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MONEY POLITICS; WHY #NOT_TOO_YOUNG_TO_RUN WOULD FAIL.

MONEY POLITICS; WHY #NOT_TOO_YOUNG_TO_RUN WOULD FAIL.


By: Elder Comr. Kikiowo Ayoade D. 

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"Until Nigeria youths stand together, shun money politics and embrace politics of ideas and development, our emergence as political giants would continue to be a mirage." (Kikiowo, 2019)


It is an established fact that money politics is a global phenomenon, its trend in Nigeria’s electoral system is worrisome.

Buying and selling of votes has become an accepted norm in Nigeria’s political arrangement. 


Elections have thus become far too Expensive. This trickles down as it makes it hard, almost impossible for young people to afford its cost.  Clearing the field for richer individuals and political investors to make all the decisions and consequently all its benefit .

 

The piece hopes to expose how money politics harms young people aspiration for political emancipation.


Nigeria’s youth constitute more than 60 percent of the country’s population (NPC, 2006) and also represent 51.1 percent of voters (42,938,458) in the coming general election (INEC, 2019. Despite having the numerical strength, youth are rarely represented political institutions and processes such as Parliaments, political parties, elections, and public administrations.


In 2018, Samson Itodo, successfully championed a constituitional reform to change that and amplify young voices.

This reform, the #nottooyoungtoorun bill was applauded in all ramifications as signalling a new era for young people and Governance in Nigeria. That enthusiasm is dying today and the reason is Money Politics.


Lets deep dive, why was the bill important.  

1. Increased youth participation in politics and Governance.

2. Increased pool of capable individuals eligible to run for public office.

3. Deepening inter-generational dialogue and mentoring. 

4. Breaking the Hegemony of Political parties

5. Strengthens our Democracy


 One common factor, you would see here is Participation, if somehow participation declines, All the good the bill can achieve begins to unravel.

  Money politics discourages participation of people who due to economic wherewithal cannot afford successful elections, who would not pay patronage, who would not buy votes, who cannot compete with corruption fuelled party structures but can deliver ideas, capacity and a will to truly serve. This are people our democracy needs.


Here is the Irony, young people are also sabotaging this reality, Since 2015, the largest demography willing to sell their votes are within ages 18 - 40. We would rather pander to politicians or political structures that are endemic to the problems of today largely because of monetary inducement better referred to as stomach infrastructure than decide to chart a new course. The very recent drama with National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) is testament of the Fact


In conclusion, in a speech presented at a forum by the former president of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo, lamentation was on the dangers associated with uncontrolled use of money during elections. So much resource is deployed to capture effective offices, it is not difficult to see the correlation between politics and the potential for high level corruption. 


Amidst all this, the greatest losers are we, the ordinary people, those voters whose faith and investment in the system are hijacked and subverted because money, not their will, is made the determining factor in elections. Can we not move from politics of money and materialism to politics of ideas, issues and development (Obasanjo, 2003).

 

For a democratic nation, the electorates are slowly losing the power of Choice by exchanging it for money and other material things. This hugely distorts and hinders the idea of  free and fair election that ensures that electorates elect the leaders who are fit to govern them.


N.B:  The advocacy for more youth in politics and governance does not automatically guarantee good governance still it is progress. 

All youths cannot go into politics but , the competent ones with character and integrity must be encouraged and not dragged down by either their hopeless ness or the greed of their contemporaries.


 *Way forward* 


1. Passage of #NotTooPoorToRun bill that will deal with the reduction of party tickets/form prices and spending during election campaign.


2. Buying and selling of vote is an electoral offence, culprits should be brought to book and enforced disciplinary action on any violator.


3. Step up awareness for Young people on the laws regarding to selling and buying of vote,  and its impact.


4. Amendment of the Section 92, sub section 3 of the current electoral act " election expenses of political party shall be submitted to the commission in a separate audited return within 6months  after election" 


5. Poverty and Corruption needs to be tackled seriously in the country.


6. Drastic reduction of financial incentives attached to political offices, which have always been the cause of heavy investment during election.


Remember participation and inclusion is the single most important tool to either advance or kill our budding democracy,

You! choose.


The  voice of the people, is the voice of God!!!

God bless Ondo State!!!

God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria!!!


Kikiowo Ayoade D.  is the president, reformation movement of Nigeria(futa), a nation building strategist, a unionist, policy analyst and a student of the federal university of technology akure.

Email: kikiowoayoade@gmail.com , Twitter: @kikiowo ayoade, Facebook: / kikiowo ayoade, website: www.ay4president.com.ng

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