EVOLUTION OF CANDIDATE-CENTERED POLITICS IN NIGERIA
There is a fundamental feature in every democratic nation which has resisted change and spurred itself into relevance: The fundamental feature is that, Political Parties are testimonies to organizational durability and adaptiveness, in the face of strong voter competition. This cuts across the political systems of all democratic nations. Voters are reacting to disastrous and tumultuous undemocratic actions by leaders. Voters respond to a plebiscitary system with a decline in the relevance of political parties as a consequence of voter’s choice. Voters are apparently responding to Candidates much more than previously.
In the Contemporary Nigeria, Candidate-Centered politics can be traced to the 2015 Presidential elections. During this election, voters responded to candidate-centered politics by voting certain candidates because of perceived failures by the incumbents in upholding fiscal responsibility, security of citizens and absolute economic development in real terms. This is the beginning of the evolution in modern times of the decline of Party in the electorate-partisanship on the basis of voter’s choice. Political Parties are yet institutionalized Service Providers to Candidates and huge resource mobilizers but in the evolving dynamics, electorates are nudging away from Party-Centered politics and choosing a preference to Candidate centered politics. This approach has increased and has the tendency to further increase the tenets of democracy. The electoral process will become more participatory, more media oriented and based on candidates’ preference by voters.
Few States in Nigeria seem to be the objects of candidate-centered politics in the coming months because of the challenge of destroyed political credibility by leaders in these states. Political struggle increases especially when political credibility has been destroyed. In the South East, Nigeria, this destruction is a live wire to the evolution of candidate-centered politics. Politics not based on party choice but based firmly on voter’s choice to determine who best fits the plugs to offer the best for the people. Over the past 7 years, Nigerians have groaned under a debilitating lack of innovative, purposeful, developmental democratic leadership. They people do not matter again to their leaders, their interests are put at the residual level of importance, their infrastructure is primitive and governments both previous and present have refused and/or ignored to offer a renewal. Public finance has become a private resource pool for private pockets, education and health have depreciated to abysmal levels only decent persons could ignore. Agriculture is toddling with no reasonable impetus added or supplied for its growth and development. Private industries are established and die off within few years due to lack of service infrastructure. The economic cities still regale in primitiveness and absurd relevance of modern cities. The Leaders have refused to understand and accept that the quantum of power available for their relevance is predicated by the quantum of empowerment achieved for the people. Life generally has been as Hobbes described the primitive times as brutish, cruel and short due to government ability and resolve to owe salaries and pensions for months without end.
Our Country needs a man of clear purpose, a people organizer, a man with credibility to deliver wealth and democratize prosperity. A man seasoned in moral affluence, dedicated to development, charismatic disposition, a man not ready to accept the trappings of self-creation but wealth creation for the people. A man ready to turn tides of developmental depression to prosperity. A man well-schooled in the onions of empathy for workers, businessmen, traders, aged, weak and the vulnerable of our society. As the evolution of Candidate-centered politics rises across Nigeria, a New Deal for Nigerians will be a thing of the present come 2023. It’s our time to change the bull breaking our China wares and bring in a humble personality with a listening ear to the cries of our people who are under crisis of leadership. This new deal of prosperity is loading.
credit: Dr Ody Ajike