By: Nurudeen Dauda-M.sc(In-view)
Many APC’s Chieftains as well as some Political observers were of the view that, the party under Chief John Odigie Oyegun was the “poorest” Ruling and or Governing party in the history of Nigeria . It was alleged that Ruling party’s activities at the National level from 1999 to 2015 were usually being bankrolled by the Presidency. President Buhari upon his assumption of office in 2015 made it clear that he would not use state resources to fund his party activities. In addition, he told the party leadership to source for their independent funds in order to run its affairs.
It is important to note that, it is only the party at the National level that has the sole responsibility for conducting Bye-congresses at the state levels in order to feel some existing vacancies left by some members of their parties either due to having state or federal appointments etc., but the party could not do that due to what was said to be inadequate funds. In my observation, most of the crises that affected the state chapters of the party which became intractable were as a result of poor funding.
So many politicians who assisted the party its victory in 2015, expected to be compensated by ways of appointments, but the delay by the Buhari’s Administration in sharing of its political “spoils of war” in terms of quick appointments of Board members and Heads of government’s Agencies might have worsen the crises in the party.
Chief Oyegun was accused of being too flexible at the same time favouring state governors in all the crises that rocked the state chapters of the party during his reign. In my view, Chief John Odigie Oyegun being a former governor perhaps might have understood the enormous powers wielded by state governors in Nigerian politics, especially, against the backdrop that he was said not to be properly funded by the central government as the usual tradition in the country.
It was alleged that Chief John Odigie Oyegun’s National Working Committee was largely financed by state governors since President Buhari refused to fund its activities.He who pays the piper dictates the tune ! However, It is important to note that, the entrenched tradition of funding parties with state resources is unconstitutional.
Some APC’s Chieftains were not happy with Chief John Odigie Oyegun’s leadership style, but essentially, In my observation, It was his disagreements on the issues of Kogi and Ondo states with Chief Bola Ahmed Tinibu who is a very influential Chieftain of the party that might have sent him home. However, the New APC’s Chairman, Comrade Adams Aliyu Oshiohole, who is a former labour leader and a former state Governor is seen by many as a no nonsense person who will address aggrievances in the party.
Permit me to say, our major ondoing in our modern day democracy is the use of state resources which is in the hands of our governors to fund party activities .This system of political parties’ finance, makes state governors too powerful to be ignored. The governors are the ones who usually secure party offices, pay their workers and other expenses. The system allows them to have total control of their party structures in their states.
Governors will continue to be very powerful and relevant as far as wards, Local governments, States congresses, National Convention and Primary elections are concerned as long as party activities are being financed by them. Our political parties “finance model” needed much to be desired.
In my view, for us to get it right, we must not leave political party finance to state governors alone as it is presently . All stakeholders should and or must be involved in party finance for us to get it right or else we should just forget it. We must device a means where all and sundry irrespective of their economic status will contribute to its finances through regular payments of membership dues and other legitimate means.
Political parties in Nigeria should borrow a leaf from the financing model of political parties in advanced democracies as a means of ensuring their independence and supremacy.
In my humble suggestion, all Political parties should have their Business Wings as a way of generating income for their activities. Let’s have Political Parties with Corporate Businesses ; such as : Hotels , Fuel stations ,Newspapers, Airlines, Commercial Buses, Poultry /Fish farms, Bakery, Soft drinks companies,Table and Sachet water, Wrapper, and clothes businesses etc. This will make the parties financially independent and will create jobs to the people.
May God bless Nigeria!