Three issues first. First, a blog is meant to be a sort of precis of ones thoughts on any matter. I pratically always struggle to summarize my thought in such a way that people will be adequately informed of my position without any misconceptions. So I end up leaving much to say out of my discusson. But thankfully, others usually cover up such yawning gaps by their intelligent contributions to the discourse. Second, I usually feel incompetent to write on issues that I have not been an inside player. This is a valid stance because experience can not be traded for something else. Third, I hate being emotional in my discussions, because it numbs the senses and walks the path of darkness when seeking to address crucial points of human interests. However, despite these cautionary dispositions of mine, something does overrule them and behoves upon me the urgent responsibility to act or at least make my voice heard. Commonsense is what casts aside any inadequacies we feel about making a contribution in whatever capacity we can. It is out of this self same “uncommon” commonsense that I will try to highlight my arguments on the evil relationship between money and politics in the Nigerian context.
If indeed money answers all things, there is one thing it will always fail to buy, and that is credibility. The credibility of Nigerian politics has been absolutely mired by the role money plays. Not that money is evil in itself, but its use in the pursue of power has broken the fragile conscience of even the youngest breed of the Nigerian citizen. Prior to an era of wanton and reckless showmanship of mammonism, politics was about a good and revered name. I remember the Aikiwes, the Awolowos, the Eyo Itas, the Enahoros, the Margaret Ekpos, and those in their exclusive class. These men were not fabulously rich, but with a good name and an undying passion to deliver their people from the shackles of colonialism and imperialism they fought their way up, and cast a spell on the British oadministrators with their fine rhetoric and sound arguments. Oh that we should regain the virtues of these children of our land, when the even air produced an innocence that created a desire for mutual benefit accross the land.
But from the adventure of the military into our civility, we have only witnessed a gradual putrefaction of our patriotism and the seeds of corruption being sown in the soil of a strong emotional attachment to money. money became the only way men could secure their living and how to get this was the predominace of thought. The lives of mere men became stepping stones and ladders for devilish souls to climb to the ungodly heights of plucking public wealth while their commodious appetite became insatiable. Yes, in certainty, many were drawn into this fallen nature and the society suffered for it. A necessary trajectory which events took was the subsequent urgency for men to secure their territory, and political power was the only way people could afford to either enhance their aquisitions or protect their purchases from the malls of corruption.
Today, what we witness is the blatant hijacking of the Nigerian politics by self serving money bags, who wield their lilliputian intellect to swindle Nigerians of their right to decent living. They spray their ill-gotten wealth on the political terrain to lumber their way into political office and commit more offense against Nigeria. What can be done? Nothing. As long as INEC places a heavy price tag on those seeking public office, money will always mes the process up. As long as the regulation requires a huge monetary commitment by those who want to serve, our system will hardly be rid of dubious men. All that this has produced is more and more business politicians, who invest money to gain power and reap a harvest of funds for the public good. Did I hear someone just remind me of the concept of god-fatherism played out by Chris Uba and Dr. Ngige? That was the messiest evidence of politics of trade by barter going o in Nigeria. Chris Uba even had the effontery to declare war on the Ngige government because his monetary investments were being threatened. What insult on the Nigerian people. Nothing was done and these men stil walk the streets of the nations as though they owe us no explanation.
Oh…c’mon!!! $16 Billion for the power sector mismanaged? I can hardly breathe! Siemens bribed our government officials?? What’s happening here?? Iyabo Obasanjo did what???? You mean almost all the governors paid their way in there??? NOw I need a gas tank to breathe!! I am a Nigerian and our politics is choking me!!! Who will rescue us and divorce our politics from money. It is impossible to marry the two and not expect the twin children of corruption and poverty. We will not be delivered from this imbroglio and uncanny men will continue to dominate our politics and jump on tables to trade punches in place of decent positive argument communication. I am raising this discussion not because I intend to provide answers by myself, for that would be sheer mockery on my part. But I do this to stimulate a viable discussion that an generate the necessary consensus to press hard upon our leaders to absolutely regulate if not remove enirely the element of money from our politics. Like I said earlier, I still want to pour out, but I must cease here to make the rest of this discussion possible.