How to ensure credible polls, by Alaafin

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The Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi 111, has warned that there can be no formidable evidence-based policy for national
development and growth without a credible information system
consisting of a valid database, derived from national census.
He said without a credible database, the aspirations of national
development, the creation of policies for the attainment of national
goals, expectation of credible elections, and the mapping of strategic
plans and the measurement of success will be Herculean.
The monarch gave the warning today when a renowned legal luminary and
Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Chief Adeniyi Akintola, paid him a
courtesy visit in his palace.
‘’Without good data, project formulation, planning, execution,
monitoring and evaluation of development programmes will be severely
handicapped. If the national aspiration is to build a world class
infrastructure, be on the path of economic rejuvenation, renewal and
growth, equitable distribution of income, educational development,
social security, political stability, full employment, price
stability, and to maintain balance of payment equilibrium, and so on,
then the need for an honest census and credible information system is
imperative’’.
‘’An electoral process that is free, fair and imbued with integrity
will deepen democracy and ensure the peace and stability of Nigeria.
And the only people who can ensure that are the political leaders,
parties and candidates who should prepare their profiles and plans to
sell to the people for elections in any order’’.
 The paramount ruler also postulated that if Nigeria will live up to
the bidding of being the giant and power house of Africa, it must
begin with a repositioning of her political parties for relevance.
He stated that political parties are only concerned with supporting
aspiring candidates for political offices on their individual merit
and not as official representatives of the parties in government to
ensure the implementation of party programmes, policies on the
different sectors of national life and indeed party manifesto and pact
with the electorate.
‘’ It is therefore convenient to parties that are in fact partly
funded by the government to abdicate the role of soliciting and
priotizing needs and policy in line with the needs, wishes and
aspirations of the their members and supporters.
 Nigerian parties, Alaafin pointed out, no longer familiarize or
educate voters and citizens in the functioning of the political and
electoral systems and in generating correct political values, adding
that what they do at best is to criticize the activities and
programmes of government appointed and funded electoral supervising
authorities.
He noted that they neglect the role of educating and training party
members and leadership on a continuous basis.
Said he, ‘’members are only called upon during elections and
compromised with what is generally known as empowerment, dividends of
democracy or even the more recent terminology of stomach
infrastructure; whatever that means. Nigerian political parties no
longer care about balancing opposing demands and converting them into
general policies because they seem to lack intellectual premise or
foundation. Unlike what obtained in the first republic when every
intended government policy enjoyed very robust debate and trenchant
analysis by party members, our politicians no longer have time for
such niceties because according to them, such intellectually
stimulating exercises waste precious time and resources’’.
Today, the paramount ruler submitted that the Nigerian political
culture has been so mismanaged that it could hardly be described as
coming close to anything scholarly or intellectual.
 ‘’This negative development has produced a situation in which
political parties can no longer activate and mobilize citizens toward
political participation or transform public opinion into viable policy
options for the government in power. Respective ministers and heads of
government agencies and parastatals are now left almost alone to
design and implement policies without the input of their political
parties and with scant regard to the aspirations of the citizens’’.
What is even more worrisome, Oba Adeyemi stressed is the inability of
political parties to recruit and train candidates for public office.
According to him, ‘’as if standing common sense or logic on its head,
candidates now shop around and finance political parties to ensure the
realization of their selfish and narrowly defined political
agenda.There is a complete breakdown of order, discipline and system.
Individuals within political parties now loom larger and more
influential than political parties. They easily subvert popular will
and subsume the general will of the real owners of the process under
their own inordinate ambition’’.
Oba Adeyemi however urged leaders of the various political parties to
have a second thought on the mandate of their parties, its role in a
democracy, its obligations to the citizens of the country and it can
use the agency of these political parties to develop a progressive,
dynamic and participatory political culture which will be capable of
producing correct political values and attitudes.
He asserted that, ‘’if Nigeria will live up to the bidding of being
the giant and power house of Africa, it must begin with a
repositioning of our political parties for relevance. Political
parties are the engine rooms of change and are responsible, in the
main, for the development of government programmes and policies that
are capable of transforming the Nigerian society.   It is indeed your
patriotic duty to rise above pettiness and bickering to do what is
right and noble and for which you will be eternally remembered’’.
The paramount ruler went on, ‘’the election year 2019 is just a couple
of months away Nigerians will soon be on the match again, looking for
Mr. President and other office holders. By your position as leaders of
political parties you stand on a platform of enormous advantage to
cause that change and compel your parties to assume ownership of the
political process so that elected members of your parties will adhere
strictly to the manifesto and political platforms of your party. We
must do away with personality cults and focus on mass political
participation for meaningful development’’.
‘’There is yet no provision for independent candidature in the
Nigerian constitution or electoral law and to that extent, candidates
for all elective positions are candidates of their respective
political parties. Constitutionally, political parties contest and win
elections not individuals per se. The winners are therefore
responsible to and accountable to their parties and must submit to the
dictates of the party will while in office’’.
Alaafin however counsel political parties that, ‘’as we approach the
time for the adoption of candidates, I implore you as political party
leaders to kindly ensure that you support the interest of those
candidates who will abide by the dictates of the party and recognise
that they owe their mandates in trust for people’’.
He warned that ‘’a situation where certain individual office holders
will assume the role of the party must not only be discouraged but out
rightly condemned and abhorred. The vexatious malady of unwarranted
carpet crossing of senior and ranking members of the party for
personal political aggrandizement should be outlawed completely
through constitutional and extra constitutional provisions’’.
 ‘’It is an anathema to talk about carpet crossing in the United
States from where the Nigerian presidential constitution is borrowed.
It is unimaginable that a member of the Kennedy or Clinton family will
change party to embrace the Republican Party or any member of the Bush
family to identify with the Democratic Party. Even in Britain, the
Tory will never cross the carpet to join the Labour Party. Fidelity
with or faithfulness to the party is a major factor in maintaining
discipline and supremacy of the party in every instance’’.
Alaafin  who describedthe legal icon as ‘’a serious minded, upright,
highly intelligent and focused person that is needed in governance ,
stressed that in the 21st century, the country needs personalities
with high cerebral to phantom the much desired development for the
well being of all and sundry.
Earlier, Chief Akintola has referred to the Alaafin as ‘’the most
revered traditional ruler in Yoruba land whose intellectual sagacity,
sense of devotion and visionary leadership styles is second to none’’.
The legal pundit who hinted his relationship with the Alaafin in the
last thirty-one years, acknowledged the paramount ruler as a a very
strong gate keeper in the politics of Oyo State that cannot be ignored
by any intelligent and right thinking individual or group.

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