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Is This Democracy Or Moneycrazy?

By Oladele Oyeleye
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During the 2015 Lagos State Governorship Election, it was very clear that Democracy was not protected; it was extreme moneycrazy that was exhibited. The amount of money spent in the name of elected political position is beyond comprehension. Nothing is functioning properly; there is nothing on the ground. Majority of the population are living in extreme poverty; yet the major parties saw it fit to waste huge amount of money in the name of election.

My name is Dupe Onitiri-Abiola, a Governorship Candidate (UPN) in the April 11, 2015 election. As a contestant who is solidly on the ground and in direct contact with the masses, I personally saw how the majority of the people have been neglected over the years. In fact, the situation has gone from bad to worst since the inception of The New Era Democracy. It is unfortunate that the huge sacrifices made to bring this present Democracy to existence is being undermined and taken for granted.

It was clearly exhibited during the 2015 elections that, it does not matter what the people want, what matters is what the godfather wants to impose on the people.

The campaign by the major parties was not about how to truly bring an end to the gigantic problems facing majority of the Lagos State population, it was all about who has the most money to buy the people’s conscience with gifts and money. It became a game of who gives the most and the highest. They were playing on the people’s vulnerable state of unnecessary extreme poverty. The parties have been in position of power at different levels for 16 years, how would they not know about the terrible situation on the ground? How would they not know about all the failed promises they made? How would they not know that corruption is the root cause of almost all the problems on the ground? It is unfortunate they pretended not to know.

My direct face to face interaction with the people during my campaign (which is a brand new type of campaign, outside of the old school wasteful type of campaign), allowed me to see and hear exactly how poverty is affecting the people.

The people I met told me that nothing is new about the parties’ method of campaign, that it is the same method of wasting money that cannot be accounted for. They said the politicians are doing things and giving them things, they had not done for them or given them during the time they were in office. They said the parties use money inducement because they know the majority are too poor to resist. It is so painful when you hear how the people think the politicians are taking advantage of them and how they are helpless.

There is nothing on the ground to show that majority of the people of Lagos State are truly getting the dividends of democracy they so much deserve. In fact, there are so many places I visited, where the presence of government is totally invisible.

About 99% of the streets in Lagos State have the presence of high rate unemployed youths known as area boys. My team and I always take our time to interact with them. We were able to give them hope that they too can have a bright future. They are known as being violent, but they were nice to me and my team. They do have good qualities in them, but the system turned them to be bad. In fact, a lot of them are graduates. It is possible to turn them around to be the best they can be. With better opportunities, they will all come out better and productive. During my visitations, I saw a high rate of unemployed youths wasting away; it is a painful experience to witness.

It is ironic that the same system keeping majority of the population deep down in poverty is still in place. The level of corruption is just beyond comprehension. The only words known in Lagos State politics are “godfather and money”. Lagos State politics is not about electing the best to serve the people; it is only about selecting the best who will serve interest of the godfather.

It is so sad that Lagosians are going through unnecessary hardship. The fight to remove dictatorship after the annulment of June 12, 1993 Presidential election won by my late husband, Late Chief MKO Abiola; started in Lagos. Though my husband paid the ultimate price with his life to end dictatorship in Nigeria, the victory to bring in the present Democracy was secured here in Lagos State. The fact is, Lagos State is the home of The New Era Democracy in Nigeria.

Is Lagos State no longer the financial capital of Nigeria? Why are the majority of the population poor? I believe there is no excuse. It is all about corruption and greed.

There are different opinions about participation in the elections. There is the group of people who told me and my team that they have refused to partake in any election since 1999. They believe the process is not about democracy that it is all about selection. They said it does not matter who they voted for, it is whoever is selected that gets the position. The attitude is that why bother, when their votes don’t count.

There is another group of people who told us that they are trapped to vote as directed due to the tactics being used on them, mainly fear, harassment, threat, intimidation, blackmail.

There is this other group of people who told us that they would not vote because of failed promises by politicians. They said they have been neglected over the years, while they are being denied dividends of democracy. They told us that they frequently see how politicians abuse their positions to obtain personal assets.

There is this group of people whose state of mind is very poor. They told us that though they are suffering due to failed promises by politicians; they would still go ahead and vote for the party who gave them the most amount of money. They said that once they cannot see the politicians again after election, they would at least collect what they give as their own share. We asked them if the N500 or N1,000 given to them is the share they deserved. I did ask them if the amount is the same as employment for the youths, free education, free healthcare services, affordable homes and other dividends they deserve? The response is that the money would not do anything for them, that they usually spend the money within minutes. They say they don’t know why, but they feel hyper during elections and just have the need to collect the money. The fact is, they do know that collecting money from politicians always bring them suffering and failed promises.

