Money Politics: Nigeria’s delicate delicacy, By Abiodun Komolafe
I have written a few weeks back about the lamentation of the 14th Emir of Kano, Alhaji Lamido Sanusi II. However, the critical mass of Nigerians still seems to be going about their daily social activities as if nothing frightening is in the offing. Indeed, something frightening is in the offing! In reality, similar situations that are indeed worse than what Sanusi pointed our attention to are in multiple ways happening all around us. While it may be good enough to pretend as if they are not there, the earlier Nigerians paid attention to them before they snowball into a tornado of unimaginable cataclysms, the better for the health of our country.
In the First Republic, for example, there was the issue of corruption and the influence of money. However, it was not as pervasive as we have it now. And there are reasons for that! First is the phenomenal surge in commitment and political participation. The percentage of the population that was actively involved in politics at the time was not as alarming as it is today. Secondly, people contributed money – as members and co-owners of the party – to finance party activities. Nowadays, reverse is the case! Political parties are formed and people are invited to join. And, the party, through its co-owners, sponsor candidates, finance the day-to-day running of the party and determine what happens in the party. And each ‘party owner’ must be a moneybag. Otherwise, the party will not fly!
From the Second Republic, money politics approached a different, dangerous dimension; and only God knows where Nigeria is now headed. Today, if you ask anybody who is a member of a political party in Nigeria how much he or she has contributed to the purse of his or her party, the response will certainly shock you. That is why carpet-crossing thrives; and why commitment to party ideology and manifestoes is superficial at best. This is a very critical challenge but, unfortunately, it has not been addressed because Nigerians are not paying attention!
When we talk about money politics, we are talking about how money influences and affects our political engagements and participation. To be sure, a robust understanding of the basics of the negative effects of money-politics gives meaning and intelligibility to the greed and Modus Operandi of most governments. When people, who are apathetic to democratic ideals, development and Public Administration, come together as a formidable force, it then becomes problematic for the society. Most political gladiators and public servants are aware of this, but, unrepentantly, always acquiesce. Thus, impunity comes in; accountability becomes a problem; and transparency is a non-issue! There and then, party hierarchies will remain what they are because people will not be responsible to the party but only to their bellies. Once this happens, it goes back to what Sanusi has already addressed because money politics ensures that people begin to have a feeling or belief that “money answereth all things.”
More than just talking, there is a malaise invented by the military; and that is the demystification of the power of the political party in Nigeria. For lack of a better word, it was nothing but a muzzling of the social institutions in the country such that the military now appears as a Leviathan. Of course, this ‘might-is-right’ succession mentality succeeded in crippling that aspect of our social institutions; and all eyes could see it. Sadly, we are yet to recover from it! Not even in this incredibly complicated clime where good is repaid with evil and loyalty is rewarded with abandonment. Anyway, that’s a story for another day!
In 2016, Donald Trump won America’s presidential election because of certain factors which the Democrats didn’t see; which, again, they are yet to figure out! But Leon Trotsky saw it! Marx Weber saw it! Anthonio Gramsci also saw it! These men are majorly conflict theorists whose works revolve around peace in order to have prosperity! Put in concise terms, the common denominator, as we speak, is poverty. That the people are hungry is no doubt a minus for any party that claims to be people-centric in its affairs. Forget the wattages of excuses and messianic propositions that are only worthy of utopian solutions. The frightening truth is that poverty is endemic in Nigeria and Nigerians have existential needs! Although there is an unrestricted free flow of cash in the country, majority of the population are cash-strapped; which explains why politicians move from house-to-house, on the eve of elections, to exact oaths from prospective voters.
All said, can there be an end to money politics in Nigeria or has this debilitating cancer, currently devouring Nigeria’s political firmament, come to stay? Well, when the people wake up in the morning without an assured way of life sustenance, it then means that the real issues have not been addressed. It is the same reason a hungry voter will continue to compromise his or her conscience. Unfortunately, ‘owners of Nigeria’ have refused to listen to the ground with a view to legislating against this oddity of crass materialism and naira-centred politics. Again, that is why the toilers are starving only for the stealers to continue to act as if the people don’t matter in their scheme of things. So, until we have effective equity in the control and distribution of the commonwealth of this country, the balance between life chances and economic prosperity of the majority will remain very thin and threatened. Until issues relating to economic unfreedom are dealt with, there will neither be peace nor prosperity.
Basically, if the critical mass of the society is saying that an election has no meaning, such an election will not only lose credibility, the resulting government will also give life to illegitimacy. Once an election lacks legitimacy, the emerging government automatically lacks authority. And the lack of authority will always be in constant conversation with chaos! If a formed government does not derive its oxygen from the active support and backing of the critical mass of the society, the possibility of that government collapsing is, without doubt, very high. Jokes apart, it is like a suicide mission! Remi Fani Kayode, Adegoke Adelabu and Ladoke Akintola understood that precept. Lamidi Adedibu only came later to expand the horizon of the philosophy! And that’s the danger of what we are discussing here!
