How to Avoid the Repetition of Corrupt Government By Okoi Obono-Obla
The All Progressives Congress (APC) was conceived and founded as an alternative platform to the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, with avowed mission of effecting a fundamental social, economic and political change in the country.
One of the ways in which the Party must show that it desires and wants change is discard the mindset that PDP has foisted and etched on Nigerians that you have to collect money from whoever desires your vote in an election to vote for that person.
This tendency is somewhat responsible for the fetid corruption we see every day that has stymied development the country.
In the 2011 Presidential Primary Election of the PDP that took place in the Eagle Square, Abuja, was polluted with obscene display of money politics between President Jonathan and his opponent, Atiku Abubukar.
The two aspirants were widely believed to have doled out to delegates nearly hundreds of million dollars! Atiku Abubukar is now an aspirant in the APC in its forthcoming Presidential Primary Election.
It was said that President Jonathan doled out about 11,000 USD per delegate while Atiku Abubukar gave 7,000 USD per delegate during the national convention to nominate the presidential candidate of the PDP held in Eagle Square in December, 2010.
Delegates that attended the national convention came from the 36 States in the country including Abuja. You can imagine how much dollars President Jonathan and Atiku Abubukar must have splashed on these delegates.
Recall the allegation made by President Jonathan while addressing a Rally in Kano on the 15th April, 2014, that Governor Kwankwaso embezzled the millions of dollars he gave to him to give to delegates from Kano State during the PDP Primary Presidential Election!
The APC , as a progressive party committed to fighting corruption squarely must guard against sordid and damning allegation that may erupt after its Presidential Primary So if the APC is for change it must come out with guidelines and templates that will discourage the use of money by aspirants to win the minds and hearts of delegates.
Last Sunday (23th November, 2014) the Leadership Newspaper reported that one of the president aspirants of the APC, Atiku Abubukar doled out almost N16 Million to the Katsina Branch of the Party while on tour of Katsina State to canvas support for his aspiration and had promised to give N50, 000 to each delegate from the State the APC National Convention scheduled for 11th December, 2014.Atiku Abubukar has donated hundreds of millions of Naira to delegates from almost all the 36 States and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. In Sokoto State, Atiku Abubukar gave N8.8 Million to the chapter to solicit for support for his aspiration. This is scandalous and crime!
The Atiku Abubukar Campaign Organization through its Media Adviser, Shehu Garba admitted the story but tried to rationalise and explain it as a way of his principal encouraging and assisting the Katsina Chapter of the APC in a most cavalier manner.
The truth of the matter is that it is a criminal offence under Section 124 (1) of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended) fort any candidate who directly or indirectly, by himself or by any other person on his behalf, gives, lends or agrees to give or lend, or offers any money or valuable consideration or directly or indirectly, by himself or by any other person on his behalf, corruptly, makes any gift, loan, offer, promise, procurement or agreement to or for any person, in order to induce such person to procure or to endeavour to procure the return of any person as a member of it legislative house or to an elective office or the vote of any voter at any election commits an offence punishable with terms of imprisonment upon conviction.
The APC should immediate investigate aspirants that have been doling out money in a bid to corrupt delegates ahead of its presidential primary election.
It is important that aspirants that decamped from PDP must be re-oriented to the sub-culture of the APC. The APC must compel all its aspirants to sign an undertaking not to use money to induce delegates at the proposed Presidential Primary Election.
Any aspirant that breaches such undertaking must be instantly disqualified. The APC must not hesitate to disqualify any aspirant that doles out money to delegates to influence them to vote at the forthcoming Primaries.
Any aspirant that attempts to re-enact the show of shame that marred the PDP Presidential Primary Election at the Eagle Square, Abuja, in 2011 must be out rightly disqualified and a complaint lodged of such aspirant with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission for him to explain the source of the money distributed to delegates.
Undoubtedly any aspirant that doles out money to influence delegates to vote in his favour does not stand for change and is corrupt. Such aspirant will likely run a corrupt government founded on Cronyism and graft. Such an aspirant will not deserve the ticket of the Party. APC slogan of change must not just be sloganeering to deceive the voters.
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