July 6, 2022

Nigeria’s leadership selection process riddled with corruption, fraud — Ohuabunwa



By Peter Okutu, Abakaliki

A former Presidential Aspirant on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, Pharmacist Sam Ohuabunwa, has criticised the Nigerian mode of political leadership selection, saying the system was riddled with corruption and fraud.

This was as the former President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria observed that the new Electoral Law didn’t help to checkmate the excesses of politicians at the just concluded national primaries of the ruling-All Progresives Congress, the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party and the African Democratic Congress, among others.

Ohuabunwa stated this during an interview, on Tuesday.

He said, “The experience of the last presidential primaries was a shock to us. It didn’t just create additional shock, because we know the system was already rigged in terms of the undemocratic nature of the primaries. But we felt that based on the efforts being made by the new Electoral Law and serious discussions on the law across the country, there was going to be a change in terms of the way we do political leadership selection or election.

“But the truth is that I was embarassed. Nothing seems to have changed and the focus of a lot of people was on money than anything else and that’s really the shock.

“The system has always been corrupted by influence of money and other manipulative tendencies. The fact is what has overtaken the system is the incursion of monetary influence in our leadership selection process. That’s the painful aspect of the whole issue.

“It therefore doesn’t allow us to be sure that whoever that is elected really deserves to be elected or is the best, because all we see is that those who get elected at primaries had spent more,and that there is a proportionate relationship between those who get elected and those who spent money. So, it looks like that’s the overridden consideration and that’s not good for our democracy.”

He added, “What we should be looking for is what are the people that have the leadership qualities, that can help our country out of this current doldrum. I think that each time there is a job to be done, we should look at certain qualifications of who will fit into the job.

“In Nigeria today is difficult to be sure that we taken that into consideration and that you have been a politician for life is not a enough qualification to assume certain responsibilities. The question is what it the fit of the person to the position? And I think that we didn’t demonstrate that at all at the primaries. I mean in almost all the parties-the APC, the PDP, the ADC and several other parties.

“So it’s becoming more challenging and one would have wished that if you are adopting a presidential system we should adopt it wholesale. The United States, where we took presidential system of government from, primaries are done state by state and all members of the party are involved in electing the candidate. That’s the democratic way of doing it.

“In the past when we used statutory delegates, it was bad. This last one was even worse by the omission and omission of National Assembly members, statutory delegates were omitted. We only had elected delegates. For instance, in the PDP is was only one for a local government. How could you ever entrust the responsibility of electing the president from a local government, to each person? In Abia, there were 17; in Ebonyi, there were 13 and just like. That increased the risk and made it a lot more undemocratic, because the smaller the number the easier it is for them to be hijacked by money politics or other influencers.

“We know that the governors have overridden influence on delegates, money has overridden influence delegates. And most of these national delegates were actually appointees of the governors. So that made the situation much more complex and made it more difficult for rationality to reign.”