Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Buhari recently called for the various opposition parties to unite in their attempt to outdo the PDP candidates - Yar'Adua and Goodluck. A meeting of the various opposition parties is scheduled for Thursday, April 12th.

Such strategy can prove effective for various reasons. The most significant of which is that by unifying and presenting a single opposition candidate, the opposition reduces the risk of 'splitting the vote' - voters that would have splintered their votes over various candidates instead vote for the opposition candidate and increase the chance of defeating the incumbent candidate or in this case, party.

This kind of strategic voting has proven essential in the many multiparty political systems across the world. Think of Italy or various Latin American democracies. The problem with this approach is that it can spell political instability when the various factions in the opposition unravel due to disagreement. Any unraveling within the opposition weakens the coalition and can spell political instability and meltdown.

Unfortunately, Yar'Adua has taken this example of political strategy and maneuvering to suggest that the proposed "coalition ... was a sign of defeat on the part of the opposition." I wonder, why the need for the bravado? After all, didn't he 'almost die' last month? If Yar'Adua and the PDP have any sense, they should show a little respect for their opponents. Such condescending comments will only fuel the rumors that the PDP plans on winning the election 'at any cost' and will continue to foment the bad blood between the supporters of the various parties. This bad blood is constantly illustrated in the clashes between supporters and three more just died when PDP and AC supporters went at each other in Lagos. One of many recent violent clashes that resulted in deaths.

We will have to wait and see whether the various opposition parties will be willing to make sacrifices in order to unite and possibly weaken the PDP by fronting a candidate with the potential to win the presidential election. I am just glad that people are beginning to consider the various options available to them in the quest for continued democracy in Nigeria. This, regardless of how things go and/or who becomes president, is another step in the development of Nigerian democratic politics and as long as we can keep the violence to a minimum, we will all be better off for it.

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Dami said...

the opposition themselves have shown any respect as they've never acknowledge what the ruling party have been able to achieve however little, and the fact that most of them were former members of the party.

sorry to ask again, if they decide to form some coalition that means inec will have to re-print the election papers again?


Ah, I realize that I ommitted some words in the sentence you are referring to. The sentence should actually read "If Yar'Adua and the PDP have any sense, they should show a little respect for their opponents POTENTIALLY SAVVY STRATEGY." Sorry for the confusion.

Having not bothered to look at INEC's rules because I am yet to hear any more about the possible coalition, it could be possible the ballots would have to reprinted.

However, if the opposition simply picked an already established partnership (President- VP combination), then voters would simply vote for that combination, ignoring the other party candidates. Again, I have heard no new news about the opposition agreeing to a coalition but will update if that happens.

Thanks for stopping by and always asking challenging questions.

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