In the Christendom, the book of 1 Samuel chapter 16 verse 7 says “But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart. A literary interpretation of the foregoing scripture plainly means that it is deceptive to look on the outward appearance of a man but it is better to look on the heart. From the perspective of this interpretation, it is advisable for Nigerians to be looking on the hearts of our politicians through the means of prayer and fasting whenever they intend voting for anyone during elections rather than looking at the wads in their pockets, the height of their storey buildings and the sharpness of their tongues.
Many a politician had in the past appeared to voters with pleasing mien only for the politician to reveal through his seemingly anti-people activities and utterances while in office, that he or she is a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
The electorate have been misled by politicians who deceitfully used their quiet disposition or their achievements in their various professions or businesses as their Unique Selling Point (USP) during election campaigns only for them to fail in meeting the people’s expectations during their political tenure. Their activities in most cases are diametrically opposed to the expectations of the electorate. As it is, it seems most politicians only go to the corridors of power to perform the opposite of what they are voted for. They are voted to serve the nation, regrettably most of them are not serving the nation but their pockets and bank accounts. What a shame!
As it is now, it appears most of them are in government to impoverish the people and diminish the wealth of our blessed country.
Laughable enough, when a typical politician is interviewed in order to ascertain from him what actually motivated him to leave his profession or business for politics, the most likely response is always, “I want to serve my people” or “my people dragged me into politics because they believe in me”, or “I have been involved in politics right from student union days.
Sincerely, most politicians have used any of the above or similar responses to respond to media interviews when asked what motivated them to join the political race. Any of the responses may appear truthful and logical on the surface, but when they are deeply and properly analyzed, it would be discovered that they are spurious. The underlying reason they joined politics is to make money. I stand to be corrected but without pretence we all know it is the truth.
Our founding fathers, such as Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Sir Ahmadu Bello, Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa and others took their time off from their careers only to serve the people not because of the money they would get from politics. They actually sacrificed all they had for politics. Today, politics is played to make money and not to serve the nation. This is the bitter truth. We need to have a rethink. Otherwise we may not be able to get it right. In the next 8 months or thereabout, Nigeria would be celebrating another independence anniversary or birthday in this context. The question is, how long are we going to be celebrating failure?
Today, being in politics is inarguably another way of survival for some of us. Little wonder we have many people who are tired and worn-out in the public and private services see politics as the last resort.
The question now is, what should be the motivating factor behind a person’s political pursuit? Money or desire to serve the people? I know the answer would have been the desire to serve, but in reality it is not service but money. I repeat again, we should have a rethink on why we are in politics, otherwise we can never get it right in the art of politics and governance. In as much as we are today seeing the game of politics as an act of making money, the Christians in politics should remember the word of God in Proverbs chapter 13 verse 11 that says “Wealth gotten by vanity shall be diminished: but he that gathereth by labour shall never decrease”
I heard of the story of a man who collected N5m as retirement benefit from his former employer, and went to seek a friend’s advice on how best to invest the money. He was told by one of them to join the councillorship race.
In fact, the perception and interpretation of the game of politics by some politicians are often distorted so much that some see it as a quick return on investment. Little wonder most political constituencies are fast retrogressing in terms of infrastructure instead of progressing.
An average businessman, ordinarily, would be more interested in recouping the amount invested in a business before any other thing. So also, a politician who sees politics as an investment option would recoup the money invested for campaign before serving the people and the nation.
It is not an exaggeration to say that politics is no more seen as the science or art of government, political views, affairs, questions, etc. Rather what some politicians now find irresistible in politics is money, to the detriment of the people and various political constituencies. But this kind of money politics is not good for us. It is damned retrogressive! Chairmen and Secretaries of our various political parties should begin to admonish their candidates on the dangers of playing money politics since the conducts of their candidates have a direct bearing on the survival and credibility of their respective parties. Thank God that former president Olusegun Obasanjo is already lambasting the legislative members whenever he feels.
The love which politicians have for money has undeniably validated the biblical injunction that says that “the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil”. We are today seeing the evil in the form of bad roads, hospitals, clinics and dispensaries without drugs, impoverished people, unemployment, and ridiculously sharing the monies that are meant to fight the dreaded Boko Haram terrorists. Again, another biblical injunction also teaches that “People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desire that plunge men into ruin and destruction”. As it is, the injunction appears to be manifesting in the form of politically-motivated crises in the northern part of the country through the current festival of bombings.
Still in the same nexus, aspiring politicians will at any given opportunity appeal to the people to vote them into power so that many projects that cut across education, health, housing, electricity, water, etc. would be executed. Laughable enough, it is the same politicians that promised heaven on earth that would start, as soon as they are sworn into power, the exhibition of their sophisticated status symbols that are potent enough to make the poor that voted them into power realize that he is helpless and hopeless.
The essence of this write-up is to sensitize politicians that are warming up for the next local government election not to see politics as an avenue of getting rich quick. They should etch the political history of this nation on their minds. They should play the game of politics the way it is done in the United Kingdom, USA, Germany, South Africa amongst other countries that know the rule of the game. Any politician that entered the rat race called politics purposely to enrich himself should better go to Alaba Market to acquire apprenticeship and upon his freedom from his master can begin to import containers. Period!
That the resources available in Nigeria is not at all different from the biblical land that flows with milk and honey cannot be successfully disputed is a trite fact. But many of us are neither drinking milk nor honey except the few that are living in luxury.
The plight of many Nigerians is undoubtedly a paradox. Or how can one explain the plight of graduates whose country is richly blessed hewing wood and fetching water for some exploitative employers?
Given the foregoing, the relevance of the saying that “When the righteous is in authority, people rejoice; but when the wicked rule the people groan” becomes valid.
To me, it is not proper for politicians to be playing with public funds entrusted to them. They should stop betraying the trust and confidence which the people have in them.
Playing politics the right way would, no doubt, engender a conducive environment for many Nigerians. The truth is that when politicians think more about the people than money, the people, especially the youths, would be able to realize their potentials, build self-confidence, and live a life that would be full of dignity, achievement and fulfilment. A situation where some are swimming in opulence while others are daily demoralized by poverty does not paint a true picture of a country that is striving towards the attainment of an ideal social justice and equity for her citizens.
Again, both the incumbent and aspiring politicians, especially at the local government level should allow their leadership style yield positive fruits for the well being of the rural dwellers, young graduates and the youths in general, women, businessmen, the haves and haves-not. Merely paying lip service and pouring out rhetorics always is not enough to ameliorate the plight of the poor.
Finally, there is no need for any aspiring or incumbent politician to see the game of politics as an alternative way of investment or an avenue of getting rich quick. Politics is service, and service is politics. They should stop seeing politics as a way of having access to the national cake. National cake is a cake baked by all Nigerians, and not by selected few who have learnt the ropes of playing politics.
Our politicians should begin to see politics as an opportunity to serve the people and the nation, and not an opportunity to serve their pockets and their bank accounts. They should always recognize the fact that their actions or failings have a direct bearing on the ambitions, goals, potentials and even the destinies of other Nigerians, particularly the youths who are daily graduating from our various institutions of learning and training and cannot find jobs and have to turn to armed robbery, kidnapping, militancy, prostitution, etc.
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