Nigerians worry about worsening monetization of politics

“People of questionable character use the money to buy their place in various elective positions.”

Many Nigerians have expressed their dissatisfaction with the speed with which electoral processes have been linked to the use of money and other values ​​in recent times.

A cross section of those who spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday expressed dissatisfaction with the development.

Peter Kua, a businessman in Makurdi, Benue state, said the way money is used in politics has become very worrying.

“People of questionable character use the money to buy their place in various elective positions.

“It is very sad that the masses are mortgaging their rights and the future of their children because of peanuts.

“We encourage those people who brandish or throw money at us to take advantage of our gullibility to further impoverish us,” Kua said.

Also, Tersoo Ade, a taxi driver in Makurdi, appealed to the National Assembly for the nation’s interest in adopting direct primaries as the only mode of party primaries to check the influence of moneybags. .

Mr. Ade pointed out that if direct primaries were passed and enshrined in electoral law, it would go a long way in saving the Nigerian political system from total collapse.

Corroborating Mr Ade, Jacob Terwase lamented that if nothing was done about this ugly development, only moneybags could win elections in the country.

“Without money, one cannot make any significant movement in a political party, even if he was an angel, because the stakeholders always expect transportation costs whether they are visited or the aspirants visit them.

“If something hasn’t been done about this, only the highest bidders will choose the party tickets.

“Brother, money has completely destroyed our politics. Just look at what happened in the last PDP primaries here in Makurdi, where state House of Assembly aspirants offered every delegate 1 million naira.

“We even have a situation where a House of Representatives contender was offering 1.5 million naira but still lost because his opponent offered more,” Mr Terwase said.

Another resident, Charity Tyolaha, said that for the country to produce a credible leader, serious efforts must be put in place to mitigate the use of money in politics.

Ms Tyolaha also said the direct form of primaries remained the best option and urged stakeholders to go for it.

She said that if direct primaries were adopted as the mode of primaries, many people in leadership positions would not be there.

The Campaign for Democracy, Defense of Human Rights and Civil Society in Niger has therefore called on the National Assembly to come up with tough laws to discourage the increasing monetary policy of politicians in the country.

Abdullahi Jabi, the group’s chairman, said: “The amended electoral law of 2022 is not strong enough to tackle the many corruptions plaguing our electoral system.

“Therefore, it is necessary for the National Assembly to come up with strict laws that will reduce the current huge amount of money that a politician has to spend to win elected office.

“The same law should control bank details and expenses of political parties and their aspirants/candidates.”

Mr Jabi said the measure would encourage responsible Nigerians who wish to serve the people to participate in politics.

He said responsible Nigerians who wish to serve the country have been denied this opportunity because of their financial strength due to the increased monetization of the regime.

“For example, ordinary Nigerians cannot afford to buy expression of interest forms from their various political parties because the money for such forms is high, meant only for the wealthy.

“Our politics still remain the exclusive rights of our politicians who have embezzled public funds and their families.

“These people still want to stay in power at all costs because they have turned our national treasury into their family business,” he said.

The group’s chairman described the party’s ongoing primary elections as disgraceful and disgraceful to the country.

“Today the delegates have become rich overnight from the money offered to them by corrupt politicians, some of them get 15-20 million naira each.

“This is what is happening now in the primary elections held so far, it is sad and it is not a good development for our country,” he said.

He enjoined Nigerians to oppose this group of politicians otherwise they would continue to perpetuate themselves in power and plant other family members before leaving the scene.

According to him, Hamzat Lawal, the executive director of Connected Development, a civil society organization, called on all anti-corruption agencies to step up their games to control the rise of monetary policy in Nigeria.

Mr Lawal, an anti-corruption campaigner and founder of Follow the Money, said that the fact that “monetary policy continues to set a precedent in Nigeria, it clearly means that anti-corruption agencies are not doing enough.

“If anti-corruption agencies did enough, people with bags of money would have been afraid to use the money to lure or entice voters to their winnings.

“If we’re going to get it right, we have to embrace our value system which has been eroded because we’re trading our entitlements for a meager one-day allowance and suffering scarcity for the four or eight years the candidate will be in office. .

“It is truly sad that the politics of money has plagued the entire electoral process in Nigeria.

“Interestingly, civil society organizations have deployed observers who are monitoring and documenting the whole process of party primaries and the upcoming general elections.

“We will make our findings known to the public, including international communities,” he said.

Nathaniel Abaniwo, coordinator of the Kogi NGO Network (KONGONET), said monetary policy has become endemic in the Nigerian political system and “is not healthy for our political landscape and economy”.

He blamed part of the problem on the failure of government at all levels to muster and imbibe the political will to reduce the cost of governance and ensure transparency and accountability at all levels.

Mr. Abaniwo called for adequate involvement of anti-corruption agencies in proper monitoring of the electoral process at all stages while ensuring the prosecution of errant politicians and the electorate.

A retired farmer and civil servant, Hafsat Ibrahim, said the politics of money in Kogi deprived credible and God-fearing politicians of opportunities to represent the suffering electorate.

She regretted that the very people or bodies that should help quell the threat are deeply embedded in it and that only God can bring change to save the suffering masses.

“My concern and pain is that it is women like me and our young people, who are the largest voting population, who are vulnerable to this game of monetary policy,” she said.

Olugbenga Ademola, lawyer and politician, stressed the need for government and relevant stakeholders to address anomalies.

He warned that “if nothing drastic is done against this worrying trend, only those who have the money to spend to fraudulently buy their way into the polling stations in the 2023 general election.

“There are still gaps to be filled in the Election Act of 2002, 2006 and 2010, such as Section 91(9) which states that no individual or other entity shall donate more than one million naira to a candidate.

“Furthermore, Section 93(2)(b) gives political parties leverage to receive unlimited amounts above the threshold, which is contradictory.

“Each party is required to record and maintain the name and address of any person or entity that contributes money or assets exceeding N1 million.

“Some candidates seized on the loophole to technically overstep the limit by funneling the extra money to their party.

“Other donors have also taken advantage of the provision to donate funds amounting to billions of naira, on behalf of several anonymous friends.”

Mr. Ademola noted that now is the time to reduce the importance of monetary policy and push for robust party manifestos with a “human face” that can offer lasting solutions to the most pressing needs of the people.

He then urged INEC to rise to the occasion and prosecute anyone found guilty of breaching political finance regulations to serve as a lesson to others.

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