There are twenty-four Presidential Candidates for the 2007 Presidential Election. In other words, there are twenty-three candidates vying to oust the ruling party and its presidential candidate. It makes no sense to have this many candidates when the most sensible plan of action would have been to cooperate and form a single bloc, or at the most two blocs, to unseat the ruling party. The current situation is not only ill-advised; it is a recipe for catastrophic failure. It makes one wonder if the opposition knows anything about politics and power-sharing.
A decent statistician, rational choice theorist, a mathematician, or even a politician with a “scheming and calculating mind” should have explained to these president-wannabes the benefit and advantage of cooperating, and the odds of twenty-three competing against one, in the political arena.It is in best interest of these candidates– and in the interest of Nigeria — to have fewer parties and or form a formidable alliance against the PDP. In practical terms, all the PDP (Yar’Adua and Jonathan) need do is secure about 50% of the votes — either honestly or through rigging — to win the presidency. The twenty-three other candidates sharing 50% of the votes will definitely put them in the loosing column.
Some of these candidates cannot win local elections in their wards. Most have no name recognition beyond their place of birth or place of residence. And in fact most have no money or the political acumen to campaign or explain their policies and vision, assuming they have plans and vision. That Democracy allows for easy entry of contestants doesn’t means any one and every one should contest the presidential election. Elections are a very serious business taken seriously by serious minded people.
Any one who is qualified, and is cleared by the EFCC and INEC may contest the presidential election, but what are people like Sunny Joseph Okogwu, Christopher Ajuwa, Arthur Nwankwo, Maxi Okwu, Aminu Garbarti Abubakar, Chris Okotie, Orji Kalu and Brimmy Olaghere doing in the race? What is Isa Odidi, Ambrose Owuru, Osagie Obayuwana and Akpone Solomon looking for? And then you have Lawrence Adedoyin, Odumegwu Ojukwu, Iheanyinchukwu Nnaji, Attahiru Bafarawa, Mojisola Obasanjo, Galtima Baboyi Liman and half a dozen others masquerading as candidates. What do they want? Why are they contesting, and why are they wasting the people’s time?
Party politics is not for greenhorns, or for the faint-hearted. If Nigerian politicians were serious about the wellbeing of the country, Buhari and Utomi would have joined together to form the major opposing party; and if necessary, have the leftists, the communists and the socialists form a cosmetic bloc. Again, what do these men and women want?
Some observers have inferred that most of the candidates are “planted.” In other words, they are OBJ and PDP stooges — planted to disorganize and disrupt the electoral system. Their chances of winning are something like 1:65 million. Lacking integrity, reputation and name recognition, they have nothing to lose. Others, it’s been said, are contesting just to confuse an electorate that is mostly uneducated about democracy and the political process. In a state of confusion, it is the PDP that will mostly benefit. Other candidates simply want to be “settled” with either Ghana-Must-Go, plumb contracts or other types of payoffs. A few others are mostly in the race for their own ego: bored, and with no future prospect, they enter the race just to feel important and or relevant. Either way one looks at it, it is the electorate and the political system that will bear the brunt of these unnecessary candidacies.
Even so, whatever electoral outcome the nation arrives at, contestants and the electorate should not resort to violence or extra judicial means. Winner should be congratulated, and life must go on. Dissatisfied contestants should, if necessary, take their grievances to the court of law. To employ extralegal methods would demean our democracy, our sensibility and our humanity. Elections should never be a “do or die affair.”
Ladies and Gentlemen…Good luck…Let the 2007 Presidential Election begin!