such minds. This is a big minus for a nation that is in a hurry to reap the many benefits of democracy. What is perhaps even more worrisome is the fact that who are supposed to promote the culture of democracy are the same people assembling wood to prepare its coffin.

By all standards, democracy thrives on the wishes of the majority. In the case of the 2011 presidential elections, the PDP family openly and overwhelmingly picked President Goodluck Jonathan as its flag bearer. The delegates, for sure have their various reasons for this choice. Following the announcement of the results, many Nigerians; some of whom were strongly opposed to Jonathan’s candidature did congratulate the winner. This is a true example of the fair spirit of democracy. Everybody cannot win.

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It would be recalled that Atiku Abubakar hurriedly left the PDP in 2007 when his presidential ambition could not see the light of the day owing to some personal problems he had with his boss- Chief Olusegun Obasanjo. He did not even come out second behind Yar’Adua. This was enough to warn him of what Nigerians think about him. Not minding all the insults he heaped on the party, Atiku Abubakar returned to his own vomit- the PDP in 2010 so as to enable him have a shot at the presidency once more. He again failed. This time around, the message was very clear: no more business as usual! The days have gone when people held onto shallow and narrow ideologies to dislodge voters. It was for this simple reason that PDP delegates drowned religion and ethnicity in the pool of national unity. The choice of northern voters have clearly shown that the idea of a consensus aspirant for the North only exist in the heart of a few political elites from the region.

There is no doubt that Atiku Abubakar was very popular during the last days of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo administration. This popularity was merely tied to his opposition of the third term ambition of Obasanjo- nothing more. Unfortunately, many did not know this. Even the few that are aware of it refused to tell him the truth just to make the cheap rain continue “falling” into their deep pockets. You can trust some politrickcians!

While not completely ignoring the said zoning arrangement of the PDP, one is forced to opine that it was the selfish decision by the nation’s major tribes not to give enough political space to the minorities in the past that gave rise to strong calls for sharing of political power among the six geo-political units. Ordinarily, this is not necessary. It is believed that the president must have to come from a particular geo-political zone for it to attract human and infrastructural development. The issue of zoning is undemocratic. To kill it, our present crop of political leaders must ensure that development is spread evenly among the six geo-political units.

More than that, it was wrong for the PDP to have promoted an idea or agreement that was in collision with the laws of the land. Clearly, the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria is very explicit about whom and what qualifies one to contest the Nigerian presidency. It only shows how weak our constitution is. Efforts should be made to force all political parties to amend their various constitutions to fall in line with laws of the federation. It is very cheering that Nigerians have chosen national unity far above parochial sentiments.

Kali Gwegwe
2, Greenvilla-Customs Link Road
Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.
0806 407 4810

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