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Elections in Nigeria & the Rise of Political Scammers

Submitted by admin on Fri, 11/02/2018 - 08:53

A Scam can be seen as an intentional perversion of truth for the purpose of inducing another in reliance upon it to part with some valuable thing or to surrender a legal right; a false representation of a matter of fact, whether by words or by conduct, by false or misleading allegations, or by concealment of that which should have been disclosed, which deceives and is intended to deceive another so that they shall act upon it to their own peril.

Any kind of artifice employed by one person to deceive another.

A generic term, embracing all multifarious means which human ingenuity can devise, and which are resorted to by one individual to get advantage over another by false suggestions or by suppression of truth, and includes all surprise, trick, cunning, dissembling, and any unfair way by which another is cheated.

According to Collins dictionary, Politics are the actions or activities concerned with achieving and using power in a country or society.

The ONLY acceptable means however, for attaining such powers and hence leadership as stated above, in a democratic system of government such as ours in Nigeria, is through elections.

An election is a formal group decision-making process by which a population chooses an individual to hold public office.

The electorates have the ultimate right of selecting the candidate(s) whom they trust and believe to have the capacity to give them the perfect form of representation, manage their collective resources, provide quality service, and to allow for the dividends of democracy to be enjoyed by the citizenry.

Elections are characterized by electioneering or political campaigns which are sets of activities that politicians and their supporters carry out in order to persuade or influence the decision of the people to vote for them or their political party in an election.    

This provides an avenue for politicians seeking elective positions to interface and market or advertise their ideasand reforms to the electorates in order to get their votes.

In a desperate attempt to woo the people, they promise to provide free education, quality health care, good roads, good economic policies, security of lives and properties, obedience of the rule of law etc.  – Promises which they either forget very quickly or deny ever making to begin with as soon as they assume power, hence making an effective connection between politics and scam.

They distribute "relief materials" in form of food items, toiletries, recharge cards, alcoholic beverages and cash in some cases to appease the people for the "intentional disaster" they have inflicted on the people, caused by the complete mismanagement of the people’s collective resources coupled with bad policies by successive governments.

They roll out all the vices in their political arsenal including vote buying, election rigging etc. to win elections at all cost. They do so because they are driven, not by the passion to improve the living condition of the people, but to satisfy their thirst for power, acquire wealth and to massage their ego.

They become “Instrumental" leaders who use power and influence primarily in the pursuit of private (personal, close family, cohorts) goals.

Some of the characteristics of Political Scammers are:

  • They do everything and anything possible to gain power.
  • They have a total disregard for the same people who voted them into power
  • They don’t tolerate any form of opposition from the people as they see themselves as supreme leaders.
  • They don’t encourage an active participation of the people in governance, they rather employ or surround them with their cronies who will only act according to their bidding.
  • They steal from the people.
  • They renege or deny all the promises they made to the people.
  • They do everything possible to remain in power against the will of the people; since they do not possess power to serve the people.

Below are tips for avoiding and effectively getting rid of Political Scammers:

  • Register to vote and make sure to collect your PVC
  • Conduct proper research on the candidates who seek votes for elective positions in order to know who has the proper qualification, capacity and track records.
  • Choice of candidates for leadership positions should be void of any form of religious or ethnic inclination as this have been used to distract the electorates from main credentials they ought to look out for in candidates.
  • Evaluate the campaign promises and ask questions as to how candidates intend to achieve them.
  • Avoid receiving money or other items from politicians during campaigns, as this would amount to selling your conscience & consent to them – an investment they need to gain from, by all means possible.
  • When you vote, protect your votes;
  • After elections, the people should hold their leaders accountable, they should seek active participation at all levels of decision making.
  • Engage in active and legal opposition to leaders whose actions are not in line with their proposed manifestos.


In conclusion:

According to Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics at 1099b30, "The end [or goal] of politics is the best of ends; and the main concern of politics is to engender a certain character in the citizens and to make them good and disposed to perform noble actions."

More so, in his essay on Ethics 1103a30, he suggests that "We become just by the practice of just actions, self-controlled by exercising self-control, and courageous by performing acts of courage....Lawgivers make the citizens good by inculcating [good] habits in them, and this is the aim of every lawgiver; if he does not succeed in doing that, his legislation is a failure. It is in this that a good constitution differs from a bad one.".

The citizens can only engage in good and noble actions when there is an enabling environment to do so – and since they all cannot lead at the same time, they “hire” a leader who should serve them.     

Although we are aware that, it is not from the benevolence of the baker that makes him sell bread but from their regard to their own interest. However, the best interest and therefore the highest level of satisfaction all elected officials should aim to attain is the ultimate the good of the people and should be reminded, that the electorates solely reserve the stage upon which Nunc Dimittis will be sang for all those who deviate from their will.

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