By Chuks Osuji
Evidently, so many years ago, an American political scientist, Michael Huntington had opined that when a certain society begins to develop a new culture in its social, political and in any other aspect of the usual different culture, such a society is gradually approaching a social decay, and that the end of such a process, such society would then embrace a new culture in that societal life.
Definitely, in all societies that have been accepted in culture of political culture known as Democracy is often described as government of the people by the people and for the people. For years now, most of the world nations have embraced this order. Although there are many other societies which have not embraced democratic order particularly those in the Orient Far East and in the Soviet countries.
But evidently, since Nigeria was cultured politically by her colonial master, democratic culture was adopted and when the country was given independence in 1960, the political culture adopted by our post independent leaders was that of democracy. Gradually and grudgingly, the country has been trying to adjust to the full tenets of democratic culture. Although, there has been too many hiccups in our political culture; it has been bugged by myriad of challenges.
Definitely, the most important aspect of the democracy is that which guarantees the principal of “one man, one vote” in determining the election of the leaders in a free and orderly conducted election. True to the fact, we in Nigeria have been experiencing this democratic process since independence in 1960 but collectively, we have not been getting it right but we have managed to be fumbling and wobbling with it to a larger measure of success. Unfortunately, our practice of democracy has suffered a lot of short falls we have managed to be progressing.
However, but steadily and gradually, we have progressed from one man, one vote principles but now delving to the concept of money politics that is building a new culture of monetizing vote culture. What a country! Initially, it was canvassing for votes with little things secretly, with things like, bags of rice, garri, cartons of beer, tobacco and other little materials just to induce voters at the poll. Unfortunately, it graduated to practice of bringing food items to polling stations to feed voters and to lure them to vote for some unwanted party candidates.
According to one Igbo proverb, “Once a bad behaviour penetrates a society, it becomes part of the peoples culture.” From that practice of voter’s inducement with little money at the voting precincts, we have developed a full practice of votes on the nomination grounds known as during primary process to select voters before voters.
Thus, we reached the apex of this practice during the last party primaries, particularly those of PDP and the APC. Thus, we have reached the bottom political practice of official buying of voters at the point of primaries. In the last Primaries particularly those of PDP and the APC, voters were not only induced but forced to accept bundles of Nigerian and American currencies in their hotels and at the voting grounds.
As already observed and authenticated, by numerous media houses, the two most glaring culprits in this regard of money politics are Abubakar Atiku of PDP and Ahmed Bola Tinubu of APC, with less visible method but also including Gov Nyesom Wike of Rivers State. This meant that we have reached that which Huntington called social decay in our electoral process.
From this point, the bastardization of electoral process with money which reached its zenith in the last Primaries for which political historians, for which Atiku Abubakar and Ahmed Bola Tinubu will be remembered and credited with in the history of politics in this country will continue to be delible in the annals of politics in the country. Who will therefore argue that we have not reached social decay in the electoral process?