Every time I drive across the PDP Secretariat in Oyo state located along UCH-Mokola highway, one thing captures my attention apart of the numerous billboards and posters, it is the very large number of people who only sit, stand or sleep at different spots in the building doing absolutely nothing. Their job is politics, their sources of income are politicians.
Some days ago, I was having fun at an exclusive restaurant. Moments after I got there, a man with APC badge came with 6 other people. Their conversations made me realise he is a honorable member of Oyo state House of Assembly. The six individuals that I saw with him, and several others, will see him as their meal ticket and their source of income.
The situation is the same for Seyi Makinde, Senator Ladoja, Governor Ajimobi, Teslim Folarin and other gubernatorial candidates vying for posts in the forthcoming general elections in Oyo state and beyond. They have tens, hundreds and thousands of people relying on what they can get from the government’s purse when elected into power. And usually, the person that wins is expected to be the one with the highest number of dependents which call supporters.
At Cocoa Mall recently, I saw one of the candidates of Accord Party seeking election into the Federal House of Reps. I lost count of the number of people behind him. He had a praise singer drummers and of course, there were hefty guys with scary eyes. They are all on his payroll.
The governorship candidates even have more bills to pay. A good example is Engineer Seyi Makinde, flag bearer of the Social Democratic Party (SDP). Every time I’m at Omi Titun House, his campaign headquarters, I see lots of people, sometimes hundreds, around. The look on their faces would make you realise they are not their for free.
Large costs are also incurred during electioneering campaigns, the governorship candidates spend millions of naira daily!
Without mincing words, politics cannot be easily played by individuals who don’t have money but only have passion to serve the populace. It’s for the big boys, the rich men.
As Ibadan residents prepare to go to the polling stations in the forthcoming general elections, I quiver at the burdens that the politicians are being made to bear, the high costs they are incurring, and the bills they are paying. The demands that their supporters and followers are making could be a recipe for disaster and retrogression even after the polls as the eventual winners may have to dip into government’s purse to dole out funds or award contracts to thank his supporters.
The obvious way to prevent disastrous outcomes would be for political parties to discourage dependency and reliance on politics as sources of income at all levels, they can make office seekers pay less bills so that when they are elected, reelected or lose an election, they don’t lose sleep when thinking of who are indebted to and where to get more money to ensure that they retain their supporters.