NigerSeason of money rain for delegates and empty promises
By Jonathan Nda-Isaiah
As the political parties move to beat the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) deadline of June 3 for their primaries, aspirants have intensified their move to woo delegates.
Most of the aspirants, especially the presidential hopefuls, have been cross-crossing the country selling their plans to the delegates. Unless you are living under a rock, you should know that in Nigeria, this is the time for money rain for delegates. Our kind of politics in this country is a different brand. A delegate brands an aspirant a nice person if he/she drops something after every meeting.
In other developed climes, when a candidate is going around to country to woo delegates in the presidential elections, he tells them about his plans of improving the security and economy of the country. But in Nigeria, those things don’t matter. Some of them will tell you, “na economy we go chop?”. Every country has its peculiar way. Our way in this country is that the person who drops more money will get the ticket to his party. The problem of some of the presidential hopefuls right now is the primaries, once they scale that hurdle, it is easier to sell their candidature to Nigerians.
Sadly, moneybags have hijacked our electoral process and I think it will take years for us to change that orientation.
I saw one social media post recently about people who have made it in life — fuel attendants during scarcity, food ushers in a wedding, and delegates during a presidential election.
Funny enough the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have adopted the indirect primary mode for their presidential primaries.
Most of the presidential aspirants were promised votes in all the states they have been to. The delegates are like prostitutes now. The delegates will collect money from all the aspirants, and at the end of the day, they will give their votes to the highest bidder. One of the presidential aspirants told delegates he has no money to give them. Maybe he thinks he is in America. This is Nigeria. This is the time some delegates will buy houses and lands. This happens once in four years and please allow them to milk the candidates. This is their time to shine.
I always have a good laugh when I hear some of the promises of the presidential hopefuls. Some of them are in the ruling party and I ask if you have all these ideas on how to move the country forward, why not give them to President Muhammadu Buhari, after all, it’s a win for your party.
The next President of Nigeria will inherit banditry and terrorism. Truth be told I don’t see how banditry will end in this country in the next five years. Kidnapping is the new oil well and it will be hard for some of these people to stop. Like Kaduna state governor Nasir el-Rufai said: how do you expect someone earning millions from kidnapping to go back to cattle husbandry where he earns thousands in months. Someone that has tasted easy millions will be hard to convince to go back to a life of struggling.
What is now the solution? Improving the economy and well-being of the common man? Improve power supply and standard of living? Of course, these are ways but it will take time. Most Nigerians are not even willing to change. No doubt, the economy of the country thrives on corruption and anyone who tries to change that will be met with stiff opposition by all.
I think going into 2023, our biggest problem is insecurity and the economy, and I don’t think it will improve in some time to come. I hope I am wrong on this. What’s the solution to this? I think we need to start electing quality people at all levels. When we have people with capacity and integrity in the state house of assemblies, local governments, governors, national assembly, and presidency, the road to El dorado will be shorter and faster.