The bloody congresses of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) signal that the fine culture of democracy is yet to take firm root in the country. The absence of or a breakdown of internal democratic values is a confirmation that the dictatorial tendencies of the inglorious military usurpation of political power is yet to be purged out of our national political psyche nearly 12 years after the return to democracy. Many people were killed and others seriously injured in the process of the PDP primaries to pick flag bearers to compete in the 2011 general elections. Earlier, bomb explosion rocked Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital; Edo State was rocked with massive shootings; one person was shot in Ota, Ogun State; two persons were reportedly killed in Niger State and many vehicles destroyed; a road union chieftain and supporter of the incumbent governor in Oyo State, Lateef Salako (Eleweomo), was shot dead, and a PDP senator has been arraigned over the murder. Indeed, the inter-party process of picking a flag bearer has been largely characterised by sorrow, tears and blood. For a political party that prides itself as Africa’s biggest; which is expected to display exemplary behaviour, the poverty of internal democratic culture in PDP is disheartening. The tragedy is that even other smaller political parties are not entirely free of this political violence virus. When violence and death trail the choosing of a flag bearer, it is better left to imagination the havoc that would be wreaked when the eventual flag bearer faces other opponents in the real electoral contest. The main cause of this breakdown of internal democracy in the political parties is the lack of fairness and transparency in the choice of flag bearers. The misuse of incumbency and godfather factors to impose unworthy persons as candidates is the bane of the country’s democratic march. The ultimate purpose of imposing candidates against the consensus of party members is for the spoils of office. Unfortunately, the so-called godfathers do not sponsor candidates to provide service for the good of society. They see their investments in political manpower as avenue to corner illicit government contracts and to loot public treasury. Indeed, there is nothing wrong with godfathers if their intention is to empower credible but poor persons to contest to improve service and welfare to the people. In effect, when sponsored or imposed political persons get into public offices, they do not understand or appreciate the purpose of public good to which they should deploy the political power they have acquired crookedly by trampling on the rights of others. The erosion of democratic norms as in the unconstitutional disenfranchisement of qualified persons through dubious internal disqualification mechanism, has frightened credible candidates from the political space. The political space is therefore left, regrettably, to largely low integrity people who are ready to kill or main at the detriment of enthroning a sound democratic culture and providing social welfare. This is why the National Assembly that has been dominated by PDP members could not amend the Constitution or delete or amend anti- investment laws and work on bills that make possible good governance in nearly 12 years of democracy. That is why we have state governors and local government heads that cannot point to any programme or project that has improved the living conditions of people in their constituencies. At inception, this administration trumpeted the rule of law as its strong unique selling point. This is yet to be visible in the disorderly house of the ruling party. A change is needed now for the nation to trust the PDP-led Federal Government to conduct a credible general election.

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