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Isn’t Consensus An Abuse of Democracy?



Staying up all night just to watch your spent leaders invent a convenient but skewed process to democracy, is actually unsightly. It’s okay to understand that consensus is not alien to the system and democracy in general, but what’s worrisome is how they are wont to define it from dispensation to dispensation – showing disdain for its basic principle, which is grounded competition.

What’s “consensus” in an understanding that’s not shared by other contestants to an office? A few of these leaders – serpentine in their mindset – just sit back in their comfort zones, pick certain individuals loyal to them and tag his candidacy consensus. It is criminal, kinked and shameful.

I didn’t really feel the pain of some of those, who were openly robbed of their aspirations and compelled to stand down “at gunpoint” until one of the guys aspiring to the office of the national youth leader, Olusegun Dada, mounted the stage and announced stepping down in tears and shaky voice. The spectre was poignant!

I’m unable to explain how terrible I felt for the young man as he left the stage still crying. How do you explain that two promising young men aspired to an office and you conferred cheap advantage on one by merely listing his name on a felonious unity list, leaving him to ride roughshod on the other, because he has people in high places? You have just cast a doubt of eligibility on the chosen one with high moral burden.

I thought democracy encourages competition? And where you thought consensus was best for you, why not do it properly in a way that would not make the others feel cheated or played, otherwise, “it’s man knows man” adventure. What’s difficult in first holding court with everyone aspiring to a particular office and persuading them on why it would not be them? And if anyone of them insisted, then, open the contest. Rather, you’d call their bluff, because they do not matter and there’s no godfather to run to.

As I watched the young man leave the stage in tears and heartbroken, I started thinking in my mind the ideas that these leaders had consciously planted in his head about power, leadership and democracy. That boy will never believe in fair contest again, let alone democracy. He would now see why godfatherism is a cancerous feature in Nigeria’s democracy, convinced further that the crooked means is the way to go.

Pause for a moment and look at it this way: Two equals were vying for an office and you picked one without consulting with the other and yet, you called it consensus. How? Let’s even admit that only a few of these leaders are honourable, why rub such limitation in the face of the world? That young man didn’t ask for too much. He just wanted an election and would be glad to fairly lose, instead.

A ruling party that could not hold a decent national convention? It only took some threats of deadlines by virtue of INEC’s schedule of activities, before the party grudgingly saw a need for national convention. What happened at the Eagle Square on March 26, wasn’t consensus but a brazen display of impunity by a corrupt few, however, with the official stamp of the presidency. Period!

If they thought it was democracy and their decision was not to stop anyone from vying for an office, why introduce consensus at all? This is too untidy, chaotic, crude, tawdry and appalling. You “forced” people aspiring to major offices to step down under the guise of consensus without any prior understanding and then encouraged elections into yeye offices, mostly non-NWC positions. It’s sheer fraud!

Whatever you say and however you choose to say it, after nearly eight years in office, the truth is that the APC still needs to take some rudimentary lessons in party management from the PDP, even though the opposition party has its challenges, too, una no be mate, abeg! Whether it’s an election, consensus or any other approach, the PDP always have it properly under wraps.

Olawale Olaleye

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