January 08, (THEWILL) – The Senatorial Candidate for Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District in the February 25th election in Akwa Ibom State, Rt. Hon. Emmanuel Ekon, has warned that unless drastic measures are put in place to check cash-for-votes, true democracy in Nigeria would remain a mirage.
The candidate, who gave the warning in an interview with selected journalists in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom state capital, noted with regret, that the ‘wholesale’ penetration of money in the leadership recruitment process, has robbed the electorates of effective representation and constituency development.
Ekom, who is the former House of Representatives member for Abak Federal Constituency, blamed the gullible nature of the electorates, party leaders and stakeholders, for always trading the fate of their constituencies and constituents for cash.
He explained that the situation had forced most politicians to view their position through the prism of personal achievement, with no obligation paid to the people they represent.
Lauding the new currency policy, the former lawmaker pointed out that it would go a long way towards entrenching some measures of financial discipline. He lamented that monetary inducement of the electorates before and during the polls would only end up throwing mediocre and desperate leaders, whose mindsets would be “to recoup their investments.”
“Politicians here would go to the extent of borrowing, selling their properties and getting cash for the elections. Bulk of these monies would go for consultations of elders and stakeholders from the wards to every other level including the youth’s in order to secure support. So when they win, the first thing is to recoup and recover their investments. Don’t forget that major political parties including the APC had fixed the price of nomination forms far higher than the reach of average young persons in the country can afford.
“In the United States that I have spent several years, things are not done this way. Out there and other developed economies, people contribute to their preferred and choice candidates. Such contributions are only used for logistics and other programmes to ease the campaigns and not for vote buying, consultations and other ceremonies to woo the electorates,” he frowned.
Hoping to return to the National Assembly (Red Chamber), Ekon, who fronted the agitation for the passage of the Local Contents Law, leading to more indigenous players in the oil and gas sector, said he would pursue more Nigerian contents in the industry in other to create more jobs, skills and wealth for the youths.
Charging the people of Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District to shun the allure of money as the crucial elections beckon, Ekon, pointed out that only an experienced person would be able to weather the storm of politics at that level as a ranking member, to get the due dividends of democracy to the people.
‘”Don’t allow anyone to deceive you, it’s always not easy to break the ranks and get what you wanted as a greenhorn. I was in the Green Chamber for four years, learning the ropes until my second term when I became Chairman of the Local Content Committee, and I know what I achieved for the people of Abak Federal Constituency that I represented,” Ekon stressed.