Drug barons and other fraudsters in Nigeria are desperate for public office, not for opportunity to serve the people but for opportunity to eat. Politics has thus become a big business and is currently being dominated in Nigeria by unfit and improper persons who want to escape arrest for involvement in unwholesome activities.
These observations were made by the Governor-Elect of Anambra State, Professor Chukwuma Soludo, while speaking on: ‘The Purpose and Price of Disruptive Change’ at the 2021 Pioneer Class Graduation Ceremony of the School of Politics, Policy and Governance, SPPG, founded by former Minister of Education, Oby Ezekwesili, in Abuja on Saturday.
“Indeed, Africa needs a new liberation movement. The first struggle was liberation from the colonial masters. The second will be liberation from rentier politics and politicians. For me, there is almost a sense of nostalgia, recalling the mission and accomplishments of our founding fathers, especially as we contemplate the world without oil in Nigeria.
“Much of the existing social order is founded on competition for, and distribution of, rents. Oil and the easy money that came with it destroyed the social fabric and the elite created new institutions and political structures to maximize their gains. As the noose tightened globally on other rentier/criminal enterprises such as drug trafficking or internet scamming, many of the barons flocked into politics as the next easy alternative.
“Politics has become big business. Appointment or election into public office is seen largely as an opportunity to ‘eat’ rather than a call to selfless service. There is an army of rich (big men) who have never worked or done any productive work in their life and believe that it is their right to expect something for nothing.
“The tiny less than one per cent elite have a stranglehold on the public purse, sprinkling occasional crumbs to the citizens as ‘dividends of democracy’. The citizens themselves either out of helplessness or acquiescence join the party, expecting the politicians to dole out pittance out of public treasury as charity.
“Youth unemployment, insecurity, poverty, inflation, etc threaten the social fabric. Migrating to a post-oil world of 4th Industrial revolution and sustainable prosperity will require massive disruptive transformations and restoration of a productive social contract.
“Such disruptions will come at great costs, and could indeed be dangerous.
“Fixing politics requires talent and skills. But these won’t be enough. It won’t happen by lone wolves working in silos. It requires new developmental organisations – organisations/teams of believers, driven by defined ideology, purpose and character,” he submitted.
Professor Chukwuma Soludo, former Governor of Nigeria’s Centrla Bank further called on more Nigerians to participate in local politics in order to secure the future of Nigeria, stressing that fixing Nigeria and its politics can be better achieved from the subnational units, the local governments, the villages, the clans, instead of the concentration of efforts at the Federal Capital Territory.
“If you have something to offer, go and run for office. Win or lose, your participation will add something to the process”, he stressed.