- As it stands, Atiku Abubakar, the PDP standard-bearer, is the only candidate among the top contenders for the 2023 presidential race yet to appear at Chatham House.
- The presidential hopeful in reacting to questions raised in the policy about not showing up at the Institute after his counterparts, Peter Obi and Kwanwakso recently appeared.
- While some candidates declined the invitation, APC standard-bearer Bola Tinubu was the first presidential candidate for the 2023 general election to appear at the institute.
For some Nigerian politicians, if they have not appeared at Chatham House, the research institute, also called the British Royal Institute of International Affairs, UK, it seems that they have not communicated their agenda well enough to the Nigerian audience. in the diaspora.
While some political officials believed that the institute is where politicians best explain their plans for the nation to the Nigerian community, especially those living abroad, others expressed dismay at the trend.
Presidential candidates who have appeared at Chatham House
Recently, Peter Obi of the Labor Party and Rabiu Kwankwaso of the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP) appeared at the institute where they presented their manifestos to the foreign audience, an event that was met with mixed reactions in politics.
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While Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar has yet to appear at the Institute, All Progressives Congress (APC) standard-bearer Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu was the first candidate to reveal his plan for Nigeria to foreign audience.
Political Analyst Spills
Ahead of next month’s presidential election, which is scheduled for February 25, attorney AD Rotimi George Esq., a member of the Nigerian Bar Association’s (NBA) National Executive Council, who also serves as NBA secretary , a branch of Bukuru in Plateau state, criticized Nigerian politicians who have decided to make it the norm during the election period.
“Many Nigerians, especially politicians, have turned up at Chatham House over the years, just because of a tinge of self-promotion and narcissism in their presentations, and this being the case, their opponents are quick to turn that forum into an occasion for combat and “make me go speak for myself”.
“Speaking at Chatham house is not an issue, but how our so-called leaders have ignorantly turned it into a badge of honor or feat worthy of celebration is my concern and concern.”
Do we need to go to Chatham House before our voices are heard?
Interestingly, legal professionals have noted that Nigerian politicians give generously, so they are not surprised to be invited, as the Institute is largely run by donations from individuals.
Barrister Rotimi further noted that candidates do not need to go to Chatham House before their voices are heard, but instead choose the institute while leaving their own “House”.
He opined like this:
“My research revealed that Chatham House is funded by personal donations and given how generous Nigerians can be with taxpayers’ money, it shouldn’t be hard to understand why the institute’s platforms are available for Nigerian politicians to express their ignorance in matters of government, madness in finance to articulate worldly things.
“Isn’t it funny that we have our Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA), which is Nigeria’s premier policy think tank, established in 1961, and since its inception has proven to be a major center of research and analysis? If the NIIA invite Nigerian politicians to speak on platform, not likely to show up We claim to be sovereign but neo-colonialism still deepens in us.
“As the Institute of International Affairs, Chatham House can easily justify its current focus on political developments in Nigeria: Africa’s most populous country, which is undergoing another election season that would entail a transition from one administration to another, with implications for peace, stability and economic growth.
“As the Institute puts it: “Nigeria is at a critical time, having suffered two recessions in the last six years, unprecedented levels of physical and food insecurity, persistent fuel shortages, and high levels of crude oil theft. Civic fatigue also remains a major challenge and Buhari’s three main policy pillars of security, economy and corruption continue to be defining issues for citizens.”
“However, I would say that Chatham House’s interest in our affairs as a country is not entirely altruistic; it is a listening post for the British establishment, and as a body that relies on donations as its main source of funding, its trustees are fully aware of how vain and worldly generous Nigerian politicians could be at a time like this.This is an area where the Chatham House rule would definitely apply in the circumstances, so it may not make sense to ask how much politicians donate or spend. Nigerian politicians lobby to be recognized when they are granted the podium to speak mundane things”.
No one gets an extra vote for going to Chatham House, says the lawyer.
Giving his opinion on the presidential candidates rushing to the institute, the political analyst noted that the votes are decided by the voters in Nigeria, not the audience in the diaspora.
This is what he stated:
“It should be noted that Chatham House does not confer any legitimacy on any Nigerian politician because votes are decided by the constituents at home. While I am not opposed to bringing Nigerians in the diaspora with them, this can be done effectively without having to go to Chatham’s House every four years.
“Let me also add that No one gets a certificate or extra votes for going to Chatham House. It is ironic that the same politicians who do not want to attend debates at home are always ready to be seen in foreign lands, wandering aimlessly.
“They can only have that worldwide recognition that they seek when, after winning the election, they put in such a performance that I would commend them to worldwide acclaim.”
What Nigerian Laws Say About Such Departure
The top Nigerian lawyer further noted that the country’s constitution does not require such a departure to guarantee electoral victory for any candidate.
The lawyer Rotimi revealed that the electorates are the key player during the elections, since they largely determine the victory of the candidates.
“Our laws (Constitution and Election Act 2022) did not grant a trip to Chatham’s house as a pre-condition of eligibility to stand for and win the Nigerian election.
“The Nigerian electorates are the main players in this election. They are Chatham House and should be treated as such. They decide which trip to Chatham House in London would be fruitful or a huge waste of time and resources post-election. It is this very one haunting foreign lands mentality at the expense of our value systems that have led to the total collapse of our health, education and tourism sectors.
“Of course we can do better. And we should see that we do better,” he concluded.
Chatham House: Kwankwaso finally opens up about resignation plan, gives 1 condition
Earlier, Rabiu Kwankwaso, the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP) presidential candidate, said he is ready to drop his 2023 presidential ambition if he finds a better candidate in the race.
Kwankwaso, who served as two-term governor of Kano State, revealed this while speaking about his political credentials at Chatham House on Wednesday, January 18.
Chatham House is a research institute also called the British Royal Institute of International Affairs.