The Role of Delegates and Emergence of Credible Leaders from Party Primaries in Nigeria
The delegates system in any democratic setting always helps to nurture good ethics and democratic values that produce credible leadership in the country. The practice however, in Nigeria, has not brought about the emergence of credible leaders and the attendant unwholesome practices and corruption witnessed during the 2023 presidential primaries raised grave concern for the future of leadership in the country. The position of extant studies established the misdemeanor of delegates and its corrosive effects on the selection of credible leaders into public elective offices in Nigeria. The study sought to fill the gap in literature by putting forward measures that can curtail the fraudulent excesses of party delegates and ensure the emergence of only credible leaders from party primaries in Nigeria. The objective of the study was to investigate how the observed lapses in the delegates system in Nigeria can be reduced significantly and thereby improve the system to produce only credible candidates for the leadership of the country. It adopted the qualitative research approach and using ex-post facto design, established a cause-and-effect relationship between the party delegates (independent variable) and the emergence of credible leaders (dependent variable) from party primaries in Nigeria. The data was collected from secondary sources for the study. It found that malpractices and electoral bribery have attained a high magnitude as both digital and foreign currencies were used in bribing delegates so the winners in the primaries were actually the highest paymasters. Their elections had nothing to do with credibility, integrity and competence. The study recommended that the Nigerian Constitution should be amended to recognize and permit independent candidates as well as reform political party rules for primaries to be conducted using electronic means without recourse to convention or congresses.