We are in the injury time for the final list of candidates that will represent the over 90 political parties registered in Nigeria in 2019 General Election.
The first list of candidates had been submitted within INEC stipulated time after a torturous party primaries.
There is a window for removal and adding of Candidate. Although I consider this unfair, it is the law for now. And such law should be abolished if we are serious about stopping politicians from migrating like herdsmen in search of greener pasture after overgrazing an area.
A candidate cannot after suffering to emerge flag bearer of a party and be substituted by a person, who did not participate in party primaries but given questionable waiver by the NWC of the party. In most cases, these substitutes, are just joining the party and have not absorbed the manifesto or philosophy of the party.
If this substitution at the eleventh hour continues, politicians might as well forget party’s convention and congress, wait for the substitution window and buy their way into any party just to contest election.
These nomadic politicians are threat to entrenching internal democratic practices in our political parties.
Unfortunately, our political parties are only tailored towards winning election, hence they see nothing wrong with this last minute substitution. In fact some parties merely submit any name to INEC within time with hope of harvesting a “quality” candidate who would’ve lost out from primaries of any of the major parties.
They believe that those who lost out, will be super sub, bring in their money and followers to help them win election. They forget that in cricket and football, substitution are made from those who had trained with the team. Substitutes are not taken from enemy’s team or from a bunch of team members who did not participate in training prior to the match.
This substitution of candidate, is forerunner to decamping after election. Some politicians after winning on platform A, jumps back to platform B and shamelessly he would be welcomed and told, “you have come back home.”
Since Nigeria is a country often ruled by the unprepared, Nigerians see nothing wrong in this substitution of candidates. As a matter of facts, followers of politicians, actively encourage them to go shopping for a political party that will adopt them and substitute.
After 2019 General Election, if we must deepen growth of political parties, INEC should stop this substitution of candidates except where a candidate already submitted by INEC dies within 2 months to election.
©️Ashimole Felix, a lawyer is MAJA Party Candidate for Owerri-North State Constituency, Imo State House of Assembly 2019.