A cleric once said that “If elections were to be held every year, Cross River state and Nigeria at large would have developed at a faster pace and the people enjoying the dividends of democracy”.
This statement echoed in my mind recently when I saw a sticker on a vehicle bearing the logo of a political group of one of the parties with the words “supporting the Cross River project” boldly displayed.
I smiled as that reminds just about everyone the tension and intrigues that surrounded the just concluded general elections backtracking to as early as December 2013.
As soon as the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC released the elections timetable, posters, stickers and rare billboards flooded the entire state sponsored by groups which hitherto were unknown with little or next to nothing known about these oft tagged ‘political groups’ or ‘support groups’.
The annoying part was when some claimed to be non partisan but were busy promoting aspirants, paying courtesy calls to receive ‘brown envelopes’ and pen articles which at worst were trumped up and at best sycophantic.
I have no problem whatsoever with that but the question is, what do these crop of people who often deploy sycophantic means to swindle cash and favors their way actually stand for? The interest of the state, the selfish desires of the group founder and members or promoting the political cause of some individuals?
I doubt if they actually mean Cross Riverians well or how will you describe the gale of transfer of interests, abandoning of cause, defections et al after the primaries as well as before and after the elections?
For long I have waited to see these groups constructively criticise the policies of the state government or even make mere suggestions or attend public hearing of bills which is usually done in secret or not done at all except appropriation bills.
These groups except a minute few, if heard at all, will only sing praises and abuse only during elections when their aspirant is not favored and will shut up afterwards when “settlements” have been made.
It is a shame the present crop of politicians consist of only a few who truly understand the tenets of democracy and how it works.
The expectation that the absence of a true ‘unionized workforce’ would have been remedied by political pressure groups remains illusory as the only ones around have become support groups literally engaged in mudslinging and at worst praise singers.
Just before conservatives take it to heart, pause and ask yourself “What exactly do political groups in Cross Rivers state do?”.
Jonathan Ugbal is a student of Cross River State University of Technology and a CrossRiverWatch reporter.
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