Most primary elections are fraught with the evil of having different list of delegates flowing from one corner to corner, pillar to post. Which delegate list is authentic for use to conduct primary elections? Usually, there is a list that emanates from the state party office or state executives. There may be another list from a parallel state executive. There may be yet another from the national office of the party. The list from the state is mostly, a product of ward congress or election at lowest unit of a political party combined with the names of some party officials and political office holders otherwise called statutory delegate. Is that all? Nope. There are many other list.
Imagine that after the people have struggled to get elected and/or nominated as delegates, then the powers that be will break their heart with another list.
The secret list! This secret list will not be made available to all the aspirants fairly. No! They don’t want their opponent to know the delegates so that they are left in the lurch. Wandering who are the actual delegates and where to find them and lobby for votes. The authentic list will be kept secret and buried in the heart of the powers that be. This list most often than not will come from Abuja or the state seat of power. It is the authentic list. Those named therein are mostly ghost individuals or persons who have no mind of their own to vote with reason. Unfortunately, this is the authentic list. Why? Your answer is that this list will be passed to the National Committee set up for the conduct of party’s primaries to use. Here is the validation.
The authentic list of delegates need not be product democratic legal process. It is a product of political meandering, twisty and gerrymandering. It is a political list not a legal list. Unfortunately, the court does not dabble into the internal affairs to ensure that the authentic list is a product of valid democratic process. This position was endorsed by the supreme court in Eze v. PDP. In this case, the so called harmonized delegates list brought to Enugu State by the Chairman of the primary election committee, King Asara A. Asara was held to be authentic as against any other. There was another list produced from ward congress presented by the state executives. It was found not to be the used for the election. The rationale was that they so called authentic list was ratified by the party and the court cannot dabble into internal affairs of political parties. Ruthless justice you may say! It’s the law for now until we move to have courts exercise more supervision over political parties’ affairs.
Law to Remember
A political party must present the winner of its primary election as nominated candidate as a matter of law. Section 87, Electoral Act
P. D. Pius, Esq. , LLM, ACIArb (UK)