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The evil of money politics in Nigeria

08 December 2014, 12:28

Money is controversial in politics, a necessary evil perhaps. There are frequent attempts to limit its influence, sometimes by eliminating the need for it by restricting campaign expenditure. The grounds for eliminating its influence are that money is usually seen as a corrupting rather than positive influence. It can certainly distort political judgment. Money is also seen as giving some citizens unfair advantages over others and so making a mockery of one vote one value, a core principle of representative democracy.

Money in politics can't reasonably be eliminated altogether. Without it there would be no big parties, groups or campaigns. Reformers generally have two goals, often not spelled out clearly. One is to make political competition fairer by levelling the playing field as far as political donations are concerned by putting limits on what can be donated. The second, sometimes in the absence of the first, is to make political donations and political expenditures by so-called third-party groups as transparent as possible through public reporting. Money in politics is the root of all political evil All serious discussions begin with this simple observation. If you skip over it, or pretend money in politics doesn't matter, if you assume politicians are sincere, that they are earnest , you are fooling yourself. Apparently, you prefer to live in a world of bullshit. You have nobody to blame but yourself.

Reforms to keep corrupt money out of politics have been infrequent, inadequate, and evaded. Scandal leads to reform that fails because of designed-in loopholes. Ergo, nothing works. But it's also important to recall that, unlike a century ago, we have little if any vote buying. Contributions that were once made in secret are now made public on-line, and limits on hard and soft money have dammed up a lot of corrupt influence. Progress has occurred- glacially perhaps, but it has occurred. But as the volume and targeting of so-called legislatively interested money increases-and corporate governance and accounting scandals continue-so will the public clamor for change more enduring than the laughable. As the nineteenth century became the twentieth, public outrage over backroom payoffs, outright vote buying, and corporate corruption of the political process began to build. The rise of the Progressives is partly a backlash against what many Nigerians are seeing as the excessive influence of money in politics. Recognizing the need to regulate corporate power, Progressives advocating such economic and political reforms as antitrust laws, fair labor standards, women's suffrage, and greater citizen participation in and control of politics.

- MyNews24

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