|Peoples Oligarchic Party|
There is a comedy being played out, right now in Nigeria. Perhaps, it should be laughed over if it is not something that bothers on Nigerias wellbeing and the future of the entire citizenry. After the the humilliating defeat of his third term strategy, the president , Chief Olusegun Obasanjo charged stae governors to select the next president from among themselves. Ironically 26 of these same governors has been condemned by the president through his EFCC chairman as being corrupt, threatening to prosecute them for corruption once their veil of imunity is removed.
Democracy is, -as we all know-literally, rule by the people (from the Greek demos, “people,” and kratos, “rule”). The methods by which this rule is exercised, and indeed the composition of “the people” are central to various definitions of democracy but useful contrasts can be made with oligarchies and autocracies where political authority is highly concentrated and not subject to meaningful control by the people. While the term democracy is often used in the context of a political state, the principles are also applicable to other areas of governance- Wikipedia.
Among political theorists, there are at least many contending conceptions of democracy. On one account, called minimalism, democracy is a system of government in which citizens give teams of political leaders the right to rule in periodic elections. According to this minimalist conception, citizens cannot and should not “rule” because on most issues, most of the time, they have no clear views or their views are not very intelligent.
Oligarchy-on the other hand- is a form of government where most or all political power effectively rests with a small segment of society (typically the most powerful, whether by wealth, family, military strength, ruthlessness, or political influence). The word oligarchy is from the Greek words for “few” (oligo) and “rule” (arkhos). Some political theorists have argued that all governments are inevitably oligarchies no matter the supposed political system.
Oligarchies are often controlled by a few powerful families (In the case of Nigeria, please read Godfathers) whose children are raised and mentored to be heirs of the power of the oligarchy, often at some sort of expense to those governed. In contrast to aristocracy (“government by the ‘best'”), this power may not always be exercised openly, the oligarchs preferring to remain “the power behind the throne”, exerting control through economic means. Oligarchy is not always a rule by wealth, as oligarchs can simply be a privileged group.
A polity may become an oligarchy by default as an outgrowth of the shifting alliances of warring tribal chieftains, although any form of government may transform into an oligarchy at some point in its evolution. The most likely mechanism for this transformation is a gradual accumulation of otherwise unchecked economic or political power. Oligarchies may also evolve into more classically authoritarian forms of government.
A look at what is happening in the Peoples Democratic Party today raises the question of whether they are practicing a democratic, Oligarchic or an Authocratic form government. The PDP governors are engaging in an absurdity of the absurd. A bastardisation of the entire democratic process. They have been mandated by their leader, the President and commander-in-chief of the Nigerian armed forces, chief Olusegun Obasanjo, to select from among themselves the person to succeed him in ruling Nigeria. One is not surprised by this however. The entire process of drafting Obasanjo himself into governance reeks of the same oligarchic clique, imposing their will on Nigerians by imposing a supposedly unwilling candidate on Nigerians through a thoroughly manipulated election!
Reportedly, when the PDP Governors Forum reconvened Thursday, only former Information Minister, Prof. Jerry Gana was the non-governor who signified his interest in the job. Six other governors, Obong Victor Attah (Akwa Ibom), Donald Duke (Cross River), Peter Odili (Rivers), Afamu Muazu (Bauchi), Abdullahi Adamu (Nasarawa) and Ahmed Makarfi of Kaduna indicated their interest before the search panel headed by the Ekiti State governor, Chief Ayo Fayose.
The governors’ search party was given a mandate to find a presidential candidate from among them. The clear implication is that the candidate is going to come from among the sitting governors. They (governors) too, said that they are determined to make that happen.
However, the PDP scribe disagrees, Chief Ojo Maduekwe was quoted as saying; “Concerning the emergence of a presidential candidate, the party remains committed in principle to an inclusive, non-restrictive approach in which the searchlights for a successor to President Olusegun Obasanjo will be both internal and external.”
According to him, barring when the decision on which of the remaining five zones will produce the party’s presidential flagbearer, the party will not only search for a successor to President Obasanjo from among party members within and outside those currently serving as governors, ministers, senators and other public office holders “but those who have also contributed immensely to the growth of the party.”
Frontline contenders, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar the (former?) vice-president, and the former president, General Ibrahim Babangida has -according to reports-refused to submit their candidature to the search parties, despite being prominent members of PDP. Similarly, Abia State governor, Orji Uzor Kalu who was the first to declare his presidential ambition also yet to appear before the Fayose search committee, faulted the brain behind its composition in the first place. Said Kalu: “Democratic process must be open and transparent, and it has to manifest in the way the party carries out its activities. There is no system of government that will say, ‘go and select a candidate among yourselves’ and you expect the entire Nigerians to just accept that candidate. This is not a village meeting”
Nigerians have always felt they are helpless and excluded from deciding what is best for them. Whether the matter is leadership or policy, the feeling has always been the same. “In our clime, as Christmas presents go, parents who do the pickings are not as benevolent as to consider the preference of their kids. That is also the way it goes for the choice of president in Nigeria. Here, the election of our number one citizen has become the prerogative of a few power brokers who would have done all the permutations after which the electorate would be left to give the seal of approval to their choice”.- Segun Adeniyi.
The question that should agitate the minds of PDP membership is.. What is their constitional provision for electing their presidential candidates. Perhaps, just as the present members of the PDP executive came to office through affirmation what may happen in August when the PDP will likely hold its presidential primaries will merely be an affirmation, rubber-stamping whomsoever the governors end up
Is this not therefore a Peoples Oligarchic Party – A government of the rich and privileged, by the rich and privileged and for the rich and privileged.