In Silly Season in Our Democracy of Government Pikins, Columnist Chido Nwakanma identifies new negative trends in our democracy.
The story of Adam Namadi, son of former Vice President Namadi Sambo, and the ongoing political race is instructive. Adam Namadi asked delegates in his Kaduna district to refund the N76m they collected but failed to vote for him. They gave him only two votes.
Peoples Gazette reports that “the younger Namadi was hoping to become the 2023 Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) flagbearer to represent Kaduna North Federal Constituency at the House of Representatives”. Mr Namadi quickly responded to the story and the ribbing he received. “I would like to state that there was nothing ‘dramatic’ about the request, and it is unfortunate the media has been purporting it as such.
“Delegates themselves are aware of the directives given by the major stakeholders of the PDP in the Kaduna North Constituency that any sums given to delegates by various aspirants for their support should be returned to those unsuccessful in their primary elections. This was done to encourage delegates to vote for the aspirants based on their qualities and not just their perceived spending power, and hold them accountable for their candidates. As a mark of respect for that agreement, some delegates in the Kaduna North constituency have started to reach out to unsuccessful State House of Assembly aspirants, followed by my fellow contender, Shehu Usman ABG and me. Therefore, I am not acting in isolation or making any ludicrous demands.”
In the world of Mr Namadi and his cohorts, he did not make “any ludicrous demands”. The impunity is that Namadi confirms that he and his party willfully engaged in bribery contrary to at least three of the five laws on bribery and corruption in our statute books. They include the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Act, the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, the Money Laundering Act and the 1999 Constitution. It is also in the Criminal Code, but that law hardly applies in Northern Nigeria.
The race to and conclusion of the primaries of the major political parties has brought up the nature and complexion of Nigerian politics, notably the processes, the players, and the outcomes. The picture is an indictment of not only the politicians and parties but also ordinary citizens. It shows the odious colours of the Nigerian elite.
More significantly, the parties’ conduct shows that the Nigerian elite is incapable, unwilling, and unable to lead any positive change anytime soon. That is why young Mr Namadi cannot see anything wrong in bribing delegates and then serving as an enforcer to retrieve what he freely but wrongly offered.
Silly season in our democracy
The parties turned the race into a bazaar. Their price for the entry tickets enthroned raw cash from whatever source as the prime issue in the Nigerian electoral race. The delegates followed suit. Politicians thus laundered forex that many manufacturers have been unable to access. They also denigrated our nation and our currency, yet these are the pretenders who want to rule the same country.
There is more. Mr Namadi, the scion, represents the emerging tribe in the Nigerian oligarchic democracy. Children of the Nigerian political elite have lined up everywhere to be public officials like their parents. Namadi tells us what conduct and character to expect from them.
They want to increase our tribe of Government Pikins. These are persons who have done nothing but feed from the public trough. Many lamented loudly against exclusion from the turn-by-turn system that benefitted them. Note that they have done 12-22 years in the Senate, House of Representatives or the State House of Assembly or served in the Executive and moved to the Legislature.
They do not appreciate the irony that they collectively join citizens to lament the nation’s state and the states. They served so excellently Nigeria wails.
Note also how all the losers are the best things to happen to Nigerian democracy. Their parties supposedly schemed these excellent men out even as the parties did no more than the processes from which they benefitted in the past.
Games politicians play. Losers pose as moral champions of due process and “merit” in handling party affairs. The problem is that many citizens believe them. Untrue. If you believe this, you will believe anything.
Yet many middle and upper-class citizens believe these tales. Nigerian politicians have become the adept manipulators of the citizens’ proclivity to emotionalism and to run with the first impressions. “They cheated me. I am determined to offer the very best to our state, but they have corrupted the system”. Some step out to raise arms for these fellows!
The scions of the oligarchs are here. It will get worse. Yes, it certainly will get better.
Adamawa State provided a break from the gloom with the election of Senator Aishatu Binani as the Adamawa APC gubernatorial candidate in the primaries. She defeated the pioneer EFCC boss Nuhu Ribadu and former governor Umar Jibrilla aka Bindow. The women are coming, but can they change the narrative and the game?
Chido Nwakanma: Silly season in our democracy