Between monetary policy and good governance, by Abiodun Komolafe –
Gradually but surely, the stage is preparing for Osun’s gubernatorial election. As July 16, 2022, the date set for the ballot by the Independent National Electoral Commission, draws nearer, it is no longer news that political activities are multiplying and the atmosphere is picking up.
Gladiators are already spoiling the war and the coveted trophy in sight is the Osun State Governor’s Seat, currently occupied by Gboyega Oyetola.
It was only recently that Ademola Adeleke, the candidate of the Peoples’ Democratic Party faction, boasted to a rather stunned audience that he was “filled with enough money” and would surrender. in elections to spend “not just naira but dollars, pounds and euros”. and that “this time” would be “fire for fire”. And, in what looked like a quick response, Gov. Oyetola of the ruling All Progressives Congress said he had no frivolous money to buy private jets for traditional rulers or hard currency to squander. Rather, he would bring to the table his skill and imbued ability to transform the state through good governance. Listen to him: “As you all know, a state like Osun is too sophisticated to be ruled by kindergarten politicians. It is too costly to allow such people to experience Osun.
For starters, Adeleke’s gesture and boastful attitudes are reminiscent of a Yoruba saying: “Oro t’owo ba se ti, ile lo maa gbe” (money answers everything). Till date, this aphorism is fully in line with the thoughts and social content of Yoruba society. Perhaps due to our level of development and the gnawing impact of poverty, it is sadly true and inviolable! The race may change it tomorrow; but, until that happens, that’s the way it is! This is why it would be foolhardy for anyone to ignore the role or impact of money in politics.
That said, the level of development in Nigeria – and particularly in Osun State – needs to be highlighted to draw useful conclusions from what Adeleke said regarding its state of preparedness for the upcoming elections. Without being unnecessarily shameless, the significance of the statement can only find relief in the inner workings of the DPP gubernatorial candidate: “voter consent to Osun has been trivialized”; ‘the votes are for sale in Osun’; and “goods go to the highest bidder”. Apparently, Adeleke did not understand the socio-economic and political implications of his statements. Of course, it’s disturbing!
The fact that Nigeria has Americanized its politics by adding money to it has given the mistaken impression that the influence of money is absolute. The interesting thing about this erroneous claim is that it is not true! For example, American society still places great importance on justice and accountability. However, here in Nigeria, the prebendal native policy only ensures “poverty for the masses, wealth for the few”. Hence the ever-widening gap between rich and poor, which is already tipping our society towards inevitable collapse. Yes, a man who has not eaten for the past two days is bound to despise his birthright for “bread and lentil stew.” Such a soul would probably cower at Ademola’s plea for “dollars, pounds and euros”. But then society will end up being worse for her. A massive influx of money without tangible production of goods and services will likely trigger continued inflation and negatively impact the national economy.
To be fair to posterity, Adeleke is one of the reasons why Nigeria lags behind in development and innovative thinking. How do I mean? A country that wants to grow will not breed governors whose priority is to buy private jets for traditional rulers, nor will it contemplate a money-driven election that will end up being “fire for fire”. If the PDP gubernatorial candidate had worked for the money he wasted until today, history has shown that he most certainly would have behaved differently. All the more reason for him to be thoroughly reprimanded for trying to import a highly toxic phenomenon into Osun’s politics.
By the way, you should know that Adeleke started down this dastardly political path about five years ago, under the previous administration of Osun. Remember his senatorial lawsuit of the year 2017, after the death of his older brother! Do you remember the illogical premise that Osun West’s Senate by-election ticket should be given to Ademola, simply because Isiaka Adeleke, the man who held the position before his disappearance, was the brother Elder of Ademola? Of course, the consensus failed and the elections were called as expected in a democracy. At the end of the day, a gullible electorate succumbed to the sweet tune of loaves of bread and wads of naira notes and the PDP won in 9 of the 10 local governments in the senatorial district. The local government of Ejigbo, which reluctantly surrendered to the ruling party, was won on the margins.
Reports even said that during Adeleke’s tenure in the Upper House, the “dancing senator” did not attempt a good deed for his senatorial district or put out the fire of a false move. He was right there! Tragically, the electorate was unable to ask questions about his scorecard while he was in the Senate. Again, this is where society is also guilty! If Adeleke did not do well in the Red Chamber, then why should he be considered for election as the first citizen of Osun State? Unfortunately, it is because no one has asked this question that Ademola is now trying to insult our collective intelligence. The question then is: is this how our people will want to waste four years in pecuniary conveniences for which forty years cannot survive?
Is the PDP governorship a salable candidate? Well, all over the world, eligibility is a function of a clean character profile and socially prescribed benchmarks of an individual’s social class roles and expectations in society. Yes, at the ‘Area Boys’ level, they can be found as voluntary tools. It’s understandable ! But it is an observation that the ‘Area Boys’ have no credible future. Furthermore, anyone who aspires to become governor of Osun must be able to read a budget. Thus, it will be imprudent for the candidate to think that he can bring an entire society into his compromised camp.
On a final note, it is a statement of fact that money has its own serious impact on society. It is a truth that no one can run away from. To deny that it has a serious impact on politics and our social existence is to be half smart. However, even if Adeleke parts with, say, £1,000 for each voter, such a voter will surely end up spending it. Chances are the money will flow back to England because Nigerians will buy products that are not made here. By the time we do this it is a simple saving that we are already returning the money to its source. Implicitly, we not only spend the money we didn’t work for, but we also indirectly send the money to another country. In any case, it is Nigerian society for us!
May the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world, grant us peace in Osun State!