By CHIBUZOR EMEJOR.
Dr. Cosmas Ilechukwu, General Overseer of Charismatic Renewal Ministries, has said that the present dominance of money politics in Nigeria has made it impossible for the emergence of best minds in governance.
Ilechukwu who stated this on Friday in Abuja while delivering a paper on the 2018 edition of The Change We Need Lecture Series, said the culture of vote-buying during elections has been entrenched by the political elite in the country.
According to him, “The Nigerian political elite, who in the main are Machiavellians, seem to have succeeded in foisting on the consciousness of an average Nigerian, the falsity that, “he who has the power and money has the say.”
“This explains the dominance of money-politics in Nigeria; a lamentable political misfortune, that has made it impossible for the best minds we have to lead the country.
“History has proved time and time again that a nation’s great leaders are her great scholars. In the age of knowledge economy, we must resolve as a nation to draft our intellectual giants for national leadership.”
The cleric further identified poverty as one of the problems that hamper the emergence of true and committed leaders in the country.
He pointed out that impoverished populace could hardly think of anything beyond their daily survival, quoting Prof. Ibrahim Gambari who said, “Poverty and nation-building are strange bedfellows.”
To ensure a progressive Nigeria, the General Overseer of Charismatic Renewal Ministries, identified key elements such as common citizens, restructured Nigeria, governance based on rule of law, productive Nigeria as building blocks of greatness.
Ilechukwu also identified meritocracy, education and youth development, adequate life supporting infrastructure and security as key to achieving the Nigeria of citizens’ dream.
In her lecture, Dr. Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, Chairperson, Transition Monitoring Group [TMG], said the scourge of vote-buying and lack of internal party democracy is eroding the legitimacy of public office and the accountability that should go with it.
Afolabi acknowledged that while vote-buying was not new practice, however observed that it is taking a frightening dimension with grave implication for the fight against corruption and national development.
She noted that, “Resources meant for development is now being cornered to fund this new appetite of the ruling class who knowing that the ability to manipulate the electoral process directly has been largely diminished have resorted to outright vote buying.
“We are likely to see development taking a back seat in the next decade as those in power work to recoup investment in elections and also plunder public resources to fund their elections.”