When Mr. X who had been working in a multinational oil and gas company as a senior staff for more than a decade was notified of his impending retirement from the company by the management, on the grounds of clocking the retirement age, he was thrown into a fix.
In consideration of the fact that he would soon retire from the plum job that had earned him the enviable reputation of being seen as a philanthropist, a man about town and of the closest friends of the paramount ruler of his village, he became obsessed with the choice of the next business to be engaged in. He was so confused that he could not hide his fear for the future as he could not predict whether the next business would be lucrative enough to sustain his social and economic status.
Without recourse to much deductive reasoning in this context, it stands to reason that his post retirement age has automatically rendered him unemployable except to become self-employed where he obviously lacked entrepreneurial skills. The only advantage that stood for him as to becoming self-employed was the retirement benefit he was entitled to upon his final exit from the company.
As he bemoaned over his awkward predicament , and went on to confide with his close confidants, including the paramount ruler of his village, he was advised to join the most popular and acceptable political party in the constituency which his village was affiliated to in anticipation of vying for the chairmanship position. His confidants assured him that with his oil money and the expected retirement benefit that runs into millions of naira coupled with is social influence within villages across the local government area that he would win the election.
Without the intention of boring you with the foregoing anecdote, it is expedient to say at this juncture that most politicians went into politics merely for pecuniary motive, and not for altruistic reason of serving humanity as they were wont to claim when asked during interview sessions by the media.
While buttressing the reason for being in politics, some politicians had confessed in any of the following similitude: “I noticed my leadership traits while I was an undergraduate in the university”, “When I saw how my people were suffering I was touched to assist them by engaging in politics”, or “My people chose me to run for the Chairmanship position as they so much believe in me”.
The foregoing illustrates what Nigerians are usually told by politicians as to the reason that compelled them to be in politics. But alas! Politicians of today are yet to prove to millions of Nigerians through their conducts that they are not after pecuniary gains but service. Just like Bob Geldof that was quoted to have said that “You can't trust politicians. It doesn't matter who makes a political speech. It's all lies - and it applies to any rock star who wants to make a political speech as well”, confessions and promises made by politicians no more thrill most Nigerians as before.
According to an African proverb, “When a farmer is deeply obsessed with how many tubers of roasted yams he will be eating in the farm, he would no doubt become an unsuccessful farmer. “ The reason for his failure in his farming occupation cannot be far-fetched when analyzed from the fact that he was pre-occupied with what he would harvest from the farm rather than what he would sow into the farm to enable him reap good harvest. This proverbial analysis also describes the unprogressive mindsets of Nigerian politicians who are wont to see politics as a means of stealing public funds rather than seeing it as a platform to sow into the lives of the people. There is no denying the fact that the mindset of an average Nigerian on Politics is deep-rooted in the erroneous thinking that politics is all about “chopping money.” If not why would a retiree not think of investing his retirement benefit in a business that would not bombard him with headaches and at the same deprive him of a peaceful period of retirement? If politics is not erroneously seen as a business of chop-I-chop why would a godfather be so desperate towards the contribution of the success of the a godson in an election?
It is not an exaggeration to say that as long as the erroneous mindset that politics is all about eating just like the farmer that thinks farming occupation is all about eating roasted yams, the business of politics can never played right in this part of the world.
Not only is politics misconceived to be a gold mine by politicians, the societal pressure that is usually mounted on them has been noted to be one of the reasons why politicians engage in stealing public funds ostensibly to impress members of the society that they have arrived.
To my view, a political education that would focus on the message that being in politics is not an avenue to engage in the stealing of public funds should be jointly embarked by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, and the Ministry of information and culture. To me, the media campaign should be done in collaboration with information managers like the Journalists. It can as well be carried out through Town Hall meetings. The can be done majorly in the rural areas, that is the grassroots, where people so much believe that being in politics is all about stealing public funds. The campaign, to me, should be ongoing; if possible, a unit that can be devoted to such responsibility can be created in the Public Affairs department of both Parastatals.
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