Inside the Dark World of Nigerian Politicians’ Corruption and Abuse of Authority, Written by Kehinde Olayiwola

It’s a poignant observation that the corrosive effects of power transcend borders, yet every nation’s political climate is shaped by unique circumstances and cultural values. That’s why I have chosen to focus on the Nigerian context and examine the intricate relationship between political power and corruption in this article.

Power, much like a chameleon, adapts to the hands that hold it. This is particularly evident in the case of Nigerian politicians, where the lure of power has revealed disturbing patterns of abuse and malpractice.

Indeed, the revelation of a man’s true character under the influence of power is a stark and sobering reminder that appearances can often be deceiving. In the context of Nigerian politics, this facade of morality becomes all too common, with politicians wearing different masks to suit their purposes.

The intricate nature of power, as a multifaceted and often misunderstood concept in social science, deserves careful analysis. This is especially true when considering the distinctions between political power and spiritual power, which have been observed to stand in stark opposition to each other.

On the one hand, political power is often characterized by manipulation, deceit, and self-interest. On the other, spiritual power is traditionally associated with humility, altruism, and selflessness. These contrasting forms of power reflect the inherent paradoxes of human nature and the challenges of navigating the complexities of social dynamics.

The essence of political power, while often cloaked in the language of legitimacy and authority, boils down to a simple and brutal truth—the ability to force compliance from others, through means both overt and covert, whether one is deserving of such power or not.

This inherent flaw in political systems has allowed individuals of dubious character, intelligence, and morality to rise to positions of influence, wielding their newfound power with reckless disregard for the welfare of others.

In the murky waters of Nigerian politics, money often functions as a corrosive force, enabling individuals to ascend the political ladder by dint of their financial might rather than their merits. This reliance on monetary power is a Faustian bargain, for it ensures that political clout is not derived from the person holding office but from the fleeting nature of money itself.

Without an enduring source of wealth, the politician is effectively renting their position of authority, beholden to the whims of their finances and the corruption that inevitably follows in their wake.

If the cancer of corruption is to be eradicated in Nigerian politics, we must address the root of the problem—the pervasive influence of money. By removing financial incentives and instead evaluating prospective politicians based on their proven integrity, competence, and prior achievements in positions of authority, we can foster a culture of transparency and accountability in our political system.

It is those who lack the requisite qualities of true leadership who often seek to circumvent the process by relying on their financial resources, elevating money over merit. Only by championing character over coinage can we hope to bring about lasting change and a more equitable political landscape in Nigeria.

The prevailing system in Nigerian politics, which relies heavily on money and monetary rewards, can be seen as a cycle that perpetuates itself. The lavish severance packages and life pensions received by retiring governors and legislators are often viewed as a means to sustain their future political endeavors, as financial power is often the key to maintaining relevance in a money-driven political landscape.

However, there is a growing movement, fueled by the energy and ideals of young Nigerians, that seeks to challenge this status quo.

While political power often relies on coercion and manipulation to achieve its ends, spiritual power, vested within the purview of religious leaders, operates in a more subtle manner.

During the lead-up to the 2023 general elections, politicians sought to leverage the moral authority of religious figures to sway the votes of their respective congregations. This serves as a stark reminder that, while ostensibly separate, the realms of politics and spirituality can often become entwined in the pursuit of influence and power.

The possession of spiritual power is not inherently bound to the accumulation of wealth or the attainment of political office. Rather, it is a quality that is often recognized and revered regardless of one’s material or political standing.

In this regard, spiritual leaders with integrity and a keen awareness of the limitations of their political influence will avoid urging their followers to support specific political parties. This act of restraint highlights the crucial distinction between spiritual and political power, wherein the former serves as a source of moral guidance, whereas the latter is often wielded for more temporal purposes.

In the current political climate of Nigeria, money has become a corrosive force, permeating and subverting virtually every facet of society. Government agencies, which are intended to serve as objective guardians of the rule of law, have often been reduced to pliant pawns in the hands of wealthy and influential individuals.

The judiciary, which wields tremendous power as the ultimate arbiter in matters of law, has at times found itself tarnished by corruption and tainted with the stain of self-interest.

The Nigerian electorate must rise to the occasion and become vigilant guardians of democracy, standing as a bulwark against the pervasive culture of impunity that has infiltrated the country’s electoral processes and government agencies.

In this capacity, they will serve as the ‘People’s Police,’ using their intimate knowledge of the laws governing these entities to ensure that they operate within the strict confines of these regulations.

By adopting this proactive role, the electorate will become proactive protectors of democracy, ready to challenge any deviation from the rule of law.

In the final analysis, the defining trait of the Nigerian political class is an overwhelming self-interest, driven by a relentless hunger for personal gain that overrides any sense of public service. Rather than serving as true representatives of the people, these politicians are propelled by a seemingly insatiable desire for wealth, power, and prestige, viewing the electorate as a means to an end, rather than as the ultimate source of their authority.

This pervasive culture of selfishness, which appears to be blind to the moral consequences of its actions, is at odds with the fundamental values of fairness, justice, and accountability.


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