Former Head of State and one of the founding fathers of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida has said that the Party’s national chairmanship position for which, its election has been billed for December 9, 2017, is not for sale.
General Babangida said he was alarmed at and displeased with the level of money politics which aspirants to the position have engaged in, warning that the party must produce a national chairman who must be proven to be a man of “stature, discipline, character and commendable conduct to breathe fresh air into our party and not persons whose political relevance is the product of naira and kobo bargain across the counter.”
He advised the party to “tread on the path of caution and common sense, conscious of our recent history of avoidable political crisis” in choosing who becomes the national chairman, saying the approach of monetizing the process, “in my humble view, defeats the whole essence of participation, free choice and voting which are the essential attributes of any democracy without inducement and outright manipulation.” The ex-Head of state gave the caution in a statement signed on his behalf by Prince Kassim Afegbua on Sunday.
According to the statement, General Babangida also said that “rather than de-monetize the electoral process to provide ample room for more citizens’ participation, the idea of monetizing the process and trying to “procure” party positions defeats merit, offends good conscience and blurs fair play.”
He said, following the failure of the party to win the 2015 election and the recent leadership tussles that rocked the party, that “one would have thought that…individuals would have put to rest their selfish and egocentric interest and pursue goals and objectives that bear true testimony to the ideals of the founding fathers….”
He said instead, “the sound bites of monetization of the process are utterly demoralizing and benumbing.” General Babangida however urged that leaders of the party “irrespective of their political interest would allow reason and level playing field to prevail in the overall interest of the party.”