Ward Congress for future Elections: Matters on the Table!

by Rev. Uche Dr. Obodoechina

Saturday 30th April 2016 is set aside in Enugu state and in the 17 Local government Area councils of the State for 2016 PDP Party Ward Congress in lieu of 2019 general elections in the state nay Nigeria. Ward Congresses and other congresses of the party and other parties at the state and national levels are regular party activities in a lively democracy.

It is an opportunity in democratic practice to refurbish and give more life to the party structures from the grassroots with a view to solidifying the party manifestoes and strategies for winning of future elections.

Besides strengthening the party structures at the baseline and even at the state and national levels, party congresses are designed also to produce party delegates at the various party levels. Party Delegates are usually accredited members of a political party with the party mandate to take part in the selection and election processes of party stalwarts for general elections.

That is to say, Ward Congresses for instance will produce Ward Delegates for the local Government Party Congress. The party Congress at the local government level is usually designed to produce the structures of the party at the local government levels. In the same way, the local government Congress will produce Delegates for the state congresses and state congresses will also produce candidates ofthe party for the national congress of the party.

It is always the duty of these Delegates at the various levels of party activity and agenda to produce candidates for the various political offices of interest for the party. Party congresses are very important moments in the life of any political party. It is not just the party that savours the meaning and value of party congresses.

It is also important for the society in context of a thriving democracy. It forms the bedrock for all important selections and elections within the party structural frameworks. Therefore party congresses should be given appropriate attention. As a matter of fact, political parties do not exist for themselves. Political Parties and other structures of governance in a democratic dispensation are the vehicles on which democracy moves and lives.

They are parts of the essential ingredients that make up functional democracy. No wonder there are today in and around us, 'meetings before meetings and meetings after meetings' among party members of different classifications and groupings. There are efforts to select and elect loyal members or friends and associates with a view to future elections favours.

In as much as party congresses are essential for the sustenance of democracy, our concern is not about the gimmick being played before and after the congresses. The quality of choice or selections of members for one elective post or the other. One would ask for the criteria that forms the choice of candidate for any of the party functions.

The choice of candidates for party services must not depend on sectional interests and other forms of pettiness. And this is the bone of contentions in our Nigerian politics. People are selected not because of their proven competence but because of their connections with A or B at one level or the other.

But the various political parties should owe it as a duty to the public to think of the course of the common good over and above the interest of the party as the determining criteria of choice. It is the common good that matters. And the service to the common good lubricates the wheel of justice that ensures that each person has his or her own due. It does not serve any useful purpose to do a congress for its own sake.

Nigeria has had chronicles of bad leaders arising from very bad choices. Today, the party congress affords us all the opportunity to put on our thinking caps for the good of the society. Let those to be selected or elected be men and women of noble characters known for their determination to serve the common good. Anything less than this will spell doom for us.

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