Nigerians in North Central have expressed displeasure on the rate at which electoral processes have been tied to the use of money and other values in recent times.
A cross section of those who spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) expressed on Sunday across the zone displeasure on the development.
Mr Peter Kua, a businessman in Makurdi said that the way and manner money was used in politics in has become very worrisome.
“People with questionable characters use money to buy their ways into various elective positions.
“It is very sad that the masses have been mortgaging their rights and the future of their children because of peanuts.
“We are encouraging these people who brandish or throw money at us to to take advantage of our gullibility to further impoverish us,” Kua said.
Also, Mr Tersoo Ade, a taxi driver in Makurdi appealed to the National Assembly for the interest of the nation to adopt direct primaries as the only mode of party primaries to check the influence of moneybags.
Ade stressed that if direct primaries was adopted and enshrined in the Electoral Law, it would go a long way to save the Nigerian political system from total collapse.
Corroborating Ade, Mr Jacob Terwase, lamented that if nothing was done about the ugly development only money bags could win election in the country.
“Without money one cannot make any meaningful move in any political party even if he was an angel because stakeholders always expect transportation fare whether they visited or the aspirants visited them.
“If something was not done about it only the highest bidders will be picking parties tickets.
“My brother, money has destroyed our politics completely. Just see what happened during the last PDP primaries here in Makurdi where state House of Assembly aspirants were offering each delegate N1 million.
“We even have a situation where a House of Representatives aspirant was offering N1.5 million yet he still lost because his opponent offered more,” Terwase said
Another resident, Mrs Charity Tyolaha, said that for the country to produce a credible leader, serious efforts must be put in place to mitigate the use of money in politics.
Tyolaha also said that the direct form of primaries remained the best option and urged stakeholders to go for it.
She said that if direct primaries were adopted as the mode of primaries many people in leadership positions would not had been there.
The Campaign for Democracy Human Rights Advocacy, Civil Society in Niger, therefore, called on the National Assembly to come up with stringent laws to discourage increasing money politics by politicians in the country.
Alhaji Abdullahi Jabi, the chairman of the group said: “The amended electoral law of 2022 is not strong enough to tackle the numerous corruption going on in our electoral system.
“Therefore, there is the need for the National Assembly to come up with stringent laws that will reduce the current huge amount of money that a politician must spend to win elective position.
“The same law must monitor the bank details and spending of political parties and their Aspirants/Candidates”.
Jabi said that the measure would encourage responsible Nigerians who wish to serve the people to participate in politics.
He said that responsible Nigerians who want to serve the country have been denied the opportunity owing to their financial strength as a result of increased monetidation of the polity.
He enjoined the people of country to stand against these group of politicians or they would continue to perpetuate themselves in power and plant other members of their families before leaving the scene.
In his view, Mr Hamzat Lawal, the Executive Director, Connected Development, a Civil Society Organisation, called on all Anti-corruption Agencies to scale up their games in tackling the undauting canker worm of rising money politics in Nigeria.
Lawal, an anti-corruption activist and Founder, Follow the Money, said for the fact that “money politics is still playing precedent in Nigeria, it clearly signifies that the anti- corruption agencies are not doing enough.
“If the anti-corruption agencies are doing enough, people with money bags would have been scared to use money to entice or induce voters for their gains.
”If we must get it right, we must embrace our value system which has been eroded because we exchange our rights for a a one day meager stipend and suffered in penury for the four or eight years the candidate will spend in office.
”It is really sad that money politics has taken its toll on the entire electioneering processes in Nigeria.
“Interestingly, the civil society organisations have deployed observers who are monitoring and documenting the entire process of the parties’ primaries and the forthcoming general elections.
“We shall in due cause make known our findings to the public including the international communities,” he said.
Mr Nathaniel Abaniwo, Coordinator of Kogi NGO’s Network (KONGONET), said money politics has become endemic in the Nigeria’s political system, and “not healthy for our political landscape and our economy.”
He blamed part of the problem to the failure of government at all levels to muster and imbibe the political will to reduce the cost of governance and ensuring transparency, accountability at all levels.
Abaniwo called for adequate involvement of anti-graft agencies in proper monitoring of election process at all stages, while ensuring prosecution of erring politicians and electorate.