A presidential hopeful of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Alhaji Nurideen Iddrisu, has bemoaned the monetisation of politics in the country and called on delegates of the party in the upcoming presidential primary to choose competence and commitment over money and material gains.
The party has scheduled Saturday, February 23, 2019 for its presidential primary and so far six other candidates are in hot contention for the most prestigious position of the party.
The six candidates are former President John Dramani Mahama, Prof. Joshua Alabi, Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, Alban Sumani Kingsford Bagbin, Sylvester Mensah and Augustus Goosie Tanoh.
But in the view of Alhaji Nurideen Iddrisu, the monetisation of politics had become a very worrying trend and warned of a major jolt in the country’s democratic dispensation if the phenomenon was allowed to fester.
Alhaji Iddrisu, who was sharing his experiences with the Daily Graphic after his campaign tour of the 275 constituencies across the country to win the heart and mind of NDC delegates, called on the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) and other civil society organisations to as a matter of urgency step in to help educate the Ghanaian electorate to shun politics of money.
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Expensive reaching 29000 polling stations
To Alhaji Iddrissu, who is an ex-banker and a consultant in oil and gas, though it had been a very good experience interacting with the grass roots of the NDC party, it had also been very expensive reaching the delegates in all the 29,000 polling stations across the country.
“Unfortunately, politicians have monetised politics in this country. It is unfortunate because it is the politicians who should empower the people but they have woefully failed to do that and are rather capitalising on their impoverishment to monetise the political system,” he stated.
He added that the politicians created hardship for the people so they could exploit them.
“If the person is hungry, he will not listen to ideas and vision but rather will want to be fed first,” he stated.
The NCCE, in particular, he said, should, therefore, take it up as a key project to educate the citizenry to know their civic rights and not for them to see or view election period as a ‘cocoa season’ but rather use it to challenge politicians on their policies and visions.
That way, said Alhaji Iddrisu who had helped raised funds for campaign activities of the party, the nation could focus on policies for development and not monetise politics and democracy.
He said that if political positions were sold to the highest bidder, it would deny the citizens the opportunity to elect the right persons to be at the helm of affairs of state.
He said many competent and committed people, who lacked the financial muscle, were being denied an opportunity to serve the country.
As a result, he said, “corruption is rife and the political environment is full of square pegs in round holes. Therefore, the masses must open their eyes to the political transactions that are going on and vote against it.”
In 2016, he said there was a disconnect between the NDC party leadership and the members.
Members of the party, he said, felt very marginalised and not empowered and that was why they decided not to vote for the NDC in that election.
“We can address this through empowerment of the party members, particularly the youth,” he stated while stressing that “the challenge with the grass roots are mainly jobs and we have to work hard to empower them through job creation.”
He said he was very frustrated with the political system, saying the system had failed to empower the youth and create jobs for them.
“As a youth myself, I can no longer sit on the fence and complain always. I need to come on board to help fix the mess facing the country,” he stated.
He said given the opportunity to lead the NDC, he would create what he called “Loyalty Fund” for NDC members and money raised would be used to invest in agriculture to create jobs for the citizenry.
“My immediate plan is to get the party’s constituency, which is the base, to work, generate revenue, create jobs and then move to put up office facilities,” he stated.
“I also plan to empower indigenous Ghanaians through tax exemptions, make available low interest facilities and challenge them to move production from 30 per cent to 50 per cent and create jobs for the people,” he added.
“We are good to go as a party and God willing expect Nurideen to win. If i do not win the primary, I will throw my weight behind anybody who emerges as the leader,” he pledged.
He advised all the seven aspirants to come together after the primary on Saturday and ensure that they focus on the good of the party and the masses rather than personal interest to work to wrest political power at the 2020 polls.