by Abdullahi Sadiq Fagge
General Buhari was frequently in court, seeking justice. But ironically, the CPC is treating its members and supporters unjustly by not respecting voter sovereignty. Without internal democracy and respect for the freedom of choice, the CPC leaders should not claim to be better or more committed to democracy than any party in the country.
The defection of Mohammed Abacha, a former CPC gubernatorial aspirant in Kano State, from the APC to the PDP, was a courageous decision any politician could ever make. He didn’t have a choice but to leave the APC (formerly CPC) and join the PDP. Even before the CPC dissolved into APC, its leaders had refused to pursue the path of sincere reforms and reconciliation. The sad reality is that the CPC leaders have no respect for the will of the people. Where primaries were freely and fairly conducted, the party leaders would overturn the verdict of the voters and give the ticket to someone they didn’t vote for. In fact, internal democracy is a dirty word in the minds of the CPC leaders.
Which political party that is truly committed to democratic principles would deliberately overturn the results of freely contested primaries and impose candidates that were never elected on the people? Can the wishes of the party leaders be superior to the will of the people? If the CPC national leaders had their officially anointed candidates, why must they organize primaries and then refuse to accept the choice of the voters? Isn’t this tendency the height of arrogance? Why should you waste the voters’ time by asking them to defy harsh weather to come and vote and then give the ticket to someone they never elected?
Democracy has universal standards and the CPC leaders have no right to take the will of the people for granted and then expect unity to prevail in the party. The current internal crisis of disunity and acrimony in the CPC is caused mainly by the despotic, undemocratic, unjust, unpopular and obnoxious policy of imposing candidates on the voters. Mohammed Abacha was a victim of this unjust policy. In the words of Sheikh Usmanu Danfodio, the Islamic reformist, “a society can endure unbelief but it can not endure injustice.” In the 2010 gubernatorial primaries in Kano State, Abacha won 144,000 votes to defeat the party’s anointed aspirant, Colonel Lawal Ja’afaru Isa, who got only 78,000 votes.
If the CPC national leaders had no intention to respect the will of the voters, they shouldn’t have conducted the primaries in the first place, thereby wasting the voters’ time. The so-called party prerogative cannot and should not be superior to the constitution of Nigeria and the Electoral Act. As George Washington, one of America’s founding fathers rightly said, “No man is good enough to govern another without their consent.” You should not run a political organization on the basis of self-righteousness that borders on arrogant disregard for the right of the voters to choose their leaders freely.
General Buhari was frequently in court, seeking justice. But ironically, the CPC is treating its members and supporters unjustly by not respecting voter sovereignty. Without internal democracy and respect for the freedom of choice, the CPC leaders should not claim to be better or more committed to democracy than any party in the country. The imposition of candidates was the main factor that led to the CPC losing its momentum and initial pervasive goodwill.
No politician had contributed to the CPC in Kano State more than Mohammed Abacha. His formidable popularity as a grassroots politician is unmatched. Yet, despite all these sacrifices for the party, he was treated unjustly. And the most disturbing thing about this is that the CPC leaders have arrogantly refused to acknowledge the mistakes they made with a view to making corrections. In fact, they are still wallowing in self-destructive blunders. They are playing the ostrich while disunity is sapping at its foundation.
Mohammed Abacha and his supporters did everything to make the CPC leaders see their mistakes and make corrections so that the party could regain momentum. Unfortunately, they refused to see reason. Instead, they are sinking deeper into the morass of self-defeating blunders. The CPC leaders have not as yet officially discarded the policy of imposing and substituting candidates. In fact, there is no way democratic practice can operate under this despotic condition.