Why public office holders can’t do what Nigerians want – Ex-Akwa Ibom Gov
Former Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Obong Victor Attah says Nigerian public office holders find it difficult to do the bidding of the electorate because “the cost of election today is tremendously expensive”.
He said this during a virtual Public Policy Dialogue organised by Ricchezza Initiative for Social Empowerment, monitored in Uyo.
The ex-governor also advocated a return to the parliamentary system of government to enable communities to select and elect people to represent them.
Attah said that the presidential system of government currently in practice in the country is too expensive and therefore should be changed.
The former governor said a government that must impact on the people must originate from and maintain regular interface with the people at the grassroots.
He said that the cost of election in the presidential system had robbed the masses of the allegiance of their representatives.
The elder statesman said that public office holders now strove to satisfy the yearnings of their sponsors at the detriment of the people who voted them to power.
“I came here with something, “COME LET US REASON TOGETHER” because I knew that whatever you are, whatever your exposure, however intelligent you are, you can’t do it alone.
“You must have a community that works with you, tells you what their needs are, tells you what their demands are and leadership means being able to fulfill those things for the people.
“Today, people do not truly communicate with their representatives because they do not really seriously need their vote to get into offices.
“That is why the presidential system is not working for Nigeria.
“The parliamentary system made it possble for those representing the community to be elected by the community, not the party, not the law court.
“The people would know who they want. You cannot rig the conscience of the people.
“The cost of election today is tremendously expensive, making it difficult for public office holders to do what the communities want. They do what the sponsors want.
“To campaign across the country in the case of presidential election or across the state for those contesting as governors, you need a lot of money.
“So, the moment you are sworn into office, you focus on your sponsors,” Attah said.
Attah said that the parliamentary system of government would give room for true federalism, where the federating units would be able to take full control of their resources.
Mr Udeme Etukayin of Ricchezza Initiative for Social Empowerment, who anchor the forum said that the policy engagement series was designed to xray views with the aim of evaluating solution-driven leadership and governance in Africa.
According to him, Attah is the Lead Speaker on the forum due to his wealth of experience, impact and wisdom in the design and development of Uyo masterplan.