As soon as the politician gets to office, he must refund money spent during the election plus interest, to the godfather who provided the money. The politician would make sure he takes care of himself while taking care of the godfather. At that point, there will be almost nothing left for the people. The need to steal the people’s money for godfather and self is why politicians get married to corruption. They really lack the interest to genuinely serve the people. It is not about public service to them, it is about self service.

The general conclusion by the people is that genuine democracy is yet to be known in Lagos State and in Nigeria.

It is so unfortunate that the INEC officials in Lagos State did compromise during the April 11, 2015 election. Their actions and inactions ridicule their independent position. There are so many atrocities committed at many polling stations and the worst at the coalition centres. What took place was totally shameful of INEC. They clearly showed that the people cannot trust them to conduct genuine democratic elections.

It is so rare to find who cares about genuine democracy, it is all about money. The election period is when you will see many wolves in sheep clothing. It is also when you see good people saying “if you can’t beat them, join them”. When they join them, they become corrupt too.

Godfatherism – huge price tag to contest – secured political position – corruption – no dividends of democracy to the people – poverty.

This is why we must all come together to abolish godfatherism and eradicate corruption. We need to stop money politics. We need to find ways to stop politicians who use money to buy people’s conscience and vote. It is obvious that genuine leaders who want to truly serve the people cannot secure elected position, if the demonized money politics is not eradicated. Meanwhile, without genuine leaders, there is no way to get out of the mess on the ground.

After realising the root of the problem as indicated above, I decided to introduce a new method of contacting the people directly face to face, to present my plans for them without inducing them with money. It felt so strange because the people are used to the old school system of money politics. When they realised how genuine I am, they opened up and shared many stories with me. They supported me and said many prayers for me. They said my sincerity of heart to eradicate poverty will come to past soon if not immediately.

POVERTY, CORRUPTION, godfatherism, GREED, LACK OF GOOD GOVERNANCE, INSECURITY, HIGH RATE OF UNEMPLOYMENT, BAD ROADS (DEATH TRAPS), BAD TRANSPORTATION SYSTEM, TERRIBLE PUBLIC SCHOOL ENVIRONMENT, LACK OF QUALITY EDUCATION (though we have talented educators), UNAVAILABILITY OF GOOD HEALTHCARE SERVICES (though we have talented healthcare providers), ALMOST LACK OF DRINKING WATER, LACK OF PROVISIONS AND CARE FOR WIDOWS, ORPHANS, PENSIONERS AND THE PHYSICALLY CHALLENGED. NO PROGRESS, NO IMPROVEMENT, NO DEVELOPMENT.

For how long can Lagos State or even Nigeria, survive under the above mentioned terrible conditions? Though I did not mention all, but this is a narrative picture of how majority of Lagos State population live day by day. I saw it all. It is unimaginable.

I started my tour of “Get To Know The Situation On The Ground” in 2013. I visited the entire areas of Lagos State with my Team. We continued the visitations until we started campaign in 2015. The situation on the ground has gone from bad to worse.

Even Albert Einstein would be unable to find a formula of understanding, as to why a country (Nigeria) so abundantly blessed, have a huge population living in extreme poverty.

Why do we have such a huge gap between the rich and the poor in Nigeria? The rich are so disconnected from the poor, while the hope of the poor to become rich is almost impossible.

Why are the people who are blessed to make things right, so quiet about the terrible situation on the ground? Why is everybody adopting “To Each Their Own”? It cannot continue like this indefinitely.

The people’s reaction when they cannot take it any longer might be worse than The French Revolution or even The Arab Spring. I know some would say that it cannot happen in Nigeria. Don’t be too sure, it might happen, if we don’t come together to make things right for the people. It might happen if the politicians and their godfathers refused to allow genuine deliverance of dividends of democracy to directly reach the people.

My recent past race as a governorship candidate, is not a wasted journey. It is the beginning of a journey that will be accomplished by the Special Grace of GOD ALMIGHTY.

With the many challenges and betrayals I faced during the race, I still made up my mind not to give up. I will not give up because of temporary setback.

I know and believe that “All things work together for good to them that love GOD, to them who are the called according to HIS purpose”.

Since I have the blueprint of what to do and how to do it; my Mission to eradicate poverty in this State will be accomplished by The Amazing Grace of ALMIGHTY GOD.

The Struggle continues.
GOD BLESS DOA TEAM
GOD BLESS PEOPLE OF LAGOS STATE
GOD BLESS NIGERIANS.

Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Oladele Oyeleye and do not necessarily reflect those of The Nigerian Voice. The Nigerian Voice will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article."