Dr. Louis Brown Ogbeifun

Accredited Mediator | Certified Professional Manager and Trainer in Workplace Conflicts


Corruption in Nigerian Politics: A Glimpse into the 2023 Election Horizon

As I peep into our 2023 political horizon, unless we change the trajectory, the political route we are about to follow will be more torturous than where we are coming from because our present-day entire system supports corruption. Sadly, there is nothing in sight to prove that anything has changed. Many online videos have surfaced with money being openly distributed to different groups in broad daylight and a brazen manner.

In 2022, we heard stories of dollarized delegates collecting money from multiple candidates for their votes in the party primaries. Some delegates were forced to return the money taken from those they did not vote for, while others smiled to the banks. Guess what? That money has either been finished or trapped in the vaults of banks. The bribe takers are all back to ground zero with fellow citizens queuing for fuel day and night for gas, queuing endlessly for ATMs to dispense a little back to us out of what we have in the banks, unable to purchase food because of the Naira crunch, parading up and down to buy from the same marketplace, Even with the hardships we advertently plunged ourselves into, we are still carrying on business as usual.

So, what moral right do citizens have to blame politicians for their woes when citizens are paid to perform their civic responsibilities? How can citizens, in all honesty, blame anyone that sold houses and took loans to bribe the way through to an elective office, and citizens expect those involved not to recoup their investments from the same political system?

In most cultures, once a man pays the bride price of his fiancée and completes the marriage rites, the bride’s family name automatically changes to that of the groom. That is precisely what happens in the first phase of our electoral value chain. The failure of our systems starts from the very foundation of our electoral process, that is, choosing candidates for various offices. Nigerians lose their first right to elect the best candidate because more than 80% of elected officeholders are selected, anointed, and sponsored by their godfathers. Once selected and anointed, the next phase is to impose the candidate on every person and structure using the power of the Naira. After that, the godfather would paint the political turf red with the Naira and then settle the political pipelines and every group, which ab initio have price tags. Some could sponsor as many as six Governors, scores of assembly members, etc. The bribery involves youth organizations, the elderly, elites, the poor, etc. These guys forget that a hunter that uses a whole goat as bait on a trap cannot be aiming to catch a rat.

This bribery takes so many shapes. People organize themselves into support groups and pay courtesy calls to many candidates. One expects that the people paying the visit should pay for their logistics. NO! The candidates pick up the bills and also dispense cash as thank you. Are citizens looking for genuine leaders not supposed to pick up such bills to support their candidates? At night, the same group moves under cover of darkness to another candidate and does the same thing. What is that called if not corruption?

Just like the exchange of the adoption of a new name after the payment of the bride price, citizens automatically exchange their rights for the emerging autocracy masquerading in democratic robes. In a few years, the selected leader in the apron of an elected leader becomes stupendously wealthy or more affluent, and the citizens are regressively rendered prostrate and powerless. The money that would have been used to improve hospitals, schools, roads, and infrastructure finds its way into private pockets, and the citizens run back to the powerful person they sponsored to help pay children’s NECO and WAEC fees, supporting medical bills and funerals, etc. That political leader becomes the government instead of the other way around. Meanwhile, the money given to buy votes would usually dry up even before the official’s swearing or induction. The compromised citizens are back to base, looking for anything to eat.

Only we can change the narratives. Unfortunately, for this next election, I do not see anything different. The morning shows the day. Many things are happening, and citizens have dug and done themselves in. Again, I pray to be proved wrong when this election is over.

Grace and peace!!!