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ANN urges participatory democracy in Nigeria

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INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu

Until July 12 when the Supreme Court in its decision restored hope in the major opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), which nearly collapsed due to a protracted struggle for its national chairmanship between the Sen. Ali Modu Sheriff and Sen. Ahmed Makarfi’s Caretaker Committee factions, there had been concern across the country Nigeria may become a one party state.

It was the intervention of the apex court, which recognized Makarfi as the authentic leader of the PDP pending another national convention that stopped politicians, mainly of the PDP jumping ship to the ruling APC.

However, a new political party that is still awaiting registration from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the Alliance for New Nigeria (ANN) has vowed to chart a new part that would create meaningful and effective impacts in the democratic setting of the country.

Addressing the media on the aims and objectives of ANN, the national coordinator, Dr. Jay Osi Samuels said the party is purely a masses oriented political movement without a political godfather “our godfather is the people.”

According to him, “I have come to realise that Nigerians no longer believe any political association could come out to challenge the current status quo unless it’s been backed or sponsored by some money bag.

“Nigerians believe that you must have deep pockets and be backed by some powers that be before you can come into the political arena. To them, you must have a godfather who is behind you and pulling the strings on your behalf. Well, we in ANN have a godfather but not the kind of godfather Nigerians are used to. Our godfather is the people and nothing more. They are the only ones we owe allegiance to.”

Samuel explained that since ANN announced its arrival on the political scene more than six months ago, it has endeavoured to convince electorate that it meant business. Its targets are professionals and technocrats who hitherto have been apolitical and hardly get involved in political activities.

Although, Samuel disclosed that while the party still awaits INEC’s registration “its promoters are not prepare to deviate from the founding principle of not encouraging any godfather.”

According to him, “We have done our homework very well and it was discovered that less than 30 per cent of registered voters actually participate in politics or even vote on the Election Day while the remaining 70 per cent stayed aloof and does not get involved at all.”

From the research carried out by ANN, Samuels said it was discovered that professionals and technocrats form the major number of the 70 per cent categories who exhibited nonchalant attitude to politics “these categories of people are not politicians in the Nigerians context.

Explaining further, the ANN national coordinator said the party is made up of non-politicians, saying, “We are not politicians neither are we new breed politicians. We are not politicians but technoticians. We are a hybrid of technocrats and politicians where the 80/20 rules apply here. In other words, in practice and modus operandi, we are 80 per cent technocrats and just 20 per cent politicians. We are allied to drain the swamp.”

Unlike in other political climes where the sole aim of parties is to contest and win elections and consequently rule, Samuels explained that ANN was not founded for the sole purpose of winning an election.

According to him, “We are committed to building a party that is bound by an ideology and would stand the test of time. We are allied to engender the Nigeria of our dream where every voice counts and every vote will matter. We are allied to position Nigeria in her rightful place in the comity of nations.”

But beyond mere building of a party and repositioning the country, ANN also hopes to ensure participatory democracy without which it says no democracy can function.

As Samuels noted, one of the bane of Nigeria democracy has always been the wrong approach to politics by the Nigerian masses, which has always placed the few elite at a vantage potion to maximize political gains not only at the expense of the people but also the nation.

It is been observed that while some few individuals, through politics aggrandize massive wealth the country bleeds and people suffer.

For instance the party researched revealed even the population of youth in todays politics do so with wrong notions while the women fold are used mainly as praise singers to politicians for a cup of rice and few naira.

As Samuels said, “This is one of the setback to the development of the Nigeria democratic and our group is out to address this through serious education and enlightenment programme to set our people free.”

He added, “If you notice, only thirty percent of the populace gets involved in the political process in the country; either through active participation or via voting. Those who hold public offices are less than 20,000, including those at the state level. What we are doing is to talk to the remaining seventy per cent and get them to be part of the process. This is what ANN is all about.”

Samuels said they have been convincing Nigerians to come out of their shells and take their political destinies in their own hands. To him, there is no point to continue to whine on social media without doing anything.”

While he agreed that the use of Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter and others are good and have been a source to educate the electorate, Samuels said, “We have complained enough. We cannot continue to go on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and WhatsApp groups and be lamenting about how the country is drifting. It is time to get involve and change things in the country by being part of the political process.



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