Sunday, March 26, 2023

Memorandum for 2022 political parties’ delegates

It is not how you got to the convention that will matter for years to come starting from May 2023, it is what you did at the convention.

• May 29, 2022
Political parties logo
Political parties logo used to illustrate the story

Dear Delegates:

Our epistle is today aimed at and directed to those of you that have been called upon to vote for aspirants in your parties and by such act, you will be technically deciding which of the political hopefuls will bear the flags of their various of parties in the coming 2023 elections.

You have started absolving your duties in some parties and in some states already but this weekend you will reach the climax of your duties when you get together in Abuja with other delegates from across the country to decide the presidential flag bearers for the two major parties.

Lest we become guilty of the sins we accuse others, let us quickly clarify two salient points. One is that this epistle is coming late as I personally believe that important as the office of the president is, it is wrong to place all emphasis only on that office. 

It is my view that important and powerful as the president of the federation is, that office is still a part of the whole and to make the presidency and other offices work efficiently and fairly for all, we need to strengthen and monitor all other offices (such as that of legislators and governors) and to strengthen all other offices, we need to pay closer attention to who gets there. I therefore agree that an epistle to delegates on the eve of presidential elections is a late epistle but we console ourselves by saying “better late…”

Another point that needs to be clarified is that whilst I concede that the two major parties (APC and PDP) are the most important and effectively most consequential political platforms in the country, I do not agree that things ought to be that way. 

I, therefore, agree that an epistle seemingly aimed solely at the delegates of the two major political party is practical but in conscience and knowledge a limited and limiting take on issues.

I have learnt not take anything for granted with politicians, so let us quickly remind ourselves and above all you dear delegates of the peculiar position you hold with regards to the future of the country, like those (delegates) before you did in past elections. 

Unlike and before the millions of your fellow citizens across the country that will be voting in 2023, you as delegates have the privilege and duty of not only voting in 2022 but also deciding who the rest of the of country will vote for. 

The rest of the country will in 2023 be choosing between precooked dishes, you Mr and Madam delegate are the only ones that have access to the raw materials and the true choice of possibilities. With that in mind, I think it is safe to say whichever way the country goes after the elections is due largely to what you do at the conventions. 

There is no court that will decide it, but history and conscience will recall that those who had the opportunity and duty to decide who will contest have more responsibility than those who will vote those who eventually contest.

Whilst at it, let use this occasion to remind ourselves that as delegates, your main duty is to represent others, when you vote or speak, you are doing so on behalf of others for whom you are delegated. Ideally, you go as delegates from and behalf of your local governments and other constituencies to represent the interests and sensibilities of your communities. 

With your choice of aspirant, you should be saying “this person is the one that can best represent my people on behalf of whom I am here today”.

With such an important duty to absolve, it is rather fascinating that very little is known of you Mr and Madam delegate. 

For no fault of yours but thanks to a bizarre system that needs to be questioned and corrected, most of those you represent barely know who you are let alone what you stand for or how you think. You know yourselves though and history knows you.

Given that we do not live in an ideal world, we must contend with our reality. Even in this our grey, shady and yet mostly bizarre reality, individual delegates must be able to live up to a very basic expectation and absolve a simple task: go to the primaries and chose for their party a candidate that can win elections. 

In assessing aspirants, dear Mr and Madam delegate please, for the benefit of our collective future and your personal conscience, remember to look out for an aspirant that can gainfully stand to up the other side and better convince millions of voters that he or she is the right one for the job.

In a country of millions of people with a cacophony of interests and mindsets, one would think it is difficult to know who will be considered the right one for the job, in reality, it is not. 

The majority is the real theme in elections. The majority of voters want the country to be safe so that they can trade, learn, love and worship in peace. 

They want jobs and opportunities to create wealth for themselves and their families, they want infrastructures that will allow them to learn and acquire needed skills and crafts, travel to practice their place of craft, and get well when sick. 

Voters would like to see a leader in power that can help them sanitise a system that has the knack of forcing citizens to beg and bribe for the basic things of life. 

To do these and more, the right person for the job must and be seen to understand the system; the country cannot afford experiments or someone that will learn on the job.

Democracy is a popularity contest and those that will confirm that your choice of aspirant is the right candidate are more than you. In making your choice, look for an aspirant that can not only do but also knows how to communicate what he or she can do. 

When you find such an aspirant, before turning him or her into a candidate, please pause to see what you can do to avoid unpleasant shocks. 

Check to make sure your chosen aspirant can withstand the physical and mental demands of campaign and later office, check to make sure your chosen candidate and the chances of the party will not be distracted by suspicions and allegations of scandals or an unfriendly invitation by law officers.

All these you do for the country, for yourselves, I recommend you look for a candidate who will not become unreachable or unapproachable once elected. For yourselves, I recommend you choose a candidate who knows and believes in party system. 

Vote for someone you can question and counsel as members of the same party. In all, it is not how you got to the convention that will matter for years to come starting from May 2023, it is what you did at the convention that you and the rest of us will have to deal with.

Join me on Twitter to continue this conversation: @anthonykila.

Anthony Kila is Centre Director at CIAPS Lagos. (

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