MEET FRANK OSHANUGOR
By Frank Oshanugor
Obviously irked by the humongous level of primitive accumulation amongst Nigeria’s political office holders in contemporary times, the Convener of The True Democrats (TTD), Mr. Bob Clifford Ofunne has declared that Nigeria, like some other countries with selfish leadership would remain undeveloped if nothing positive is done to reverse the trend.
According to the activist cum Real Estate consultant who holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science & International Relations from the University of Abuja and Diploma in Statistics & Computer Science from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, it is quite disheartening that leading political parties like the People’s Democratic Party,(PDP) and All Progressives Congress (APC) would charge as much as N40million and N20million respectively and more for a presidential aspirant to obtain the party’s nomination form.
He wondered what the contestants would do for their constituents when eventually they get into office, if not attempt to corruptly enrich themselves and recoup whatever they expended.
The TTD chieftain bemoaned the prevailing level of ostentatious life style of our leaders many of whom have built houses with billions of naira particularly in Abuja to the detriment of people in their constituencies, a good number of whose children are out of school due to poverty.
Ofunne explained that The True Democrat as a political pressure group was founded ostensibly to show that if many Nigerians agree that we can practice what he calls true democracy, it is possible to achieve it.
His only worry is that many Nigerians are living with stereotyped belief that certain things are not achievable”because they have been wired to think the way they are thinking. However, I must say that nobody develops with a stereotyped belief just as no country develops without citizens who show integrity and love for their country.”
On what motivated him into convening TTD as a political pressure group, Ofunne who hails from Delta State but residing in Abuja has this to say: “I have been an activist of sort from childhood. I do not like cheating but like truth. First and foremost, I was the convener of 3Gs; namely Goodluck, Good Governance and I saw what transpired. I have looked at the past 23 years. The PDP has stayed in office for about 16 years while APC has been in power for about seven years now.
“When I looked at the kind of democracy we have, I found out that people who are practicing other kind of democracy all over the world that have succeeded, it is not about the democracy they practice but it is about the people who practice the democracy. It is people who practice the kind of democratic system that will bring about development.”
“I have weighed the balances and saw that what we are doing is not democracy. Otherwise, how can the Governor of a state do things at his whims and caprices without being checkmated by another institution of the state. Most of the state legislative assemblies we have are mere rubber stamp bodies just like what obtains at the National Assembly where the country’s president cannot be dutifully checked.”
Speaking in an exclusive interview with AtlanticNewsonline on Thursday, Ofunne whose idea birthed TTD recently, said his group has emerged among other things, to checkmate the increasing level of unpatriotism, greed, corruption and selfishness that permeate the entire political space in Nigeria.
The pressure group convener emphasised that he was prompted to do something different, hence he conceived the idea of TTD with a belief that if 25million to 45million Nigerians across the various states of the Federation can share in the vision of the group, there would be a paradigm shift that would result in a people friendly political system and process.
“We want to see a country where seeking political office is done cheaply with many qualified candidates vying for positions and not denied same due to poverty.
“Our group; TTD wants to enthrone a system where poverty is highly reduced with all people of school age receiving quality education which is a pre-requisite to economic development.”
For now TTD according to Ofunne is fast increasing in membership which is free for people who share in the vision and mission of the group. As membership is open for members of the public, intending members have been urged to log into the group’s website for more information on registration process. The site is www.ttdemocrat.org/rn/.