Tuesday 15 August 2006

Aspirant elimination depicts murderous democracy

Senseless killing

Just two weeks ago, we learnt of the brutal murder in Lagos State, Nigeria of a ruling party gubernatorial aspirant.

The man was bound, strangled, stabbed and probably shot, anyway, that is delving into detail where information can at best be sketchy as it gets manipulated to ends to make the police seem like they know what they are doing.

And so, the Inspector General of Police suggested that the murder might not have been politically motivated, a view that got me thinking about who would gain the most from taking the political heat off a dastardly murder.

This is weighed within the fact that were still a majority of gubernatorial aspirants locked up in prison as possible murder suspects (They were all released yesterday under strict bail conditions.) as the Scotland Yard hopefully helps clean up the morass of investigation, forensic analysis and consequent nabbing of the culprit, in the hope that the culprit is not already in the position to pervert and circumvent the course of the investigation and justice.

Painting a picture of false rectitude

Definitely, the ruling party – PDP – has the most to gain if this murder can be read is not being political. Considering how tetchy if not asinine, the President has become to the most basic criticisms of his governance; be it the use of the fraud agency to eliminate political opponents; the failed attempt to get a third term; the suspicion that the treasury might be looted with that recent cabinet reshuffle amongst other things.

The feeling that the ruling party under the leadership of the President has become a law unto itself with possible candidates sent six-feet-under for daring to allow the thought of electioneering to pop into their heads is uncomfortable enough as choices necessary to exercise our democratic rights are being made without our consent.

The landscape of security and peace in readiness for the 2007 elections does not look like an encouraging scene; the deeper foreboding would be a return to military regimes if this situation does not receive a more professional handling. Already, the military are gearing themselves up for protecting the peace during the 2007 elections as the Army Chief of Staff indicated when on a visit to the head of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company who praised the army for their work in Niger Delta.

Let us be sincere, what work? People still get kidnapped with reckless abandon in the Niger Delta and our oil production is at 75% of nominal capacity. This is not that kind of force that would ensure violence is kept at bay around the whole nation in 2007.

Another murder another riot

Yesterday, we read again that another PDP gubernatorial aspirant had been murdered in his own home, in Ekiti State where hoodlums are said to now run the roost – it is said that certain politicians now run hire-a-mob services to perpetrate fear and instability around the state to the extent that the house of the state PDP chairman was burnt in the aftermath of the murder.

The PDP has now issued a threat to disqualify aspirants who allow their supporters to fall out of the discipline of well-mannered citizens – Fat Chance!

What makes this even scarier is the fact that these deaths are of aspirants, people who are yet to receive the mandate from their party to standard election in the name of the party – this is long before the primaries have taken place.

Learning the maturity of compromise

The political scene is fraught with difficulties, everyone who is anyone wants to run, for instance Lagos State had at least 18 aspirants looking to represent one party, imagine having 18 runners in a horse race - the Grand National in England usually has more but it is a murderously dangerous course that rarely do half the horses finish it.

It is clear that the people who aspire do not communicate with each other, all sorts of power brokers create factions within their party to command and wield influence more like an arm wrestling contest to ascertain who can make things happen as kingmaker.

It shows a party in utter disarray, the chairmen of caucuses do not command the respect of their party to the extent that they can impose order and discipline amongst the members. If at the grassroots level we suffer such splintering of hierarchies, the party system has failed us and we had better just have independent candidates.

Nigeria still has a lot to learnt about democracy and the fact that it does not have to be a do or die, free-for-all, no holds barred brawl of thugs, mobs and strays – it would take some time for evolution to elevate many to the stage of civilised democratic decorum.


Another PDP Aspirant Killed - Party reads riot act on violence

Riots follow killing in Nigeria

Williams: Ogunlewe, 14 Others Gain Freedom

Hoodlums Hunt for Ekiti Politicians

2007: Army Prepares to Check Violence

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