The Speaker, Kogi State House of Assembly, Prince Mathew Kolawole, has expressed worries over the spate of money politics in Nigeria.
He said the issues of integrity in Nigerian politics seems to have been gradually washed away by “monetary erosion”.
Prince Kolawole stated this in Lokoja on Saturday at the 2017 Kogi West Youth Dialogue with the theme ‘2019 Election, Setting youth agenda.’
While speaking on the topic “Youth and Money Politics, Kogi West in Focus, the speaker observed that democracy in Nigeria has been heavily battered, adding that politics has become so expensive that it takes a lot of money even to be defeated.
Represented at the forum by Elder Ayenigba Olalekan, the speaker maintained that, the history of Nigeria democracy has been entangled with money politics just as he stressed that, an average youth sees election period as an opportunity for him to grab his shares of the national cake.
He said, “The size of a politicians campaign ground can be an effective yardstick for measuring his wealth and influence but not for estimating how much people believes in his leadership abilities and potentials. Time is money to the electorate, while ears are rented.
“Through out the world today, politics has become an expensive affair, to the extent that money is now among the greatest threats to democracy. In essence, the greater the influence of money on politics, the less influence the average citizen has.”
He added that the major problem with money politics is that politicians tend to invest by spending in the campaign and expect profit in return.
This, according to Kolawole has affected public policies and spending priorities.
“The politicians use the opportunity of giving money in order to deceive the masses and the masses assume that is the best of what they expect from their leaders. If you are to share your view with both sides, (Politicians and masses) you will find both of them have contributed a lot in spreading the problem”.
“Our past leaders went into politics in those days to serve for development, not to just steal money and properties of the country and enrich themselves. These are the type of leaders that we need in Nigeria today.
“The most terrible problems with money politics is that it causes unemployment in the mind of our youths, affect development of the nation, because people take politics as business not something that will help in developing the country” he explained.
He went further to state that, “it causes crisis and violence among other problem. Looking at the present situation, its shows that we are very far left behind, economically, socially, morally as well as politically and its is time time to start thinking of way out of this problem”.
Also speaking, the immediate past Speaker of Kogi State House of Assembly, Honourable Umar Ahmed Imam, who presented a paper on Political Leadership, hurdles before Kogi West Youth, said Nigerian youths or young politicians need to brace up and be courageous to seek political relevance through active participation in politics.
Imam said ” Our youths must come to terms with reality, that politics and political leadership are not tea party. Leadership requires hard work. Our youth must show knowledge and character to convince the people that you have come of age, that their destiny is secured with you, that you are worthy of their trust and that you are prepared to make sacrifices.”