Nigeria’s dominant elite pretend to be practicing a liberal democratic framework of governance for the country, but in reality are devoid of substance and without living upwards to expectations of its basic principles and tenets, Prof. Attahiru Jega, former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Jega said this at the maiden lecture of Kwaravisioners Network for Rural Evolution, held in Ilorin on Saturday, at the Academy of Ilorin auditorium with the theme: ‘Politics, Governance and Leadership Recruitment in 21st Century Democracy.’
He said: “Political parties created by the dominant elite, purportedly as the special purpose vehicles for leadership recruitment and fielding candidates for elections as citizens elected representatives in the governance processes, have instead get special purpose vehicles for self-enrichment, obstruction of citizens aspirations and exploitative authoritarian command.”
According to him, they have hence failed in discharging their core responsibilities under a liberal democratic dispensation, by giving primacy to self-serving objectives.
“They are poorly structured and organised, whether they have manifestoes or programmes of activity at all, these are mere documents written to fulfill a legal requirement for registration, but not believed in, they are not respected and they are not implemented. There is no discernible exertion or involvement aggregation beyond self-serving objectives,” he added.
In his guide paper at the lecture, Professor Jega said a shut test of the so-called dominant parties in Nigeria shows that there are no substantive ideological orientations and there are certainly no discernible ideological differences distinguishing one from the other.
“For instance, who can tell what really differentiates the APC from the PDP? They are both funded and controlled by self-serving so-called ‘money bags’ and ‘godfathers’.
“Indeed, in each of these parties, province governors have increasingly get the ‘money bags’ and ‘godfathers’, controlling and influencing the leadership recruitment processes and virtually all affairs of the parties, by advantage of their command of and corrupt enrichment from public resources,” he said.
Professor Jega said, “Consequently, patronage, clientelism, and prebendal dispositions constitute the framework for leadership/candidate recruitment.”
He said the significance of character assessment traits and personal attributes of potential recruits is jettisoned and replaced by arbitrariness and self-serving objectives and dispositions.
The former INEC Chairman famous that the integrity of the electoral physical process is beingness systematically undermined covertly or overtly by the dominant elite in governance and their political parties.
“As they select or recruit potential clients and set them forth as candidates in elections, they exercise all sorts of undemocratic, intolerant and fraudulent agency to acquire them elected,” he said.
He said for the country to stabilise and progress as a contemporary democratic nation-state in the 21st century, there is the demand for tough work to alter our ways.
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