Former governor of Cross River state and chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Clement Ebri has faulted the recent consensus arrangements being mulled by the Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee in the election of its candidates.
According to the ex-governor, the arrangement is would abridge the political space, just as it would cause imposition of candidates.
Ebri said this Wednesday in Abuja in response to the recent declaration by the Secretary of the Caretaker Committee, Senator John AkpanUdoedehe that the Presidential candidate of APC would emerge by consensus.
AkpanUdoedehe had said that the party would present its Presidential candidate for 2023 by consensus why reacting to opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) allegation that President Muhammadu Buhari was plotting a “self-succession”.
The position of the Caretaker Committee has attracted criticisms from party members.
Ebri, in his reaction said “it will precipitate a crisis of monumental proportions. No organ of the party has the power to abridge the political space.
“Note that the President did say only recently that a group of people cannot sit somewhere and decide zoning without mass participation. In the same manner no individual nor groups of persons have the right to opt for consensus without the inputs of the party membership.
“Party members must have a sense of ownership around the party constitution. It is patently wrong for the party’s future to be determined and/ or defined by just one organ.
“Consensus can also lead to a rash of promissory notes that end up keeping the beneficiary perpetually at the point of a spear owing to his or her inability to implement the terms agreed upon , to the letter.”
Speaking further, he said, “Consensus is not a bad idea in choosing candidates if managed properly but it can also provide an avenue for a handful of privileged politicians to manufacture consent and call it party supremacy. The bane of our politics has always been our inability to provide for free and fair electoral contest. At the party level I believe that all that is required is for political parties to organise free, fair and transparent congresses, primaries or conventions. I am yet to see an aspirant who lost a free and fair election question the outcome.
“So, for me I believe it is safer for parties to come to terms with perfecting internal democracy rather than shelter behind consensus to perpetrate more evil.
“Every aspirant is a potential political athlete and so he or she must be allowed to test his or her popularity rather than remain in a holding pattern that sounds more like a lottery than a competition ground for our best. We must resolve to always put our best foot forward. As the ruling party, the APC must not shy away from parading its best. The younger generation must be given the opportunity to learn political organisation from the older politicians; learn the theatrics of campaigns, the rhetorics and political philosophies of the respective aspirants. That is the best way to grow politics.
“A number of us joined politics because we were carried away by the oratorical skills of our forbears in politics. Some others were carried away by their philosophies and so on. That is democracy.”