Godfatherism, moneybags, bane of Nigerian democracy
By Adekola Afolabi
Two chieftains of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ondo state, Prince Olu Adegboro and Chief Dapo Filani have attributed dearth of internal democracy in political parties in the country to the dominance of godfatherism and the moneybags in the nation’s political system.
They are of the view that money has become a great factor militating against what can be called internal democracy in Nigeria.
The duo said politics has now become cash and carry, saying “when you have money you can come, in some instances, get what you want in the political parties.
Olu Adegboro, current Part-time Chairman, Wema Board Nigeria Limited and former Commissioner for Information in Ondo state noted that things were different in the past. “In the past, we were like civil servants, we would be brought up and be allowed to grow under certain leadership.
“When I left my first job, I joined UPN then, and we were patient to serve under the leadership of Chief Fasoranti. Chief Fasoranti also served under late chief Ajasin. Then we respected leadership.
“But it is no longer like that today. Today, people with money don’t respect leadership. Those people with money would just come and join you and if they have problem with you they leave and join another party. And this has affected internal democracy in Nigeria”, he said.
He further stressed that democracy began to suffer in the country when the military took over the civilian government and the then military President, Ibrahim Babangida introduced money to forcefully take over political party in the country.
Adegboro, however, expressed optimism that sanity would one day prevail in the Nigerian political space to further entrench democratic norms.
“I think we are moving gradually towards good democratic practice.
“But we are lucky in Ondo state because it was not money or godfather that made Akeredolu the governor. Akeredolu is enjoying his contributions to the party from the formation of ACN to APC”, he asserted.
On how political parties should be funded, the former TESCOM chairman also said in the past, political parties were being funded through contributions from members of parties.
He also recalled that when he got a political appointment under the then UPN government, he and other appointees were contributing certain percentage to the party to fund it apart from the usual money generated through membership cards.
“Issue of godfatherism is another factor working against the development of democracy in the country. Many people when they want to get political positions would go as far as lobbying high rated politicians and traditional rulers even when traditional rulers are not expected to dabble into politics, but rather be fathers to all.
The APC chieftain equally decried the desperation of some people to assume political offices, saying there should be decorum in order not to heat up the polity.
On his part, former chairman, Ondo State Water Corporation and chieftain of the APC, Chief Dapo Filani, disclosed that internal democracy in political parties is very vital. He said internal democracy in Nigerian political parties is almost nonexistent.
According to him, moneybags have hijacked the system who in turn rule and treat the people like slaves, arguing that what is obtainable in the country is imperial democracy.
He also suggested that there must be law in place to clearly stipulate how political parties should be funded to ensure parties’ structures are not hijacked by moneybags and godfathers most of who are not interested in serving the people.
Filani argued that if the ugly trend was not quickly checked, those who have good ideas to serve the masses but have no financial muscle may not be allowed to assume position of authority.
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