As aspirants declare their interests, ahead of the 2023 general election, let me remind them that the very purpose of politics and governance is the good and well-being of the people.
The ruling elites have turned the purpose of government upside down, government is now only about them, the acquisition of fancy cars, big houses and lavish ostentatious lifestyles, rather than the welfare of the citizenry.
The selfishness of the average politician should serve as a reminder to voters. Nigerians should thoroughly interrogate all those that want to lead at the various levels of governance before casting their votes! Those clamouring to be in charge of governance in 2023 will do well to understand the essence of governance, which is service to the people. It is not for self-aggrandizement or primitive accumulation of wealth as has become the norm in the recent past.
It is because politicians have turned our democracy to a money-making machine, that is why the cost of government is getting higher by the day without a commensurate increase in services to the citizenry! January this year, EFCC said that in 2021, it recovered the sum of over N152billion. A statement from the agency also stated that the sum of over $386million were recovered. The brief report further stated that an aggregated sum of over £1million pounds; €156,246.76; 1,723,310.00 Saudi Riyal; 1,900.00 South African Rand; and 1, 400.00 Canadian Dollars, were also recovered between January and December
According to the communique put out in continuation of the review of its operational activities for 2021, the EFCC said the recovery basket also included a digital currency component with 5, 36957319 bitcoin and 0.09012 Ethereum. These monies were recovered from the elite, many of them having served in government before. This is just for 2021 alone and an indication of what the elite had turned governance to.
Also, in 2021 the government said it has recovered over $700 million (about N288 billion) stolen funds stashed in foreign countries in the past four years, that is between 2016-2020. This was announced by the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami. He said the recoveries were made possible through proactive and collaborative efforts of foreign nations such as the United States, the United Kingdom, Bailiwick of Jersey, Switzerland, and Ireland. Malami spoke at the International Conference on Illicit
Financial Flow (IFF) and Asset Recovery organised by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC). In 2019 it was reported that an estimated $582 billion has been stolen from Nigeria since independence in 1960. The estimate, which was attributed to Chatham House, was quoted in an article published by The Economist titled, “Catch me if you can, African kleptocrats are finding it tougher to stash cash in the West,” published in its online edition. This is what our political leaders have turned governance to. Governance has become their ATM. That is why we are where we are. It is however our responsibility as citizens to change the narrative.