Politicians’ Love For Money As The Root Of All Undemocratic Practices

There is no denying the fact that there is a growing population of Nigerians who always take it with a grain of salt when they hear politicians during campaign ahead of an election promising that when voted for that they would deliver better “dividends of democracy” to the people than their opponents in the contest. They may have the best of intentions, but people who have not spent time working within extant bureaucracy rarely understand the complexities of meeting the yearnings of the people, particularly in this era of partisanship that is inherent in the retrogressive phenomenon called “Godfatherism”.

Attaining real governance takes bold leadership with parties willing to work together for the common good and people in government who understand the levers of bureaucracy and how to make them work, and a good bit of luck.

Without any smidgeon of hyperbole, not few Nigerians are of the notion that democracy, since its inception in 1999, has not worked as then anticipated; to them, if it ever works, it is for the politician who have by each passing political tenure used it as a pedestal of corruptly enriching themselves. To put it aptly in this context, it is not working for the populace but for the political elites. Can this view be pooh-poohed? No! The reason cannot be farfetched as democracy which revolves around the people, going by its definition which says “Democracy is government of the people, by the people and for the people.

To Plato, he thought it was a terrible system, a prelude to tyranny, giving power to selfish and dangerous demagogues. Watching what is happening these days to democracy in Nigeria, it is hard to disagree with Plato. Democracy, since it was embraced in 1999, appears to have been producing an abundance of incompetent and dishonest political leaders, who exploit people’s credulity and prejudices and thrive on emotion-driven discourse and fake news about their achievements.

To say that the foregoing views explain the challenges that have since 1999 been confronting Nigeria’s democratic architecture cannot be said to be false or exaggerated, even as it cannot be said that there is no country in the world that does not have issues with its political process. Such country absolutely exists. However, Nigeria’s political issues pale in comparison to such country as politicians’ love for money in this part of the world is fast unrivaled. A Christian friend of this writer once jocularly rephrased Apostle’s Paul teaching in 1st Timothy chapter 6 verse 10 that says “For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil…” to “The love of money by politicians in Nigeria is the root of all undemocratic practices.”

I must confess that his joke no doubt inspired the title of this piece. To say that the title is apt in this context cannot be said to be an incongruity as all wrongdoing been perpetrated by politicians since Nigeria adopted democracy as its machinery of governance in 1999 can be traced to an excessive attachment to material wealth by the politicians. To buttress this view, the media space is replete with news stories and analysis that bother on corruption which is no doubt fueled by the love for money.

At this juncture, one may be tempted to ask, “What is it that politicians love most that is by each passing day engendering undemocratic practices across the levels of the local governments, the states; including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), and the federal government? Without any iota of exaggeration, the answer is unarguably “Politicians’ love for money”, and the phenomenon has made ideal democratic governance to attain since 1999. It is expedient to say that the book of 1 Samuel chapter 16 verse 7 says the LORD seeth not as a man seeth, for man looketh on the outward appearance but the LORD looketh on the heart”. From the perspective of the foregoing scripture, in politics, the electorate tend to cast votes for candidates based on their outward appearances.

Many a politician had in the past appeared to voters with pleasing mien only for the politician to reveal through his seemingly anti-people activities and utterances while in office, that he or she is a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

The electorate have been misled by politicians who deceitfully used their quiet disposition or their achievements in their various professions or businesses as their Unique Selling Point (USP) during election campaigns only for them to fail in meeting the people’s expectations during their political tenure. Their activities in most cases are diametrically opposed to the expectations of the electorate. As it is, it seems most politicians only go to the corridors of power to perform the opposite of what they are voted for. They are voted to serve the nation, regrettably most of them are not serving the nation but their pockets and bank accounts. What a shame! It still boils down to the love of money.

As it is now, it appears most of them are in government to impoverish the people and diminish the wealth of our blessed country.

Laughable enough, when a typical politician is interviewed in order to ascertain from him what actually motivated him to leave his profession or business for politics, the most likely response is always “I want to serve my people or my people dragged me into politics, or I have been involved in politics right from student union days”.

Sincerely, most politicians have used any of the above or similar responses to respond to media interviews when asked what motivated them to join the political race. Any of the responses may appear truthful and logical on the surface, but when they are deeply and properly analyzed, it would be discovered that they are spurious. The underlying reason they joined politics is to make money. I stand to be corrected but without pretense we all know it is the truth.

Nigerian founding fathers, such as Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Sir Ahmadu Bello, Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa and others took their time off from their careers only to serve the people not because of the money they would get from politics. They actually sacrificed all they had for politics. Today, politics is played to make money and not to serve the nation. This is the bitter truth. We need to have a rethink. Otherwise we may not be able to get it right for a long time to come. It is a shame to recall that democracy is now in its 21st year in Nigeria.

The question now is, what should be the motivating factor behind a person’s political pursuit? Money or desire to serve the people? I know the answer would have been the desire to serve, but in reality it is not service but money. I repeat again, we should have a rethink on why we are in politics, otherwise we can never get it right in the art of politics and governance. In as much as we are today seeing the game of politics as an act of making money, the Christians in politics should remember the word of God in Proverbs chapter 13 verse 11 that says “Wealth gotten by vanity shall be diminished: but he that gathereth by labor shall never decrease”.

Against the foregoing backdrop, it is very obvious that Politicians’ love for money has remained the root of all undemocratic practices

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Articles by Isaac Asabor