The National Legal Adviser of the All Progressives Congress(APC), Dr Muiz Banire, on Tuesday said most politicians sought offices for pecuniary benefits rather than service.
Banire made the observation at a June 12 symposium organised by the Human Rights Monitoring Agenda (HURMA) in Lagos.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the theme of the symposium was “Popular Power and Struggle for Internal Democracy’’.
Banire said politics was too lucrative in the country, hence the occupation of the political space by opportunists rather than real leaders.
The APC legal adviser, therefore, called for the reversal of the situation, noting that it was bad for democracy and development.
“Politics is too attractive and lucrative in this country, and that is why you see people resigning from their big jobs to join politics.
“The attraction is just the money and not service. Everybody just wants to make the free money from politics.
“If we really want to promote our development and attain real democracy, we should discourage these things,’’ he said.
Banire criticised the jumbo earnings of members of the National Assembly, describing it as unfair.
He said the lawmakers’ remunerations were not commensurate with the services they rendered to the country.
Banire called for the adoption of a part-time legislature, saying that it would save costs and free up resources for development.
He lamented the poor attitude of leaders to development, saying that the disposition had stifled the country’s progress.
Banire said if the country must be counted among nations making progress, leaders must put the people and the nation above their personal interests.
“Over 75 per cent of our leaders think about themselves and not the nation.
“If the country must earn a place among nations making progress, leaders should serve the people and not themselves,’’ he said.
The APC national legal adviser said most of the existing political parties could not be aptly called parties as they lacked any ideology.
Banire said parties were better called platforms because they were serving interests rather than implementing any development-based agenda.
He said lack of ideology in parties was why politicians changed parties at will, saying that the situation threatened democracy.
“I do not believe we have political parties in the country yet, what we have are political platforms.
“This is because parties lack any clear ideology, like the Green party or the Socialist parties abroad with clear directions.
“That is why we have politicians cross carpeting and defecting from one party to another, to pursue personal interests.
“That was why a former National Publicity Secretary of a party defected to the APC immediately he lost in a governorship primary of his former party in Ekiti,’’ he recalled.
Banire said the country could not be said to have a democracy yet when parties lacked internal democracy.
He said that the absence of internal democracy in the parties was a major reason why the country had bad leaders.
The APC national executive who described the June 12 election as a watershed in the nation’s history, said the commemoration should be used to further the struggle for the entrenchment of real democracy.
Banire urged Nigerians to partake in the electoral process and make informed leadership choices.
Also speaking, a chieftain of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Lagos, Mr Owolabi Salis, said poor party democracy was a threat to good governance.
He said the problem of imposition of candidates and godfatherism had consistently thrown up bad leadership in the country.
Earlier, HURMA Executive Chairman, Mr Donald Olaitan, said the declaratiion of June 12 as Democracy Day was a victory for the will of the people.
Olaitan thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for the declaration and the accompanying honour bestowed on the winner of the election, Chief MKO Abiola.
“However, there are many unsung heroes of June 12; those men and women who were killed during the struggle.
“We will urge the Federal Government to find a way of honouring these heroes in recognition of their efforts for democracy,’’ he said
Olaitan said the main lesson of June 12 was free and fair elections and urged the government to ensure that elections in the country were credible and acceptable.