Money POLITICS”: The BANE OF Nigeria’s Political Growth And Democratic Advance

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ini Akpan

 

Many Nigerians did not read too many meanings into the events that led to the senate rule on the ranking of principal officers of the senate going “very stale” and ineffective to provide and allow for Senator Godswill Akpabio’s “return” as senate minority leader for the 8th Nigerian Senate: this should not have happened in the first place because a rule was involved. This article points to the scheduled visit of the APC National Chairman, His Excellency, Comrade Adams Oshiomole, to Akwa Ibom State on Saturday 21 July 2018.

Having zoned the office of the senate minority leader to South South, Nigeria, the most qualified and incontestable candidate for that office was Senator James Manager, a 4th term senator and the most ranking from the South South according to the senate ranking rule, the same that repeatedly made Senator David Mark the Senate President from 2007. This was the precedence set in law, meant for observation and recall when necessary. The ranking rule was a matter of passion for the Senate when it mattered most to them during the 7th Senate.

More than we have heard of Senator Godswill Akpabio’s contributions on the floor of the 8th senate, Nigerians who follow the activities of the senate in the 4th Republic will quickly agree that Senator James Manager has continually been a proven intelligent and bold contributor to the proceedings of the senate through the years he has spent in the red chamber since 2003. He would have been a very, and more vibrant opposition leader for the 8th Senate than Senator Akpabio, because Senator Godswill Akpabio, a kindergarten-senator, is bedeviled with the inexperience and incompetence he has not been able to augment.

For a few Nigerians who know the implication of putting down a rule for the pecuniary, the concession of Senator James Manager to step down for Senator Godswill Akpabio, a 1st term senator, to take the office of the senate minority leader, shows how the arrogance and desperation of Senator Akpabio, in spite of a rule governing the entire senate over many years, was consummated by the 8th Senate. This very act threw up the 8th Senate as a bunch of people with no respect for the “rule of law”.

That Senator James Manager was compromised was also sad and disappointing to some Nigerians. Worst of all these was the downgrading of a rule to satisfy the inordinate ambition of an unreasonable man and the greed of a seeming respectable man. Godswill Akpabio’s interest in the office he is presently occupying clearly throws him up as a man who has no respect for rules and James Manager’s greed throws him up as an irresponsible man: this is what matters to the political development and the democratic advancement of Nigeria in that whole episode, but nobody cared.

It is not enough to hold office when you are not responsible to the laws that threw you up for the office you seek, and that which created the office. How can our weak institutions be strengthened, when the strong ones are been weakened by the very people who force themselves to take institutionalized charge over them? It is therefore clear what role money plays in hindering the political development and democratic advancement of the Nigerian nation.

Senator Godswill Akpabio, an erstwhile governor of my home State, Akwa Ibom, is a known blind spender of money. He propounded a political theory that reiterates how “much more money can do what money cannot do”. It was therefore not hidden to many who know Godswill Akpabio that he spent much more money to downgrade a senate rule with the cooperation of the entire 8th Senate, subtlety killing the spirit of that law and the precedence it held. This is not good for our entire well being as a people.

An interesting thing is happening in the All Progressive Congress in Akwa Ibom State: it dwells on the funding of the party in the State. There is a clear difference between a party funding itself and its funding by an individual. It is understood how political parties, under the laws which provided for their creations, are non profit making organizations, needing “contributions”. It should therefore be clear how the “contribution to fund” a political party is different from “funding” the political party.

What does this mean?

It is certain how direct spending for political parties by individuals leads to the hijacking of a political party structure and to his dictations on the organs. Let it be noted that the structure of a political parry is made up of an organ democratically elected to run the political party. A political party, through its organs should be responsible for locating the party Secretariat, buy party vehicles, and other activities that ignites the organs of the party structure to function. It is more enduring to teach one to fish than to continue to supply fishes to him. It helps personal independence.

Many members of the APC in Akwa Ibom State are surprised about the itinerary of the national chairman on his scheduled visit to Akwa Ibom on 21 July 2018. He is said to visit in order to commission a new party secretariat on Ikot Ekpene road in Uyo. The question is on what happened to the the secretariat on Atiku Abubakar Avenue? It could be that the present secretariat is smaller than needed, but the timing of the change of secretariat makes the change suspicious.

It gives a sense of the factionalisation of the party in the State, but no member of the party in the State wants that, even in the face of the formation of the rAPC and the CUPP. There are members of the APC who have sympathies for these strange creations, and this is our concern about Adams Oshiomole’s visit to Akwa Ibom State. The APC national chairman must not to legitimize what he stands against in Akwa Ibom State. The itinerary of the national chairman, as scheduled, is also for the commissioning of 31 buses as party vehicles.

It is believed that these buses would be distributed to the 31 LGA chapters in the State. This is quite commendable, but Mr Party Chairman should be aware that up till now members of the APC in Akwa Ibom State do not yet have published lists of Wards and LGA executive committees, and in the allocation of these buses, the people who will take deliveries for these vehicles for each LGA are not yet of public knowledge to members of the party in the State.

However, members of the APC in Akwa Ibom State are aware of the tactics of an aspirant bidding to contest for the governorship ticket for the States. He has shown capacity to “fund” the APC in the Stat by his political posting. He is said to have made the 31 buses available and well meaning members of the party in the State are grateful to him for the gesture. Nevertheless, it should be clear to this aspirant that his funding the APC in the State is no guarantee for him to expect the governorship ticket of the party in the State.

The APC members in Akwa Ibom State share the believe of their national leaders, President Muhammadu Buhari and Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, that PDP elements holding forte in the APC should from henceforth be discharged from the party, and they understand how this pursuit would cleanse the party inside out. It is in this believe that this call to Comrade Adams Oshiomole is timely, to warn him of colluding with PDP elements in Akwa Ibom State to cause disaffection in the State Chapter of the Party. The governorship ticket of the APC in Akwa Ibom State is not for the highest bidder. Hon Ini Okopido and his executive committee must learn from the counsel error of Dr Amadu Attai.

God bless Akwa Ibom State.

Ini Akpan Morgan writes from Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.


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