Ahead of the 2019 general elections, the decision-making process of citizens is tied with their perception and desires. It is often not a logical path of judgment, rather guided by their impression of the candidate. Naturally, the campaign has to use that to create a candidate profile that appeals to eligible voters. This is done through the use of voter communication material like speeches, literature and mail addressed to the voter. All these communication methods have to stick to a single message.
However, political parties in Nigeria are not ideology based, but instead, are influenced by wealthy individuals and elected executive office holders who fund party administration and usurp powers of party leaders. This trend prevents political parties from exercising their independence and truly representing the consensus within the political party.
Undoubtedly, political parties lack the incentives to oversee and hold elected officials accountable or engage their constituents on issues of concern and as a result, elected officials are not accountable for budget expenditures and basic services are often ignored. Party politics maintains a status quo where elected representatives are often encouraged or even coerced to vote along ‘party lines’, even when this betrays promises they have made to their constituencies.
Elected officials tend to legislate based on their own interests, rather than, party loyalty, and meanwhile, the party fails to serve as a uniting force to inform and drive forward a common policy agenda. More so, there is no framework for regular interaction between political parties and citizens in an effort to seek their input into party policies and assess government performance.
So, whilst we need dramatic change, we also know that alongside a manifesto we need a process that is likely to deliver it. We need a politics that contrasts to party politics by attracting politicians who are experts and professionals on the issues and who work directly with the electorate and with the citizens to develop and deliver meaningful change across board.
An Issue Based Political campaign ahead of the 2019 general elections would accommodate an enlightened step towards direct democracy whilst maintaining the advantage of representative democracy in that it gives us dedicated full-time politicians who are accountable in facilitating and delivering change.
We have just about three months until the general election. If you think you are unto something to change the narrative in Nigeria, get involved. So, active citizens, what do you think? Do you think issue based political campaign would help sort out the problems in the country that matters to you?