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October 3, 2007 - December 2, 2007



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The Basis of Endorsing Candidates in 2003



Prof. Omo Omoruyi, mni

Former Director General,

Center for Democratic Studies(CDS)(Abuja) 1989-1993




I have been following developments in Nigeria, especially as regards the 2003 presidential election.   From the names of presidential candidates and the interests they represent, there are four tendencies in the country as it faces the 2003 series of elections.  


The first is made up of candidates with a national appeal and with organization throughout the country to see them through the various stages of the election.   In this category are Chief Olusegun Obasanjo of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and General Muhammadu Buhari of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP).  These two candidates represent two conflicting visions for Nigeria.   What these visions are will be made clear later.   This would be the basis for Nigerians at home and abroad to decide who to endorse and vote for in 2003.    Since I cannot vote not being a registered voter in Nigeria, I shall perform the patriotic duty of endorsing one of the candidates later in another essay.   If it is possible, I shall campaign for the candidate of my choice vigorously.   I hope Nigerian would make their choice from these two candidates.  


The second is made up of candidates with ideas and national name recognition.   These candidates are persons of impeccable character who stand for principles that could influence the two candidates with national organization.   What is important about these candidates is that they would not fit into “the anything goes” that dominates the two national political parties.   They are purist and could hardly work with others where they would be made to subordinate themselves to another person.   This is why they would rather go to the country with their agenda.  

Their concept of winning does not include forming a government.   To them, winning an election means simply participating or taking part.   These candidates are therefore bent on making a point in the election that one could take an idea to the Nigerian people and get some votes.   They are, therefore, not in the race necessary to win in the traditional sense.  

In this category are Chief Gani Fawehinmi of the National Conscience Party (NCP), Alhaji MD Yusuf  of the Justice Party, Alhaji Balarabe Musa of the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP) and Chief Anthony Enahoro of the National Reformation Party (NRP).    Chief Enahoro is not a candidate as of the time of writing this essay.   His strategy is to put up candidates at the local and state levels.  


The third is made up of candidates on the face of it with an ethnic agenda but actually with various personal agenda.   How these illustrious sons of Igbo land could substitute their personal agenda with the Igbo agenda is a testimony of how an ethnic group could be so manipulated by charlatan.    The Igbo who I had opportunity to work with in the Nigerian Peoples Party (NPP) in 1979-83 deserved something better than what they are getting from those who are in politics in their name.  

In this category, are Dim Emeka Ojukwu of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA), Chief Jim Nwobodo of the United Nigerian Peoples Party (UNPP) and General Ike Nwachukwu of the National Democratic Party (NDP).  

Dim Ojukwu is bent on getting the votes of the Igbo nation-wide so as to make it impossible for a winner to emerge from the first ballot.  That is his notion of winning an election and he knows that Nigerians outside the Igbo land would not waste their votes for him.  

Nwobodo is fighting a local war with the Governor of Enugu State.   His calculation is that since the election of the president and of the Governor is on the same day and on the same spot, he would as the favorite son of Nkanu and Wawa be able to get their votes.   A favorable vote for him would spill-over to the UNPP Governorship candidate and deny the PDP candidate with a winning vote.   The Jim Nwobodo’s concept of winning therefore is when his favorite son status makes the PDP Governor (Dr. Nnamani) to lose and rub off on the UNPP candidate.  

Jim Nwobodo is using his personal agenda to make the Igbo politically impotent.   Do the Ndi Igbo in Enugu State know this?   They are bright people; they should know that with the best will in the world, there is no way that Nigerians outside the Enugu State would take him seriously.  

General Ike Nwachukwu ought to have known that his presence in the race can only perform the role of a spoiler in furtherance of the goal of Dim Ojukwu.   Maybe he does not know that he is furthering the goal of Dim Ojukwu.   If  this is what he wants to do, he should step down for Dim Ojukwu and let Nigerians know that he is part of the promoters of the “Stalemate Strategy”.


There is a fourth category of candidates from political parties organized around some local people.   The parties in this category cannot contribute to the democratic development of Nigeria.   In fact, they are pollutants of the already charged atmosphere as the people proceed to the 2003 election.   In my view, these candidates are abusing the democratic process.   It is precisely for this reason that I strongly urge that no public fund should be paid to political parties in the name of supporting the party building process in Nigeria.


In the interview I granted to The Country, a Nigerian newsmagazine online in 2002, I made it abundantly clear that I would have the basis of comparing Chief Obasanjo with other candidates.   I shall at the appropriate time endorse candidates at various levels in the country and not necessarily a political party.  

       As a strong believer in the two party system and as one who promoted a two party system in the past that delivered, I shall only endorse candidates of the two national parties (PDP and ANPP) that are capable of forming a government at the national level.  


I would NOT endorse candidates from the second category of candidates, much as I admire the people leading these parties.   There is a room for these parties of ideas.   They should not associate themselves with those who want to promote stalemate.  

 I am disturbed by the various utterances coming out of the offices of PRP and NCP that they want to engage in coalition process before election to challenge the PDP and the ANPP.   This is a variant of the Stalemate Strategy.   I am sure that this is not the aim of the human rights advocate, Chief Gani Fawehinmi or of the aim of progressive, Alhaji Balarabe Musa or of the nationalists, Alhaji MD Yusuf and Chief Tony Enahoro.    


Definitely, I do not favor the third category of candidates not because they are pursuing ethnic agenda (Ndi Igbo) but because they are in the race in furtherance of the “Stalemate Strategy”.   From what I went through with the advocates of Stalemate Strategy in the past under General Babangida, this is the greatest threat to the democracy order.   That it is associated with Dim Ojukwu is further troubling.    I would have thought that his mission in partisan politics would have been to reintegrate the Igbo into the political mainstream represented today by the PDP and the ANPP.



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