Ex Nigerian Minister of State for Defence, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro says Nigerians do everything to occupy public offices for financial gains because other opportunities for making money are difficult in the country.
He also said he was not in support of the idea of Nigerian political parties asking aspirants to have a certain amount of money before they can participate in politics.
The former minister, however, noted that such requirements are necessary to check numerous people scrambling to contest for political offices in the country.
Obanikoro, a former Lagos senator, disclosed this during an online interview on City Talks with Reuben Abati, which was monitored by SaharaReporters on Saturday.
“The idea of commercialising elections to me is very quite unfortunate. I’m not in support and cannot be in support. And let me tell you why I cannot be. I can record vividly in 1992, when I joined full politics or 1990 or thereabout, I wouldn’t have been able to get to where I am today if such impediments were placed on my way.
“What informs this is so unfortunate that we live in a society where almost all windows at getting things done in life have closed. Therefore, the only opportunity you have now is to participate in politics. When you now see the scramble for public offices, then you’ll be compelled to put certain requirements in place to see how we can manage all these interests.
“It is a way of definitely reducing the number of people who are contesting for one position at a time. If these things are left to be free, you’ll be shocked that for one position, you’ll have about 2, 000 people contesting.
“I’m not saying this is the best, but we must further challenge ourselves and come up with better ways, and not the commercialisation,” Obanikoro said.
While speaking on the low turn-out of voters at last Saturday’s local government elections in Lagos, the former Nigerian Ambassador to Ghana explained that poverty has constituted a challenge.
He also said, “And on top of that is this belief by an average person that their vote does not count.
“There are so many reasons for this and you don’t have to look far to begin to appreciate why people feel this way. Every one of us has become a government unto ourselves. That’s one. Number two, you also have economic hardship all over this place.
“So, until we overcome these challenges, we’ll have difficulties in participating in elections. But, if you look at it, to flip it to me is a mistake. You still have to participate because this is democracy. And the only way to get the government that you deserve is when you participate.”