The Conference of Nigerian Political Party (CNPP) has accused Labour Union, Civil Society Organisations and Human Rights and Advocacy Groups in the country of not doing anything to compel political parties who were not fulfilling what they told Nigerians they would do in their party’s manifesto.
Visibly angry, CNPP National Chairman, Balarabe Musa who made the position known in an interview with BD SUNDAY said Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) was a tool in the hands of Nigerians in handling issues associated with compelling government to do the right thing up to the second republic until when labour aristocracy was identified and separated from labour leadership and given a community face which made labour leaders sees themselves as another government.
He said the political parties seem to have become irrelevance after the exit of class leadership of the country, saying it was the foundational reasons why political parties who do not care about the welfare of electorates have infiltrated the country.
“This has to be corrected! The root of this is the social economic and political system that controls all the political leadership produced by the system that put public interest second; with the resultant eminent corruption level and waste of public resources.They promise they don’t fulfill their promises. They disappoint Nigerians because Nigerians are not conversant”, he said.
Balarabe, a former Kaduna state governor, said if Nigerians were conversant to take each party on the basis of its claims as contained in parties’ manifestos and revolt if the parties were not meeting up with its promises, the under-development condition of the country could have been different.
He said “We no longer have non-governmental institutions. We used to have them; but from the second republic till date we don’t have them. In the second republic, when the FG wanted to go into a military part with British, Nigerians students organized themselves, protested and stopped the Nigerian government from going into military part with the British because it was unpatriotic for the Nigerian government to do that. The FG had to back out! But today, there is no conversant and competence students union in the country”, he said.
According to him, the political system and elections in the country was currently base on deciding role of money. “The hope is that we have reached the end of the road. Something relevant, something patriotic would have to take place. We cannot continue the way we are now. As far as free and fair election legacy is concern, this is an aberration which we must ensure it is stop. If we don’t, the situation we continue”, he said.
The People Democratic Party (PDP) in its manifesto said it will facilitate a rapid and sustainable development process through sound education; basic health-care; abundant food production; rapid industrial growth; good housing; gull employment; improved infrastructure; efficient transport; regular power supply; and basic services; free medical services to the aged and the handicapped; ensure that all Nigerians, particularly the young and the aged would have access to free medical services.
The ruling PDP party went further to affirm its belief in the supremacy of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the sovereignty of the Nigerian people. It said having examined the relevant provisions of the Constitution of Nigeria, as a political party, it affirmed commitment to strict observance and enforcement to the provisions of the constitution; adding that “we shall conform to the spirit and letter of the provisions”.
At the moment, the PDP was yet to made free medical services available to the young and the aged in the country as many elderly Nigerians struggle to have their health needs met at various hospital across the country. Though, the party promised Nigerians regular power supply, Nigerians had however yet to witness any significant improvement in spite of the billions of dollars sunk in the sector since PDP assumed power at the federal level in 1999.
Also, the argument of whether President Goodluck Jonathan should contest for second term in office appear to be a violation of PDP’s manifesto since the constitution allow him to do so and PDP in its manifesto said it will ‘conform’ to the spirit and letter of the provision of the constitution.
On its part, one of the parties that merged to form the All Progressive Congress (APC), Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), acknowledged in its manifesto that there was a huge deficit in the availability of housing to Nigerians, especially in the middle and low-income groups. The then ACN admitted that where housing was available, the quality was extremely low compared to what is obtainable in other developing countries.
The All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) said in its manifesto that the problem of housing Nigerians especially in urban areas has remained intractable since the days of the good old days of the Third Development Plan (1995) when it was thought that 202,000 housing units would deal with the problem.
It said it will promote research for new building technologies in order to reduce cost and that it will simplify the process of land acquisition for building processes. It also said it will ensure public conveniences are created in strategic places and that members of the public are not forced to indecency. APGA was yet to do any of these in Anambra state where it is the ruling party.
Addressing challenges of housing in terms of quality and quantity appear to be the least concern for Nigerian politicians once elected into office; though housing is a major agenda in their parties’ manifestos. In Nigeria, housing is generally inadequate in the rural areas in terms of quality, while the major problem in urban areas is more of quantity than quality.
In major cities in Nigeria, (particularly in Lagos), many Nigerians must team-up to be able to rent two or three bed-room apartment if they must escape the low quality living associated with the popular ‘face me I face you’ accommodation where Nigerians line up to have their baths and queue to use the latrine. Even with the Lagos Tenancy Law, many Nigerians are still not able to afford a decent accommodation having work for more than three years.
Speaking to BD SUNDAY on the issue, the Interim National Publicity Secretary of opposition APC, Lai Mohammed said the federal government was to be blame because its policy affects the ability and inability of states government to successfully carry out parties’ manifestos.
He said the problem with housing for example, was that as long as there is no national policy on housing the state can only do as much! “I can only talk for my party and I can assure you that there is no promise my party made that have not been implemented. For instance, it is only Lagos state I know that is even attempting to put in place a housing mortgage scheme. There is nowhere in the world that you can talk about the issue of housing in the hand of private sector or allow market forces to determine housing. There must be massive governmental intervention. Today, there is no institution that can give me a loan over 25 years to buy a house and that is the minimum if you want to start a housing programm”, he said.
He said states government had had to go to the bank with double digits interest to build house for the common man. “You can’t do short time loan for long time investment. Let the FG tell us their policy on housing and what is available for housing. Who gives the loan? Only recently I heard that seven institutions have been approved for primary mortgage in a population of 150 million”, he said.
He said the kind of federalism the country was practicing; a lot depends on decision, the passion and competence of the FG. “There is certain matter that without the FG been proactive, no matter what the states promises, they will fall at the wayside. Take the issue of unemployment; you can imagine if the FG has embark on road construction, railway construction, massive housing and mechanize agriculture, you can imagine the spine up in terms of jobs! Our economic the way it is been run (I mean our dependent on oil) favours more the other countries! Oil will not add any value to our economic. We simply mined it and ship it abroad! When you ship it abroad, you now create jobs for those abroad. You can see why it all depends on the FG”, he said.
PDP Publicity Secretary, Olisa Metuh did not respond to several calls and text messages to his cell phone. He also did reply message sent to his Facebook inbox as at the time of filing in this report.
Ahmed Gulak, the President Special Adviser on political Matter was said to be out of the country as his cell phone number was not going through.
The Spokesperson of Chairman of Independence National Electoral Commission (INEC) Professor Atahiru Jega, Kayode Idowu however said only Nigerians can demand performance from their leaders. “At the moment there is no provision in the constitution empowering INEC to ensure political parties do what they said in their manifestos”, he said.
Rivers State Chairman of the Conference of Nigerian Political Party (CNPP) Dr. Menaigbi Dagogo-Jack said the constitution and manifesto of political parties are part of a criterion for the function of a political party saying that as the 2015 general elections approaches Nigerians should consider electioneering campaign against what such individuals and their parties have done in the past. “If the political party has done something before, Nigerians should also consider them against what they say they will do and make their votes in that light”, he told BD SUNDAY on the telephone from Port Harcourt the Rivers state capital.