Politicians For Sale, Voters For Auction! By Tola Adeniyi
“Ogede ree olobo yo! Olobo [okobo] yo nii’Korodu o!”[This is banana the ultimate delight of the eunuch! The Ikorodu eunuch!] That was the common marketing slogan of the banana hawker in those days when banana was considered as aphrodisiac and was potent enough to cure the eunuch. There were several other marketing slogans in those days of old, and even up till now. “E wo’ju obe, k’e mu’yon!” [Take a look at my soup and grab your wrap of pounded yam!] was another popular marketing slogan which perhaps is very appropriate in the marketing of purchasable politicians of today’s Nigeria.
The ‘come and chop’ politics that has been in the vogue since 1999 has reached its crescendo in the present climate of politics of the stomach which serves the selfish interests of both the politician and the voter. Politics has become the most lucrative business in Nigeria today, rivalled perhaps by the prosperity factions of the Church and the Mosque. And the leading entrepreneurs in the politics industry have perfected their marketing strategies.
Politics entrepreneurs start their industry by creating a political party. Thereafter they scout for like minds; usually greedy money bags, influence peddlers and loud mouthed media practitioners. Thereafter they acquire office spaces, even if it is just one room, in the 36 states of the country plus one in the Federal Capital Territory. The next stage is Party registration. As soon as the entrepreneur is armed with certificate from the relevant authority, he launches his new business with fan fare. A political party, like a new prosperity Church is born.
Nigeria is awash with political parties mostly pretenders as opposed to the genuine. And because the space is littered with mushroom political parties there is cutthroat struggle to gain dominance. All sorts of marketing strategies are brought into play like the slogan for selling banana as a cure for erectile dysfunction.
With politics industry now in its advanced stage, major entrepreneurs of political parties have set up sales offices throughout the country for the single purpose of buying and selling politicians. Attractive incentives are dangled before prospective politicians that are on sale. Incidentally, in an industry devoid of any ideology or philosophy or manifesto, every politician is sellable and buyable.
Purchased politicians are like serfs of old. Most of them have no mind of their own, they stand for nothing and they are usually deployable for any dirty assignment. They suffer low self esteem and they are prepared to lick the boots of their masters. At the end of the day they are left with only the crumbs off their masters’ tables. With such characters crowding our political space is there any wonder why Nigerian politicians have not been able to deliver meaningful services to the citizenry? Is there any wonder why the country is in a confused state? Is there any wonder why there is no cohesive policy that can move the country forward?
The situation has now become compounded by the deliberate pauperisation and impoverishment of the generality of the populace to the extent that some citizens with Masters Degree will stop you on the street and beg for a mere 500 Naira. It is saddening that millions of Nigerians will readily sell their conscience and future for a mere pittance. We now hear pitiable slogans like ‘vote and cook stew’, ‘vote and collect 4000 naira’ and such similar nonsense. Nigerians have become malleable clay in the hands of Politics entrepreneurs.
Voting is decided by the amount of cash at the disposal of contenders to political office. Voters are induced with cash and other miserable gifts to harvest their votes. It is like a bazaar at voting points. Voters are up for auction while their votes go to the highest bidder! It is the same scenario at the Primaries. What all these translate into is that we do not get true representatives of the people. And to make matters worse, those who have opinions, those who are informed, those who are rightly the leaders of the society run away from active participation in the charade that eventually produce ‘political leaders’.
This is why Nigeria is in serious trouble. Politicians are traders and business men and women. They are crude hustlers and gamblers. They are basically devoid of any emotions. And because they are hustlers and gamblers, they gamble with the collective future of the masses of the country. They are not concerned about the ethnic cleansing going on in major sections of the country. They are not bothered by all the kidnapping, ritual murders, severe insecurity and the hopelessness of Nigerians. They are not concerned with the growing lawlessness, impunity and tyrannical dictatorship ravaging the country. They are not bothered about the military document we operate as ‘Constitution’. They are not concerned about the crying need for restructuring or returning the country to workable Confederation and Parliamentary system. No. All that they are concerned with is how to win elections and continue with their ruinous occupation of killing the country.
How do we terminate this vicious cycle of terrible politicians and impoverished voters? How do we free ourselves from this yoke? Let me say though that there are still a few genuine men and women who are patriotic and concerned about the future of this country. Even among the politicians there are a tiny few who can run the affairs of this country along civilized pattern if allowed to emerge. That is the hope Nigerians have to salvage the country from the shackle of Politics entrepreneurs.
Voters and those who count the votes as well as those who collate and announce the results of the votes should be aware that at the end of the day, we shall all sink with the directionless boat. With all the blood money in the hands of those who have held Nigeria by the jugular, how safe and secure have such rogues been? Which of them can walk the streets of their communities without heavy police protection?
Politicians offering themselves for sale and the voters who are on auction, your days are numbered. It should be borne in mind that no society has been held captive for ever. And those who are relishing the criminal occupation of Nigeria and dehumanisation of Nigerians should know that there is law of karma!
And should the bubble burst, hell fire would be child’s play. History is my witness!