For a democracy that is still nascent, still evolving, still testing, still pondering on the structure to adopt for this particular time in our history and perfect our institutional frameworks, Nigeria is known to be characterized by the formation of new political parties any time an election year draws near. This trend is necessitated and facilitate particularly if the ruling political party fails to deliver a perfect governance year and tenure or made so many errors that voting them out looks like the only way out.
This isn’t bad, it is democratic and it is inevitable for a country that is still evolving towards something perfect and that can work for all. However, I will like to ask this question; should voting the present government in power be the only option (which involves forming new political parties) and what are the new political parties bringing in differently beyond vague manifestos that cannot be measured and timelines placed on those promises? I hope we can ponder on that carefully.
Now, to the political party that I am trying to describe. I got to know about this party through a friend and neighbour who is part of the formation process of the political party. We discuss Nigeria a lot and the emotions from him prove he loves Nigeria and truly wants something better for all our benefits. Furthermore, I went for an event in November 2017, Emerging Political Leaders Summit where the Chairman of the political party, Advanced Nigeria Renewal Party, Mr Tope Fasua was present to speak on the panel of discussants. He is someone I respect, he understands numbers, data and he is invaluable to the Nigerian project.
However, on the day of this event while trying to speak and market the new political party to young, hungry (not food hungry) and angry Nigerians he said that the party is such that one can finish his registration with the political party online (within minutes). The same database of about 10,000 members can also be found online. That sounded interesting and equally solves the problem of the closed structures operated by the People’s Democratic Party and the All Progressives Congress. Everyone is open to join and register free and you become a card-carrying member. Other follow-up registration procedures can be done later. This same system was adopted by the KOWA party as well and they are known to be the maiden developers of raising funds (crowdfunding) for those who intend to run for office.
When asked about how the party will support those who desire to run on their platform, Mr Tope Fasua with his lovely smile said that to test every potential candidate you will be given a blank list to go into your wards and Local Governments and get 1,000 members registered with their names, emails and phone numbers. You have to go and evangelize for the party and this will test your ability to convince people to follow your cause and do so inspiringly as a leader.
Another question came to him on what structures the political party ANRP had on the ground particularly in other states outside Abuja. He didn’t particularly answer that question directly but I will make my point and state my reservations about this recruitment process of new members charged on potential candidates.
Everyone should agree that politics has become money-driven (no argument) can change that right now, at least not in 2019. Assuming the potential candidate like myself travels to the East and since I intend to run for office decide to get members in my ward; what do I convince them with? How can I explain the plans, the identity and brand of the party to people who are largely feeding on hand to mouth? This is where a structure comes in; does the party have an LGA office with a decent office building in that locality? Has there been any social or capital presence of the party beyond the website, the name, the party logo and whatever political parties are known for? Yes, the idea of testing candidates is good but how do they do that beyond words, beyond ideas and against the tide of the PDP or the APC who virtually have their flags mounted in every local government area in Nigeria with plenty monies to share and burn?
Now, there is no task more Herculean than this. I believe that God is God; He is ever able but one thing I know is that God has never come down physically to play the roles He has given us the power to do; both in resources and inert capacities and gifts. No offence to Mr Fela Durotoye but to say that money will fail in Nigeria 2019 doesn’t sound convincing as it came out on Channels TV Politics Today because Seun Okin the host equally understands that. He (Seun) says it is about the numbers where he said that in politics 1+1 is not equal to 2. Money is a means to an end, it is an exchange commodity of values, goods and services but unfortunately, our votes have equally become vau at bags of rice, indomie and 2,000 naira. It is sad, bad but it is the reality.
I really admire those who are independently floating parties but it will be wise not to kill yourself or put your family in danger especially if you are the one sponsoring it alone. One day, I will share the story of Arc. Nya Etok who founded the Young Democratic Party (YDC) and shared the story of how he nearly put his family at risk while running the party.
He meant well but there is always a way to go into every city.
The city right now is how to take care of the present status quo of politics which influences the economic and social aspect negatively. There is a need for a disruption and the people that can do that now by maximizing their numbers are the young people. Yes, the older ones who in their forties and fifties can join but the real work is by those ones who are between ages 18-35. That is the critical mass to cause a real shake-up of the present system as found failed political parties in Nigeria.
The issue of money can be handled with this number (over 80 million millennials) crowdfunding to raise money to push people who can start the process of taking back our country. Each one contributes 500 naira and you multiply that by 80 million people minimum; 40 billion naira. This is what we need and this includes every party that is trying to appeal to the sentiments of the youths; come together under one umbrella or goal. You don’t have to start a new political party, starting a new party and being chairman is not the real work; the real work is taking power for the right reasons and ultimately using it to change things for all Nigerians.
It is either now or we wait for another four years post-Nigeria 2019.