It was therefore with great ecstasy that Nigerians across the world received the news, when, on the 30th of July 2018, all the major young presidential aspirants including Sowore, came together for the first time to form an organisation known as Presidential Aspirants Coming Together (PACT) with the sole aim of presenting a united front for the 2019 presidential election.
Many of us who have been at the forefront of this historical move were thrown into jubilation, even though we were aware of the unlikelihood. Few weeks after its first and second meetings, the narrative was beginning to change with Omoyele Sowore technically distancing himself from PACT activities. In the last one week, Sowore and his known supporters have come under heavy criticism after a press statement stating his position on PACT was released. He is being labelled different names. While some call him “enemy of the youth,” others see him as a betrayal and saboteur working for the ruling elites.
However, the question is: does PACT’s process and considerations in choosing the said consensus candidate justifiable? I have always say that if indeed we want to Take Back our country, we most remove sentiment and personal interest and look at the real issues and factors that can help us win this election. It’s at this juncture that I agree with Sowore’s fear about PACT. According to PACT’s resolution, the consensus candidate is to be selected through voting process among PACT members bearing in mind the following points:
1: Educational qualification
2: Health Status
3: Management experience
4: Community Experience
5: Commitment to united/secularity of Nigeria
6: Criminal charges
7: Commitment to federalism
8: Commitment to federalism
9: Commitment to diversity and gender
10: Communication skills and emotional stability.
Analysis of these points reveals that all members of PACT are qualified to be Nigerian President come 2019. None is less qualified than the other; they are all competent. So therefore those considerations are not fit to determine the consensus candidate. It that is the case, the real question should be: who is more positioned to win the 2019 election for us if adopted? I think this is what should be PACT greatest consideration towards endorsing a consensus candidate. Consequently, the following two factors must come into play:
1: The Most Visible/serious Presidential Aspirant: It is a known fact that there are about 16 qualified young Nigerians who have declared to contest 2019 presidential election. However, not all are indeed serious about it based on their activities and engagements. While very few are working day and night to achieve this, majority are at the comfort of their home waiting for 2019 to come and go. On this note, the most visible aspirant in terms of activities and engagements since declaration is to be considered. This is very important to avoid having an opportunist emerging as our President. Many PACT members are not in all honest ready to contest the 2019 general election but merely declare their intention to lead even as some of them have not spent up to #50,000 since their declaration. A serious presidential aspirant is expected to be seen everywhere. His activities is enough to show how serious he/she is. The questions are:
- Since you declared to contest, what steps have you taken to show that you are serious?
- What efforts are you making to actualise it?
2. The Aspirant with the Highest Probable Chance of Winning 2019 Elections if Selected: This is very important because not every PACT member is sell-able even if adopted as a consensus candidate. There are some aspirants who cannot boast of 50 supporters across the nation, talk less of having any structure anywhere. Tell me how these set of people intend to win the election even if adopted? It’s not enough to say we have a consensus candidate, but such candidate must a significant number of followers/supporters across the nation, with identifiable structures and activities that befit a Presidential Aspirant, so that once selected, they will be an added strength to the struggle. It’s totally out of place for someone who has done so much towards achieving his ambition to step down for another who is probably not even that interested. Our consensus candidate must be someone who, in all honesty. has demonstrated the zeal and total commitment to become the Nigerian President in 2019. And, of course, PACT can easily determine this when some statistics are brought together. You don’t expect an aspirant who has invested 1 million naira to step down for some who invested nothing but want to be our President.
So the questions are:
1: What is the strength of your followership?
2: What structures do you have in place?
3: How many states have you gone to campaign?
Like I said earlier, not all PACT members are serious about their presidential ambition and we can not afford to have an opportunist as our president. And I think this is where Sowore’s fear comes in especially when placed side by side with his efforts and total commitment to this cause. Because from critical analysis, Omoyele Sowore seems to be the only serious young presidential candidate as far as 2019 is concerned. Others are merely creating awareness ahead of 2023. Sowore has put a lot in his presidential ambition far more than any other aspirant. Left his businesses for months in pursuit of his presidential ambition; has visited almost all 36 states including FCT; visited more than 15 countries; has expended resources even though the campaign has not started; established visible structures in almost all the states through Take It Back; saw to the formation of a new political party devoid of godfathers which also cost money; risk his life on the streets, roads, and protests just because of his presidential aspiration.
In all honesty, how do you expect such a person to easily step down for someone who is perhaps not even serious in the first place but because of PACT decided to give it a trial?
A consensus candidate for 2019 must be a proven, determined aspirant, and not one warming up for 2023. It shouldn’t be a case of “monkey dey work, baboon dey chop”. As I stated earlier, all of them are qualified in terms of education, communication, competence, corruption etc. But then, we need someone who can win the election for us if supported.
Moreover, politically speaking, candidates for election are chosen based on perceived strength to win the election, especially when all are qualified academically, competence and otherwise. President Muhammed Buhari was chosen in 2015 among others by APC simply because of his strength of supporters and visible structures in the North
For me, without any iota of sentiment, Omoyele Sowore is the only serious minded, determined and focused young presidential aspirant as far as 2019 is concerned. Others are either warming up for 2023 or not actually serious. Sowore has the followers and the structures needed to coarse home with victory if supported by PACT.
I think with this, I share with Sowore’s sentiments and fear as far as PACT is concerned. Because his effort and energy so far could be a waste if mistake is made.