PDP’s Automatic Ticket and the Dilemma in Cross River State —by Steve Takim

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9 September 2018 
The political space is mesmerized with the breaking news that the Peoples Democratic Party PDP, had given automatic tickets to all serving members of the legislature at federal level who wish to return to legislative chamber  in the next general election slated for 2019.
This decision has left political analysts and pundits with squabbling to rationalize the move. However good the intentions may be, it has no doubt far attendant consequences that will be monumental to handle as an opposition party because of lack of clear cut definitions by the party leadership at the national level, conveyed to all willing and intending aspirants.
Arising from the above, mechanisms to make financial returns to all those who had procured intent and expression of interest form is being put in place and it is expected that all party men and aspirants seeking elections to various legislative chambers should abide by the party’s decisions as a sign of loyalty for which they sort their mandate.
Unfortunately, the PDP had not learn it lessons of direct or indirect imposition of candidates after losing the 2015 general election to APC. 
It is important to note that the level of political consciousness and awareness among the electorate after the 2015 general election that brought in the APC as a ruling party at the national level had gone beyond party sentiments or affiliations. It's now all about individual pedigree, capacity, integrity and general acceptability at the grass root level by the electorates who constitutes the voting strength, at least now that the votes count. 
 
The effects of this decision in the nearest future as party activities gather momentum may be implosion, defection to other political parties, or high level internal betrayal by those disgruntled but choose to remain pretentious in the party.
For instance in Ikom LGA, as had been widely rumored, the institution is in favor of Bar Chris Agara's senatorial ambition in the Central sensorial district, assuming he wins election eventually. Agara who hails from Ikom II, will be in the senate with Chris Agibe in the House of Reps still from Ikom II, and if unfortunately late Hon. Simon Ngoro was to be alive or the party as usual decides to give the wife "right of inheritance" as it was in the case of Obudu, she will be returning to the State House of Assembly from the same ward and zone which implies that, all the members in the National Assembly come from Ikom II, what happens to other LGAs or zones that makes up the constituency?
In Yakurr LGA, opinion pool conducted shows that a good number of electorates want Rt. Hon. Bassey Eko Ewa to give way to a fresh person with fresh ideas haven spent about twenty (20) years in legislative business. Bassey is from Ekori, and Ekori alone have over five aspirants to the CRSHA in all the major political parties. There's already internal squabble among Yakuur I to alter the internal zoning arrangement to unseat the current house of assembly member. If this plans goes through and eventually an aspirant from Ekori wins the house of assembly seat, it means Bassey will be in the house of Rep's while another Ekori son or daughter is in the house of assembly, what happen to other LGA or zones that makes up the constituency?
In Boki, the people of Boki II are not left out in this dilemma. Their hopes and aspiration for a better representation can be sorted out from another platform as a direct consequence of the above national directive or decision.
There is no gain-saying that this decision in all sense of fairness, with immediate alacrity can be reversed for the interest of the party in the forth coming general elections especially being an opposition party, if it must reclaimed its pride and position itself to winning future elections in all categories of contest. 
All those wishing and willing to contest elections whether as returning members or new entrants should be given equal opportunity to test their popularity and acceptability in the field. Let their antecedents and their works, if any speak for them. The sensibility of the electorates must not be undermined at this critical time; the electorates now are very conscious and understand clearly the power behind their PVCs. 
The electorates within the party should be given the opportunity at all stages of election to chose who represents them based on track records, where the loser loses gallantly and the winners embraces the losers. Only this can be a panacea for peace and party stability.
The PDP leadership on the other hand must encourage internal democracy, adhered strictly to the principle of rule of law and ensure that every party man or woman is treated fairly. They must not engage in any internal gimmicks for the benefit of the very few moneybags and to the detriment of many party faithfuls.
As a political party desirous of taking over power at the center, we can't afford to handled any internal crisis especially one that may cause implosion or defections to other political parties. A stitch in time saves… 
Steve Takim is a social commentator