Those who troll the two major political parties, the PDP and the APC for picking an Atiku and a Tinubu over, what they term, more suitable candidates to fly their respective party flags in the 2023 Presidential elections either do so for partisanship or out of ignorance of the reasons that inform political parties choice of Presidential candidates.
Firstly, political parties exists in the main to win elections and to form a government at the centre. In this wise, their choices of candidates are usually influenced in favour of those adjudged to have the capacity to do so by power brokers within the party whose interests are at stake. Presidential Primaries are a different ball game from state and regional primaries where a despotic governor can browbeat, intimidate and impose his choice candidates because almost everyone in their respective parties feed off their hands.
In a Presidential primary, the political leaders are usually of near equal powers, far flung with varied interests and the stakes are higher to gamble with by fielding just any candidate. Candidates with name and national recognition, political structure accros states, experience as well as financial muscle to prosecute elections are thus always more favoured to win. Besides, as someone has correctly mentioned, “excitement around elections in most cases is about a candidate whether for or against”
In this wise, and putting most indices into consideration, the PDP and APC made their flagbearer choices for the main purpose of winning elections and for self preservation and not necessarily for the purpose of providing good governance. I understand their choices in this regard and it is only fair to credit them with high degree of political astuteness. 2023 promises to be an epic battle never like before.
My only quarrel is that, for me, their respective choices fell short of the spirit of equity and inclusiveness that is needed at this point in time by not picking their flagbearers from the South – East Geopolitical Zone. Doing so might not necessarily solve our myraid of problems but such tokenism, at this time of national tension and judging from our history could have helped to foster the much needed trust and engender peace and unity.
As it is now, the two major political parties have presented Nigerians with their choices for President come 2023. It is now left for Nigerians to decide whether these choices answers to the kind of change and leadership they desire for their country going forward. They will have to make this decision within the availability of the choices presented to them by smaller political parties who have also elected flagbearers. This is where the “make your votes count” mantra should translate from mere sloganeering to action. This is the only avenue left for the voter to express their choices after the politicians have executed their constitutionally assigned roles.
As for me, come 2023, I will work, mobilise and vote for competence, equity, fairness and justice. It wouldn’t matter if my choice counts in the final outcome, but at least I will be satisfied that I excercised my freewill and voted my conscience which is what democracy is about, after all.