Recently, the INEC Chairman, Professor Attahiru Jega told his Residence Electoral Commissioners in the States never to collect money from any governor so that the credibility of his job will not be undermined. To my mind, this is a good advice for a start and Jega should be commended for his boldness. But the INEC Boss should not also forget the desperation of a certain past leader, wanting to buy people in order to get his desire. It is now an open secret that there are overt and covert attempts to rubbish the forthcoming ANPP convention with "Ghana must go" influence, particularly in view of the diminishing face of the zoning system in PDP. The ANPP convention, which had earlier been slated for early this month was reportedly postponed for the last day of the month to give adequate time for purchase of delegates that will lead to over running of the party by strange bed fellows who have seen their doom in PDP's anti-zoning.

Money, they say, is the root of all evils. It has singularly destroyed respect, honour, morality and even religion. Money is the basis of social evolution. Without it, one is nothing and therefore, not respected. However, the manner by which people respect and worship money calls for serious concerns. In Nigeria, money is regarded as everything. It gives one the power to call the shots. It places one in an advantageous position. A pious person and morally upright does not get respected unless he has money. The moral decadence in the country today arises as a result of the crude desire for money. The endemic corruption in our society is traceable to money. Money has seized our brains and enslaved our conscience. The rich often do not know who are their real friends and foes. Often, women express their love for men who have money and shun the love overtures of men who have none. The power of money has begotten strange bedfellows.

The genesis of any political impasse in Nigeria has its root in money. Because of the unhealthy competition for money, our politicians have stubbornly refused to accept defeat in any political contest. Where money is, there cannot be democracy and freedom. Likewise there cannot be free and fair election where money is involved. Most of the Nigerian voters have contributed greatly to the derailment of democracy in Nigeria. The electorates usually sell their votes to politicians. This is because; in democracy power depends on vote casts by the electorate. Desperate and over-ambitious politicians always try to purchase votes so that when they get the power, they can amass public funds.

The dangerous aspect of this money politics is that as soon as the politician who gives out ridiculous amount of money gets to the corridor of power, he would immediately forget the masses that gave him votes. The politician's manifestoes or objectives of emancipating the masses are forgotten. The politician's concern is to triple whatever amount he has given electorate to sell their votes. Whether the electorate is hungry or not, is none of the politician's business. After all, he purchased his votes. People have come to understand the importance of money and power politics. They have since realized that one can use these two elements to one's personal advantage. It can be used to hire and fire, manipulate and avenge, and also cause unnecessary rancour among the people. This is why people with vaulting ambition in political leadership hardly accept defeat in any political contest whether or not it is free and fair. As soon as they see or envisage failure in their political party, they become unsettled and begin to foment trouble to scatter the political arena. This, they do with the hope of political settlement. Where they fail to realize the latter option, they grow wild and hop from one party to another so as to realize their ulterior motive at all costs. This type of politicians have no loyalty to any party they join. Their loyalty only lies in what they can grasp from the party and not how to use political ideology to bring about socio-economic and political emancipation of the people.

Again, what some of our politicians seem not to understand is the essence of party formation. Political parties are formed to achieve political goals through political ideology for the betterment of the people. Real politicians do not join party because they want to become president or governor in the party by hook and crook. They join a party because they believe in its ideology. Thus, they struggle to uphold such ideological leaning of the party come rain, thunder or sunshine.

Fortunately enough, ideology does not change except for selfish interest. Some people say, they change party because their natural party fails to implement the party manifestoes or ideology. This is not true; and I would not like to share this political sentiment with any body. If every member of a political party truly and patriotically believes in the yearnings and aspirations of the party he joins, problems will certainly not arise. But where party members pursue different political interest within the same political setting on the basis of greed, problems and confusion will certainly set in. In other words, the ideology of any political party should naturally take precedence over and above individual membership sentiment.

The ANPP delegates to the forthcoming Convention should know that those who dumped one political party for another on the ground of failure to realize their personal interest rather than the interest of the party have always have cause to regret their action. Just imagine the IBB boys that had had enough political fortune in PDP are turning round to penetrate ANPP through monetary influence. The activities of this type of people are very dangerous to our nascent democracy. They are capable of causing artificial political crisis for the party. So, they should be abandoned and treated like a political traitors that have nothing to offer to the generality of the people. The ANPP delegates must not because of money, the source of which is strange, relegate political morality to the background and even thrown it to the dog.

They should have the courage to shun money and uphold credibility. They must learn from the saying of the noble men about courage that "there is no defeat except from within, no really insurmountable barrier save our own inherent weakness of purpose. Courage is the strength of mind capable of conquering whatever threatens the attainment of the highest good. Courage is the self-affirmation in spite of that which tends to hinder the self from affirming itself. Courage is not having the strength to go on, it is going on when you don't have strength. The annals of history are crowded with individuals who overcome discouragement and climbed from obscurity to greatness." All these are courtesies of great noble men like Hubbard, Martin Luther King Jnr, Paul Tillich and Robert Heap, from which we should borrow a leaf.

In addition to these, ANPP delegates to the forthcoming Convention should know the evil in the "Evil Genius." They should know that the survival of their party today started from some where. So, they cannot just pave way for frustrated money bag to take over the party because of his money. According to George Santayanci, "He who forgets the past is doomed to repeat it." Above all, the ANPP delegates to the forthcoming party Convention and indeed, any other person should know that money can buy a bed; but not a sleep, a house; but not a home, books; but not the brain/wisdom, matrimony; but not a family, food; but not the appetite, medicine; but not the health, amusement; but not happiness, assets; but not utility, insurance; but not assurance, a mosque/church; but not paradise and means; but not ends. What is there in the money that people want to get at the detriment of integrity and credibility that every one is now yeaning for?

The Governor of Kano State, Malam (Dr) Ibrahim Shekarau, Sardaunan Kano had no kobo when he won his first term election in 2003. Even, the purchase of his form for his second term election in 2007 was done through the contribution of stipends by the poor retirees. This is why he is able to perform to the yeaning and aspiration of the people, not minding the enviousness of the opposition. Therefore, none of the delegates should expect him to get any thing from him to do any bidding for him at his party convention slated for 31st July 2010. The governor's merit has always been on his populist, nationalistic, hard work and integrity, consistency, justice and equity, his impeccably transparency, etc. These are what ANPP should promote at its Convention and any thing short of these will spell doom for the party. The price of greatness is responsibility and not money.

I wish the party good luck and God's guidance in its Convention.

Saka Raji Audu writes from Kano and can be reached on his email: [email protected]

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