Though no fewer than four political parties in Nigeria have representatives at all levels of government in Nigeria,it is absolutely Undemocratic that almost all of them were hand picked into offices.We saw it all at the last local government elections in Lagos,South-West Nigeria and we just saw it all over again at the latest charade called Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Convention held at the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, Nigeria to elect the new Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party.
During the second republic, we read and saw how our nationalists led by Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Dr Nnamdi Azikwe and Alhaji Aminu Kano, all of blessed memories, meticulously went through the screening and elections of the then UPN,ANPP and PRP.
Alas, since the advent of the fourth republic the reverse seemed to be the order of the day. Former president Olusegun Obasanjo was taken out of prison to contest the 1999 presidential election on the platform of the PDP. He contested the election alongside the man who later became his Vice-president, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar. After their first term in office as President and Vice-president, a lot of internal bickering was noticed in the four walls of the Peoples Democratic Party. The executives of the party waded into the matter, in the end, the number one citizen of Nigeria and his second in command grudgingly seek a re-election into the offices of President and Vice-president of Nigeria.For the 2007 presidential election, contrary to the norms,President Olusegun Obasanjo picked a former chemistry teacher at the Ahmadu Bello University,Zaria, Kaduna State and the then out-going Governor of Katsina State, as his sole candidate. The internal squabble at the PDP led to the exit of the out-going Vice-president, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar. Though Atiku Abubakar wished to contest as the Peoples Democratic Party candidate for the 2007, presidential election, he was barred from contesting. Alhaji Atiku Abubakar quickly declared his new allegiance with the then Action Congress,a very vibrant political party, which has its roots, majorly in the South-West Nigeria. Due to the large follower ship of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar in the Northern parts of Nigeria,most notably in Adamawa State and maybe because of his marital ties to the South-West, his wife Hadjia Titi Abubakar hails from Osun State, South-West Nigeria. He contested the 2007 Presidential election alongside Senator Bola Tinubu, his Vice-presidential candidate.Back to Lagos, the then out-going Governor, Lagos State,Gov. Bola Ahmed Tinubu against all norms,he singularly picked an Unknown lawyer,Barrister Babatunde Raji Fashola, as the gubernatorial candidate of the then Action Congress party (AC). Those were the days we started digging the graves of internal democracy in Nigeria. Today, in Nigeria, we are seeing not just the death of internal democracy, we can see the graves as well.
Since Nigeria is practicing the Presidential system of government we should learn from the vibrant internal democracy of the United States of America.
Prior to the U.S. Presidential election in 2008,two notable democratic candidates, Mrs Hillary Clinton and Mr Barack Obama slugged it out; before Obama became the overwhelming choice of the people of America. That is the beauty of internal democracy.
Now, the whole world is seeing how the Republicans Mitt Romney, Rick Santorium & co are battling each other for the prestigious party ticket, for the forthcoming U.S.Presidential election 2012. This is the beauty of internal democracy in motion.