By ROUNDOYO EDITORIAL BOARD
The recent adoption of the consensus mode of primary in Oyo State’s People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has sparked debates and concerns among party members and political observers. While proponents argue that it promotes unity and avoids internal divisions, critics fear that it might be a means to empower godfatherism and subvert the essence of democracy. The Ogbomoso North Chairmanship candidate race serves as a poignant example, where numerous aspirants were reportedly discouraged from buying nomination forms by powerful political leaders. This article delves into the ramifications of the consensus mode, with a focus on the Ogbomoso North Chairmanship election, and highlights the potential risks it poses to democracy within the party.
The consensus mode of primary election allows party members to agree on a single candidate to represent the party, rather than conducting competitive elections. Proponents argue that it fosters harmony and prevents internal conflicts, thus projecting a united front to the public. However, the manner in which this mode is executed can have far-reaching consequences on the democratic values of the party.
One of the main concerns surrounding the adoption of consensus mode is its potential to empower godfatherism within the party. Godfatherism refers to the disproportionate influence wielded by powerful political figures over candidate selection and political decisions. In the Ogbomoso North Chairmanship race, reports have emerged of political leaders persuading or even directing aspirants not to buy nomination forms, thereby limiting the pool of candidates and consolidating power in the hands of the few.
When influential leaders exert undue control over the candidate selection process, it undermines the democratic rights of party members and weakens the party’s commitment to inclusivity and transparency. This practice may result in candidates who owe their allegiance to these godfathers rather than the electorate, leading to potential conflicts of interest and a diminished focus on representing the interests of the people.
Consensus mode, if not managed carefully, can eliminate the essence of democracy within the party. Democracy thrives on the principles of participation, competition, and representation of diverse views. By discouraging aspirants from contesting and instead settling on a single candidate without consulting the broader membership, the party risks suppressing the voices of many who may have valuable perspectives and solutions to offer.
In the Ogbomoso North Chairmanship candidate race, the act of discouraging aspirants from buying nomination forms stifles genuine competition and the free expression of democratic choice. As a result, party members may feel disillusioned and disengaged from the political process, diminishing the party’s appeal to the electorate.
The consequences of consensus mode can also extend to the party’s electoral prospects. Handpicking candidates based on consensus rather than merit or popular support may lead to weaker representatives, resulting in diminished chances of winning during general elections. This can compromise the party’s overall performance and credibility in the eyes of the electorate.
The consensus mode of primary adopted in the Oyo PDP has raised concerns about the party’s commitment to democracy and inclusivity. The Ogbomoso North Chairmanship candidate race exemplifies the potential pitfalls of this approach, where aspiring candidates were allegedly discouraged from participating, thereby limiting the choices available to party members. This mode may inadvertently empower godfatherism, suppress democracy, and adversely impact the party’s electoral viability. As the PDP moves forward, it is crucial to reevaluate the implications of consensus mode, ensuring that internal party processes remain democratic, transparent, and representative of the true will of the people.