May the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world, grant us peace in Nigeria!
*KOMOLAFE writes in from Ijebu-Jesa, Osun State, Nigeria (email@example.com
Gov. Mai Mala Buni: Stabilizer of Yobe State @ 52
Isa Ali Pantami, a near perfect fit for 2023 permutations
By Hashim Suleiman
Let me refer you to Uncle Dele Momodu’s Pendulum of Saturday, 26th October 2019 wherein he professed about Tinubu’s destiny over 2019 presidency. He pointed out reasons why he felt Tinubu has a date with destiny regarding becoming the president in 2023. One of the key reasons which I also agree with is Tinubu’s capabilities of identification and management of critical human resource. This happens to be one of the formidable strategies which has eluded a lot of Nigerian politicians who despite their humongous resources cannot command credible followership and loyalty.
We witnessed the examples in how lots of them who hitherto predicted electoral outcomes could not do so in 2019. This therefore makes such suggestion by Dele Momodu a credible one.
Going from the above, every reasonable Nigerian especially politicians, pundits and strategists will understand that the race has begun in earnest and whatever strategies that anyone is willing to employ must have started or should start now.
It is becoming clearer perhaps, that the 2023 presidency for APC will most likely be a South West affair. The only thing that was not detailed in the Pendulum was the ‘How’ of the wishes that Bola Tinubu becomes the president.
Again, while the Pendulum has given us a reason to understand Bola Tinubu has an interest in the 2023 presidency, it is pertinent to note that other eminent people from the APC South West are gearing up to test the waters as it is their rights to do so.
But in all of it, the most important part of the South West strategy must be about how to manage the area of a northern Vice-Presidential Candidate considering that the PDP is sitting at the corner and waiting.
So, me and my friend Jamil Yusuf, were having a conversation over the weekend about the Pendulum, Bola Tinubu, APC, PDP and South West, we both agreed that the choice for a northern Vice President was the critical of the choices any of the candidates had to play if they were to make it through even though the possibilities are pretty high. We mentioned and analyzed a couple of them, but the one that sat most with the analysis was Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami.
Let me then help summarize why the analysis felt his choice was going to be a back breaker. Firstly, the main and first issue would be Muslim – Muslim ticket and we felt that had been demystified a lot since Buhari has not been able to Islamize Nigeria in 5 years and with no iota of intention to do so. Remember also that Deaconess Senator Oluremi Tinubu is a top member of the Redeemed Christian Church of God which makes Christianity to be a part of Tinubu’s home and life.
The other candidates may even be Christians or Muslims who have spouses in similar situations like Oluremi Tinubu. These issues and more could easily surmount that challenge.
Secondly, we know how young Nigerians have been clamoring for a young and digital person who understand twitter, Facebook and the likes to be in the steering for the management of Nigeria and this man has been the first person who has transformed digital from rhetoric to reality through the transformation of the Ministry of Communications to Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy. If young Nigerians who constitute over 70% of the voting population are serious, they would quickly latch on to this and even mobilize others to join. He has always and continues to be one of the top people who has acted severally on issues regarding complains on some issues associated with his ministry through the twitter with the latest being the suspension of the planned charges by telecom operators over usage of the USSD service.
Then again, we analyzed the area of capacity and found out that the man had been focused on the digital part of economy which was the most critical tool needed to even be a better Nigeria’s Vice President since it was the primary assignment of the office.
Imagine a digitalized process of economic activity in Nigeria, this would mean increased data and revenues for the utilization of the public good. Analysis of the opinions of the public has showcased him to be the most popular of the Next Level ministers for the most positive reasons related to practical capacity and capability.
Talking about popularity, I am sure even you reading this know about Isa Pantami and especially about his capabilities and ascendances.
Our analysis is usually based on research and you are encouraged to study about the spread in the composition of his allies from time till now. he has grown to command respect amongst people owing to his sociability, integrity, capacity and good PR. Remember that big political names have continued to reduce to matter in the political cycle of Nigeria, sustained strategy and goodwill does lately.
To sum the matter up for now, it is important to write about this in order to emphasize the importance of strategy over our actions and inactions.
The 2023 race has become one that will usher Nigeria into the descent to political maturity and that will mean that every minute from now on matters as far as critical strategy is concerned.
The 2023 presidency will be very difficult to predict up until the day of elections. In view of this, the principals are further reminded about the importance of critical strategy as we edge close and as for my fellow Nigerians, let us brace up for a pretty interesting political game going forward. You will hear from me again.
– Suleiman, wrote from Abuja, Nigeria and can be reached via: firstname.lastname@example.org
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