Why Nigerians Must Vote For Change In Saturday’s National Assembly Election

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Disgraceful: Rowdy sessions are a commonplace in the PDP-led Assembly. Can we see a huge turn around please on Saturday?

National Assembly

This is a clarion call. A vote for the PDP is tantamount to a vote for more suffering. This is a plea for Nigerians to use their heads instead of a facile resort to emotions and other divisive reflexes. The election to the National Assembly is scheduled to take place nationwide this Saturday, April 02, 2011. These polls are significant in many respects.

With its 109 Senate seats and 360 House of Representatives ones, Nigeria’s national parliament is a pre-eminent democratic institution that is, amongst other responsibilities, charged with legislation making and acting as checks and balances vis-à-vis the executive arm of the federal government.

In its oversight role, the National Assembly helps set benchmarks for the nation’s development.

Our recent history has amply shown that our putative democracy is imperilled or enhanced depending on whether or not we have a truly functioning legislature that is prepared to assert its legitimacy by standing up to the kind of executive rascality and truancy that have been the stock-in-trade of successive PDP-led regimes since the election-rigging reign of the ex-tyrant, Olusegun Obasanjo (1999- 2007).

Since 1999 which marked the official departure of the military from governance, the PDP-dominated National Assembly in Abuja has largely been characterized by a troubling abdication.

A great number of its members who, by the way, did not legitimately win their elections, have hardly felt the emotional and moral connection with their supposed constituents, not to mention the legitimate aspirations or needs of the latter.

Nigeria’s legislators, whether at the state or federal level, have been unable to rise above the din of self-serving shenanigans and the trappings of prebendal politics.

This disconnect between the members of the federal legislature and the people is also noticeable at other levels of governance and especially at the executive branch.

One of the key consequences of the crisis of confidence between the masses and their “elected” representatives is the near-total neglect of critical sectors of the economy.

In the light of the aforementioned, the watershed election this Saturday does hold special significance, namely, the promise of change for the better.

Nigerian Senate
It is an understatement to say that under the present dispensation, not unlike the presidency, the National Assembly has played worrisome roles. It has woefully failed to exercise its supervisory role in critical dossiers .

By way of example, probes of the scandalous and criminal mismanagement of the nation’s resources in the strategic energy and transport sectors have been deliberately and remorselessly aborted by vested interests associated with the ruling party at the centre, all that, after huge sums of money as well as valuable time have been expended on them.

Under the PDP-led government, the legislative arm has for twelve wasted years colluded with the executive by allowing the nation to stagnate in administrative mediocrity and impunity.

The country is paying dearly and will continue to do so as long as no conscious effort is made by the people to halt the steady march toward our collective perdition.

The philosophical commitment for transformational change is already there.

That change will come about through a purposeful rejection of what the PDP and its owners have come to epitomize today, namely, corruption, the despoliation of the country and its resources coupled with an uncanny desperation to maintain the untenable status quo of parochial and selfish pursuits through the illegal resort to violence and the abuse of state structures.

For twelve wasted years, the PDP has imposed a savage rigging culture on the nation to such an extent that all aspects of our national life have been desecrated and fossilized beyond recognition.

The Jonathan/Obasanjo PDP alliance has nurtured a Hobbesian state of medieval inequities where a sodomitic kleptocracy holds sway amidst generalized penury and hopelessness.

Today, the need for a new and overhauled National Assembly has never been greater.

The country requires political platforms whose members are imbued with both the vision and the will to steer the ship of state away from over a decade of PDP incompetence and misgovernance.

At this point in time, it is the ACN and the CPC that are best placed to lead the way in that direction.

The wisdom of this position is partly informed by emerging local and regional trends.

Senate Leader David Mark
The emerging pro-ACN and pro-CPC affinities are indicative of the mass appeal of these two political formations and their respective candidates in the April elections as opposed to the suspicion and even hostility that most Nigerians harbour toward the PDP and its candidates.

An ACN/CPC-dominated National Assembly where the presence of the PDP will be substantially reduced or, preferably, completely obliterated, should be a desirable outcome.

In the Middle-Belt and the West, the predominance of the ACN is all too obvious. Benue , for instance, has become the state where the ACN has the strongest following outside of the South-West zone. This is mainly due to the ACN’s progressive political programme and the calibre of its candidates in the likes of Senator Akume, Professor Steve Ugbah (its governorship candidate), his running mate, ‘Young Alhaji’, Senator Akaagerger and General (rtd.) Onoja.

Akume and other ACN candidates are poised to win massively in the Saturday polls. The party is also expected to do well in strategic areas of the South-South, the far-North and the East.

Retired General Buhari’s CPC has widespread support in much of the North and major localities of the country.

As for the ANPP and APGA, due to their history of irksome support – recent or otherwise – for the PDP, opting for these two outfits can only help the PDP by taking votes away from the ACN or the CPC.

The PDP’s support in either the South-South or the East can be described as at best tenuous, for the simple reason that the party’s legacy is one of ruination and sleaze.

There is no gainsaying the fact that Nigerians want change of the progressive kind.

In the National Assembly election this Saturday, the choice is between the ACN and the CPC. The abiding message is for citizens to go out and vote and protect their votes.
Aonduna Tondu (aondunatondu@gmail.com).