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Abiola Benjamin ObayomiAbiola Benjamin Obayomi
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Ekiti Elections: The Tragedy of The Commons And Death of Democracy In Nigeria

By Abiola Benjamin Obayomi       Jul 31, 2018

Ekiti Elections: The Tragedy of The Commons And Death of Democracy In Nigeria

What we witnessed with the just concluded Ekiti state gubernatorial elections over the weekend is nothing short of the tragedy of the commons, a term used in social science to describe a situation in a 'shared-resource system' where individual users acting independently according to their own self-interest behave contrary to the common good of all users by depleting or spoiling that resource through their collective action.

The shared-resource in this context would be monies that otherwise, should have gone for developmental projects and benefits the lots of Ekiti State indigenes, being given away to few individuals as stipends, to vote either APC or PDP in the just concluded election. This is highly tragic in a democratic system of government, where naturally; the will of the people should decide who leads them through a free and fair electoral process.

Although adjudged as free and fair, the results of the polls simply showed that the highest bidder won. Sometimes I wonder why we run our democratic system on the notion that people must be bought over on the day of elections for the parties involved to emerge victorious. Our democratic system, through a terrible political party structure has created a problem that would take many years to correct.

Everything about winning an election in Nigeria is now totally monetized. People no longer vote their conscience anymore, but for the party and the candidate that can share the more during elections. Democracy is dead in Nigeria, what we now have is moneycracy.

The APC and PDP show of shame in this Ekiti state election is highly tragic. Both parties have come to entrench stomach insfrastructure as the way to win elections in the country. An action that speaks so much volume of the ruling party that claims to be fighting corruption, with a toothless anti-corruption ceasar that cannot bite.

Although, you wouldn't blame a people who have been plundered over the years, why they have to accept monies before they vote any candidate or parties during elections. It is the tragedy of the commons, definitely certain people (if not all) would fall for it. Poverty is one of the tools the political elites are using against Nigerians. Religion and ethnicity are other tools as well.

When you impoverish a people, and deny them of certain rights and basic amenities; they end up becoming a tool for manipulation. When you take away quality education from a people for instance, you deny them the right to know the truth. They remain in ignorance all their life. It is such a pity that many Nigerians have not come to realize this gimmick of the political elites in Nigeria. The rights of many Nigerians to think have been bought over by our political elites. When people see money, they forget about their future and focus mainly on the present. This is a tragic situation for a people to be in.

What we have here in Nigeria is no longer democracy. The definition of democracy according to Nigerian politicians is government of self, by self and for self. The people do not appear in that definition. An average Nigerian politician care so much about himself or herself first, rather than the interest of the people he or she is representing. Democracy in Nigeria have been bought over. The democratic power now goes to the highest bidder.

Money have been made to replace people's right to vote and be voted for, people have lost their conscience, and mortgage their future because of N3,000 and N5,000 naira. It is such a tragic state that the nation is in. Where do we go from here? How do we right these wrongs that have been made to be the mainstay of Nigerian politics - candidates paying their way into offices? Like Oby Ezekwesili asked in a series of tweets she posted on this just concluded elections. She tweeted: "What would make a person PAY a people money in order to SERVE them?"

We may never move forward from here, at least, not until we have been able to separate money from Nigerian politics. The system need to be thoroughly purged of this menace of money politics. It is a menace that the coming generation must not witness. Until that time, democracy is really dead in Nigeria.

Thank you.

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