In Nigerian politics, money is the name of the game; money is the most important factor having been placed above religion, region and gender. What money is being used for in the Nigerian politics of today testifies to the Biblical saying that “the Love of money is the root of all evil”. The intention for the invention of money was to eliminate the quaint system of trade-by-barter in which needed goods and services are directly exchanged, a more sophisticated method of transaction was needed because the good one exchanges mostly would be needed again at some other time; so, there was a need to preserve labour. Trade-by-Barter occurred usually between complete strangers or potential enemies, it dates back to at least 100,000 years but today, goods and services are being acquired with the use of what is called ‘Money’. Now, what is money itself?.
According to the Wikipedia Encyclopaedia, money is any object or record that is generally accepted as payment for goods and services and repayment of debts in a given country or socio-economic context. The first usage of the term ‘money’ came from Mesopotamia and the concept of money itself dates back to about 3000 years ago. It is worthy of note that money was created with a trading agenda. In Africa and some other parts of the world, money took the form of shells called Cowry but today, coins and paper notes are the two most common physical forms of money. Records have it that paper money was first used in China during the Song dynasty. Due to global technological advancement and innovation, digital money is now the most common form of money.
Money was created to serve the following functions:
i. To serve as a medium of exchange.
ii. To serve as a store of value.
iii. To serve as a unit of account.
iv. To serve as a standard of deferred payment.
Considering carefully these four critical functions, one who understands Nigeria’s current political terrain would testify that what money is being used for is more than the functions it serves and that it defies the intention of its creators.
In Nigeria, it is believed that without money, one cannot get involved in politics or run for elections and win, but that should not be the case in an ideal political environment, people should be able to win elections not necessarily because they have the money but because the people have identified their passion to make life better for the entire citizenry. It is the role of the politicians to present or project themselves to the public and it is the responsibility of the electorates to critically evaluate politicians based on their competencies. Most politicians today make deliberate efforts to appeal to the emotions of the Nigerian public, this is to distract the electorates from critically evaluating their competencies and to rather focus on their superfluous attributes. An individual with a mindset to have nothing less but a positive change in the society and with the knowledge of the tactics of politicians will not be deceived by political gimmicks. It is worthy of note that the Nigerian public are beginning to wake up and in this current dispensation would accept nothing but a positive change. It is amazing to see politicians ooze out confident in all their dealings because they believe they are so popular amongst the Nigerian public and that they have so much money to do whatever they purpose to do, including buying the electorates votes. The trend now has always been; before primaries, political office aspirants distribute money to delegates so as to vote for them, some delegates favour them while some others betray.
On the Election Day, politicians through their agents give the electorates in the polling booths money, to get their vote. Politicians buy the support of eminent personalities in the society such as traditional rulers also by giving them money, it is not wrong for traditional rulers and other eminent personalities to support politicians but they should be able to reject money if they should stand by their integrity. Politicians of today are so desperate that they promise political appointments to gain support, but when they get to office, they are confused and they end up falling out of support in the long run. A large population of the masses live on the politicians, they become members of a political party and survive on the money politicians give them through their party leaders. Majority of the voters are the masses, the peasants, it is proper that no matter what the case may be, money or not, the masses should vote their conscience based on their evaluations of their potential leaders, they must bear in mind that if people of credibility don’t lead them, their poverty would get worse.
Money must fail in Nigerian politics so that people of credibility who have the passion to serve can get to power. If money fails, politicians would get the message that the people have woken up from their slumber and would accept nothing but positive change in the society. There is a need to give politicians a run for their money. When they know money won’t work, they’ll understand that they have to be issue-oriented in their campaigns before they can get elected. Nigerians must vote their conscience, Nigerians must bring into power people of integrity and vote out the charlatans, it is when we do this that Nigeria can be on the path to greatness and have its ancient glory restored.