The primary elections of major political parties in Anambra State have come and gone, but what they left in their trail has left a sour taste in the mouth. To say the least, what obtained was far from what many people had anticipated. From alleged manipulated results to shootings, the state saw a repeat of what used to happen in the distant past when results were written in hotel rooms; when thugs were used to intimidate and scare people away and when losers were declared winners. The major political parties in the state witnessed a large dose of the confusion. But then, there were instances where the primaries went well and peacefully too.
However, the cases where things went awry gave the people of the state cause for concern. We are worried because primary elections are supposed to be the first base of the democratic process. Primaries are supposed to offer the people an opportunity to ensure that the best people are nominated to vie for elective positions. But when the process is manipulated or people are intimidated in order for power brokers to foist their candidates on the people, then there is cause to be gravely worried.
What we saw in the week of primary elections in major political parties in the state was not encouraging and showed that perhaps, some of the parties either have not learnt from history, or are about to resurrect the sordid past of the state.
There were cases where in a bid to ensure that favoured candidates got through, the results of primaries were cancelled after such favoured candidates did not scale through. In other cases, some candidates alleged that the delegates list was doctored or manipulated to favour those the parties wanted. Yet in some other cases, force was used, people were shot at and others brutalized. The result was that many people who lost out did not readily concede defeat. This is certainly not what the people are expecting at a period when some gains are already being made.
What was seen in the last party primaries in Anambra State was a far cry from what Nigerians all saw at the national convention of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, in Port Harcourt last weekend. Nigerians witnessed a very peaceful, fair and credible election that produced Alhaji Atiku Abubakar as the presidential candidate of PDP. It was so transparently done that all the eleven aspirants that lost accepted defeat and pledged to work with the winner in the general elections. This is how it ought to be.
The beauty of democracy lies in the freedom of choice by the people and that choice being respected. Anyone that is elected to represent the people must be truly elected. That way, the person will be genuinely committed to the people. The major parties in the state could certainly have done better.
We hope that the gains the state is beginning to make in politics will not be marred by undemocratic actions by desperate politicians and their sponsors. We must at all times do everything to protect out democracy.
We congratulate all those that genuinely won and urge those who did not to trust in God whose time is the best.