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Migrant Politicians and Political Prostitution – Punch Newspapers

A number of Nigerians are politically aware, even though their level of political participation hardly goes beyond the vote in an election. They could be heard by taking sides at election time, arguing vehemently about why they were supporting one candidate against another. My recent visit to beloved Nigeria, coinciding with the election of the governor of Ekiti on July 14, 2018, reinforced my understanding of how the locals envisioned their votes in elections.

At the very impressive Afe Babalola Ado-Ekiti University, I met with a local chief and another visitor from the institution who spoke animatedly about how they prefer to vote for the Democratic Party candidate of the people, than that of the rival of the Congress of Progressives. In congratulating Aare Afe Babalola for having founded a university that offers employment opportunities to hundreds of Nigerians, they said that Dr. Kayode Fayemi of APC would prefer to build his own university in Ghana, offering jobs to Nigerians. Even though it was a mere propaganda, it was a story that went around. Commentators also hinted at Fayemi's lack of patriotism, saying his tenure as Solid Minerals minister did not result in the discovery of mineral resources in the state of Ekiti despite of his wealth in this regard. In addition, potential anti-Fayemi voters claimed that he was in agreement with the federal government to establish a "cattle colony" in the state, despite the rejection of a such idea by the majority of the Ekiti people.

For pro-Fayemi supporters, and as if it was the outgoing governor Ayodele Fayose of the PDP who was seeking to be re-elected, they said that the latter was corrupt, rude and arrogant. Non-payment of wages to workers has become a major problem. They said that Fayose was seeking a third term, and that his party's official candidate for the election, Prof. Kolapo Olushola, was a mere puppet. They also alleged that Fayose was building a personal home on the premises of the State House where he would run the affairs of the state of Ekiti. In an election campaign in which Olushola was barely visible, Fayose's monotonous statements "I will win the election" did not help things.

There was "vote buying" in the election of Governor Ekiti. However, the election was very competitive. Fayemi collected 197,462 votes against 178,121 from Olushola. The small margin of victory suggests, in my opinion, that the PDP could have won the election if its post-primary electoral disagreements had been managed amicably. Fayose was supposed to have imposed his deputy as a PDP candidate, disregarding the aspirations of more established party members. There were a number of notable defections from the PDP to the APC, and the implications of such defections could hardly be underestimated in a political environment where most voters owe their political loyalty to their acclaimed leaders.

political party to another was a visible aspect of Nigerian political behavior, especially in the practice of the presidential system of government. In the Second Republic (1979-1983), this writer observed the phenomenon and described it as "party building" (see my book Party Coalitions in Nigeria), not least because the mass movements observed came from mainly minor political parties. those who have the ability or the potential to win the presidency. However, the continuing defection of politicians as an established or accepted culture such as it is on the current scale suggests indiscipline, intolerance, impatience, l? opportunism, political immaturity, and lack of commitment to serious ideological positions.

will continue to attract attention that they do not deserve until we do not have a community of well educated voters and imbued with confidence and independence in the political choices they will make. Until that happens, the fortunes of the Nigerian state will continue to be manipulated by unruly migrant politicians, shameless political prostitutes, gamblers and selfish speculators.

The late Professor Anthony Kirk-Greene of the University of Oxford 93, once described our aimless politicians as "cobwebs in the corridors of power …" C & Is to the darling memory of this intellectual and scholar quintessence that I dedicate this article. I think his illustrious academic output ended with me. When he was very old, he had an excellent time reading the manuscripts and writing the forewords of the two books I published in 2013 and 2014. May his great soul rest in peace.

  • Dr. Anthony Akinola, Oxford, United Kingdom

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