Sam Ohuabunwa, a former presidential aspirant on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has expressed dismay with the way and manner political leadership selection is being done in the country, pointing out that the system was riddled with corruption and fraud.
Ohuabunwa, also a former President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), lamented that the new electoral law did not help to checkmate the excesses of politicians at the just concluded national primaries of the ruling All Progressives Congress, the Peoples Democratic Party, and the African Democratic Congress, among others.
Speaking during an interview on Tuesday, Ohuabunwa explained that the experience of the last presidential primaries was a shock to Nigerians, saying that it did not just create additional shock, because people knew the system was already rigged in terms of the undemocratic nature of the primaries.
He stated that they felt that based on the efforts being made by the new electoral law and serious discussions on the law across the country, there was going to be a change in terms of the way Nigeria does political leadership selection or election.
The former presidential aspirant said he was embarrassed, saying that nothing seems to have changed and the focus of a lot of people was on money more than anything else.
Ohuabunwa said that the system has always been corrupted by the influence of money and other manipulative tendencies, stressing that the fact is what has overtaken the system is the incursion of monetary influence in the leadership selection process is the painful aspect of the whole issue.
He emphasized, “It therefore doesn’t allow us to be sure that whoever that is elected really deserves to be elected or is the best, because all we see is that those who get elected at primaries had spent more,and that there is a proportionate relationship between those who get elected and those who spent money. So, it looks like that’s the overridden consideration and that’s not good for our democracy.”
He added that Nigerians should be looking for the people that have the leadership qualities that can help the country out of this current doldrum, suggesting that each time there is a job to be done, the government should look at certain qualifications of who will fit into the job.
He observed that in Nigeria today, it is difficult to be sure that it is taken into consideration and that one has been a politician for life is not enough qualification to assume certain responsibilities.
“And I think that we didn’t demonstrate that at all at the primaries. I mean in almost all the parties-the APC, the PDP, the ADC and several other parties,” he opined.
He stated that the process of selecting leaders in the country is becoming more challenging and one would have wished that if Nigerians are adopting a presidential system they should adopt it wholesale, saying that in the United States, where the country took the presidential system of government from, primaries are done state by state and all members of the party are involved in electing the candidate as that’s the democratic way of doing it.
The former presidential aspirant said in the past when the country used statutory delegates, it was bad but observed that the last one was even worse by the omission of National Assembly members as only parties only had elected delegates.
He opined that the governors have overridden influence on delegates, money has overridden influence delegates, stressing that most of the national delegates were actually appointees of the governors as that made the situation much more complex and made it more difficult for rationality to reign.