Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

To follow up on Nigerian poverty

The taxi driver interviewed in the previous blog post has hopes for his children's futures. Tolu Daniel, a blogger on Waza, tries to explain corruption.

Nigerians Are Not Corrupt, They Are Just Hungry
Nigerian voters are not as gullible as many people think: they are mostly just hungry. And this hunger is why you'll find thousands of them as rented crowds in political rallies, because most of them are probably unemployed. Sometimes, their hunger could be as literal as the fact that so many of them live below the poverty line, and are looking for their next meal.
Political rally
Here in Nigeria, the man who is willing to spend the most amount of money during his campaign will win any election. And regardless of his likely criminal past, he will be compared to the messiah.

How else do you explain that indicted criminals, whose credentials show nothing but evidence of the amount of years with which they have looted this country, contest elections and win?…

Yes, it is true that we have been ruled by a few good men who have good credentials to back themselves up, but the truth remains that it was not their goodwill that won them the elections. It is mostly the amounts of money that they were willing to part with at the time.

Though by some sort of happenstance, these same good men always seem to suffer a kind of amnesia when they get to these posts, and do nothing to benefit their people…

In the interest of self-preservation, many have switched to the newly formed opposition party- all because of a fear that the opposition party might just win. They now claim to champion the cause of kicking out corruption, in the hope that they will get to keep whatever loot that they have stolen over the years without the fear of persecution…

Here in Nigeria corruption has several meanings, 'corruption is not stealing' and vice versa, and this definition is being peddled by those in the highest positions of authority. Pity. So when people say Nigerians are corrupt, I always beg to differ.

It's the poverty, stupid.

I am not saying that the system is corruption-free, but I want to say that the various definitions of corruption do not explain the Nigerian situation, at least not in the true sense of it. The situation of poverty and lack, the reason why you would find people sitting in the streets of rich politicians groveling for their daily bread.

The truth is that Nigerians deserve better, we deserve better than the corruption infested liars that we have as our leaders who will blame anybody else but themselves for the downward spiral of things.

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