Delegate System: Our Political Headache - By Abdulkadir Buhari Sa'ee

Delegate system of adopting/electing candidate affects everyone, so everyone is a stakeholder. Before we delve deep into explaining the topic under discussion, it is very pertinent to understand some key terms; like Primary election and perhaps it's forms.

PRIMARY ELECTION
This is an election in which party members or voters select candidates for an election. Party elections are one in which a political party nominate candidates for the next general election. Other methods of selecting candidates include:
Caucuses: A caucus is a meeting of supporters or members of a specific political party or movement.
Conventions: may refer to a meeting of a political party, typically to select party candidates.

Party primary has become the sine qua non to our democracy as it essentially strengthen the democratic tenets where the general public or some selected party members stands the chance to select amongst the contestants who will represent the party at the general election.

Electing candidates at party level has been one of the ways that a successful candidate after the primary election stands the chance to contest at the general election. Primary election is expected to make our democratic process more interesting and flourishing, and strengthen it.

It should be noted that the essence of this primary election is for the political parties concerned to select the most credible, competent and able candidates with integrity and political correctness, who are tested and trusted, those who understand the dynamic nature of our political environment, those who could withstand the pressure therein and in turn develop their given area/constituent via doing the needful by accomplishing the goals and promises put forward before them by their people.

The aforementioned should be the way, reason and should be the guiding principles upon selecting candidates during primary elections but that isn't the case hence given the underlying reason of our bitter complaints on some of our representatives.

The resultant of the given negative political indices above has been due to the preponderance adoption of Indirect Primaries (Delegate System) by the political parties leading to a serious negligence to adhere and conform to the principles and ingredients that characterizes an outstanding, tested and trusted politician who could make it through by realizing our (masses) dreams but rather eyeing for the outstanding and the highest bidder.

Nowadays, selecting candidate during the primary election has become a financial avenue by our delegates. They always pray for the safe return of elections period. They plan for it, hoping it will shoulder and take care of their financial burden. For this reason, hardly could one see a successful candidate with integrity winning at the primaries without complying to the delegates terms and conditions and at least give-out even a little amount. Emphatically, this has been the reason for our cries and crises.

Types of Primary Election
Without delving deep into considering other forms of primary elections but focusing on the nature of our political environment, it is very pertinent to lay emphasis on those forms of primaries mostly adopted in the country which is Direct and Indirect modes.

Direct Primary The selection of a party's candidates in an election limited to registered party members. This prevents members of other parties from "crossing over" to influence the nomination of an opposing party's candidate. People may vote in a party's primary only if they are registered members of that party prior to Election Day.

Indirect Primary Voters elect delegates who choose the party's candidates at a nominating convention. Until recently that a political party was seen adopting direct primary in some spheres, it has mostly been indirect primary where those delegates choose those to represent their various parties at the general elections. Thus, it has brought us to the area where special emphasis should be laid; Indirect Primary/Delegate System.

Delegate System/Indirect System has been the form or mode of primary election mostly adopted and used by all the political parties in the country. This, it has become the norm and normal method upon which these political parties select their candidates who will represent the party at the general elections. In recent times, it is mostly understood that political party tend to adopt delegate system as their mode of party's primary in order to get rid of those perceived as unwanted politicians or perhaps those who have been threatening the unity of the party or have one or the other problem with the party.

From the foregoing and many more practical lessons at our disposal, we will note that this delegate system has been our problem and has created a severe political vacuum to our development and to our democracy. It has done us more harm than good in a political sense. It should help us in building a stronger democracy where only the competent and transparent would make it through, where only those with integrity enjoy it, benefit from it and where the entire masses support it.

I see this delegate system as our political headache. We've been celebrating for a political victory yet it is a pyrrhic one; one tantamount to defeat. This has largely been due to the so-called delegates; their negligible attitude, incompetence, and sole focus on who pay most.

This is a very important topic indeed. The recently conducted primary elections by various political parties aroused my interest in the credibility of delegate system in the selection of candidates. Despite being me from academic circle, i lack the basic understanding of the whole concept. Those that we dubbed delegates are they really the representatives of the teaming electriratesm. It's saddening to rate some of the works and projects done by some of our representatives. It is politically pathetic. Politicians focus more on taking back what they spent during their party's primary than executing a project in their constituents. Addendum to this, this very act of collecting or focusing more on the highest bidder has been the reason why most of these representatives couldn't turn back to their constituents until close to the election period.

With this recent unfolding attitude of our delegates, defying the existing Delegate System/Indirect Primary and all it's tenets is the best option while support other transparent form; where every voters would have the chance to take part provided one will adhere and respect the party's value and in fact even if it takes one paying a dime to the cost of the party primaries. What I do know is that we're all doing it to make our country great again which will further be translated into making our lives better and still what I do know is that masses if given the chance would not make a wrong choice by selecting those who could not deliver and even if the wrong choice is made, I am sure it will be much more better than the ones chosen by the so-called "Delegates".

In a nutshell, the masses shouldn't be left with no hope on their representatives all because of the wrong and selfish choice made in their (masses) place by the delegates but rather their (masses) hope should be restored by giving them the chance to select their representatives starting from party primaries. It will be much better that way even if they (masses) will collect money from the contestants. I think that is their collective political decision to do so but not few selected people (delegates) taking and making their selfish decision for the whole.

In conclusion, there are many forms of selecting candidates at preliminary elections such as Open, Semi-Open, Closed and Semi-close systems which are more transparent than the Delegate system but since we are only using two forms, direct primary will rather be the best option in the country

About the Author
Buhari Abdulkadir Saee is a Youth Advocate, Social Media Commentator and Political Analyst.

Edited by adamutarome@compasstimes.com.ng

Type: 
Online Symposium