Thursday, July 22, 2010

Nigeria Relapsing Into A One-Party State?

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The recent development in Nigeria where elected leaders or representatives of the people cross over to another party, with the people’s mandate, is both alarming and unhealthy. Most of the political leaders – Governors, Ministers, members of the House of Representatives and the Senate, local government chairmen, councillors, etc were voted based on their party manifestos. Defecting with their votes to other parties therefore, should be seen as a rape of their mandate.

The beauty of democracy is in checks and balances which is provided by the opposition parties. Where there are no checks and balances, there is the tendency for the ruling party to become dictatorial. And when there is dictatorship the people suffer unjustly. This is what PDP is driving the country into – becoming a one-party state, where there would be no one to oppose her.

Our politicians are indirectly telling us through their conduct that either they do not understand their party manifestos or they lack integrity. Whichever the case, they cannot be trusted with the people’s mandate since they are not honest enough to protect the people’s votes.

They have also shown that they are in politics simply for their selfish gains and not because they want to represent us. They only see politics as business and so they jump to any political party that offers the best bargain. The last gubernatorial election in Anambra state exposed some of these avaricious politicians; notable amongst them was this particular woman who contested on the platform of one of the parties she thought could easily secure the people’s mandate for her. As soon as it was announced that Peter Obi had won the election, the next week she ran back to the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP).

Politics in our country has become exploitative: people now use the smaller parties to secure a mandate and then run to PDP where they think they stand the chance to personally gain more. They use the people’s mandate to negotiate for their Ambassadorial, ministerial and other appointments. If we allow this ugly trend to continue in our national polity, sooner or later our nascent democracy would be destroyed by these selfish, dishonest, shameless and greedy politicians.

Recently the former governor of Abia state, Mr. Orji Uzor Kalu went back to PDP (after ruling under the platform of PPA). He was accepted at the national level, but the state refused to accept him back because they understood he was coming back for selfish reasons. If other states would emulate Abia state, the political harlotry in our nation would be checked.

The declaration by the national house of assembly that everyone has the right to cross over to another party irrespective of whether he is carrying the mandate of the people on another political party platform is not helping matters. The house of assembly should realize that this declaration is moving the country in the wrong direction where our national political boat would soon capsize. They are elected to make laws that would suit the nation and not their political party. The country belongs to all Nigerians and not to PDP alone; they should therefore make laws that posterity would applaud and not condemn. Everyone should stand up to condemn this development that is threatening to destroy our nascent democracy and take us back to the military era.

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