On April 26, 2017, Mrs. Felicia Bassey who is Deputy Speaker of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, hosted her constituents in Okobo.
Called Constituency Briefing / Empowerment event, the political fanfare was well publicized across Akwa Ibom State.
Ordinarily, it sounds like a reasonable thing to do. But, the new norm, as it has turned out to be, magnifies corruption and flagrantly abuses some democratic processes.
Constituency Briefing should never be seen as an empowerment (loot sharing in politics Nigeriana) platform. A Constituency Briefing should be just as it means: an account giving session to inform constituents about community centered projects, laws, leadership actions, future growth and development plans, etc.
Today, what is called Constituency Briefing in Akwa Ibom State is rooted in brazen corruption packaged as community empowerment. When some legislators give out the so-called empowerment, they do so as if from personal funds, never mentioning that it is from constituency allowances and other misappropriated fund meant for the people.
That we see legislators and government officials taking turns to “spray” praise singing supporters with excessive cash and other gifts is cause for serious concern. The sad thing is that many are openly embracing the ludicrous practice both as a political culture and new norm. They don’t ask from whence cometh the money shared. Of course, they know that it is and has always been from misappropriated funds.
To most Akwa Ibom persons, a “good politician” or a “good government official” is one who endlessly lavishes friends and supporters with money and gifts. It is a despicable mindset and political/democratic orientation for low-life persons that there can ever be!
I have seen and read about several democratic practices in contemporary civilizations, but never like this kind of open corruption turned into a political culture.