It is almost inconceivable that with the presidential elections barely a month away, there is a ghoulish calm and uneasy normality in our democratic polity.  Who would have imagined that by now, hotels in Abuja are not booked up; that Islamic and Christian leaders are not being sponsored to go to their respective Holy lands to pray for some candidates; that traffic at the Villa is not ridiculously heavy, with an assortment of Emirs, Ezes and Obas of different grades and traditional relevance thronging the seat of power.  It is even more uncannily unsettling that the business of governance is still very much going on!

The government of President Muhammadu Buhari is deficient in many areas and some of us Buharists who are analytical and rational in our support for PMB (as opposed to Buharideens who are blind, fanatical supporters) have expressed our disappointment and sense of betrayal at some of his actions/inactions.  What we are witnessing right now, is real Change!  That elections are a few weeks away and life goes on as normal is so surreal.  A wind of change in our electoral process is sweeping through the country and it must be highlighted, sustained and celebrated.  Nigerians have been clamouring for this particular change to fix our dysfunctional political system and get unaccountable money out of it once and for all.  A dysfunctional and institutionally corrupt system that allows unethical corporations and individuals with ill-gotten wealth to dominate our political process.  Now that campaign spend is conspicuously affected by PMB’s parsimoniousness, everybody has to tow the line.  This is change!

We all can vividly remember this time in 2015, in the run up to the 2015 elections.  The nation’s treasury was literally opened up and money was being spent as if it was going out of fashion – all in a bid to win an election.  Our politics and campaigning have become progressively expensive that to vie for a political office, you must either be stupendously rich or have a godfather who is prepared to fund your campaign programme.  It is interesting that we have not seen corporate and individual campaign fund launches where different business moguls and front men/women donate or pledge billions to the campaign funds of the main political parties’ coffers.  This is a breath of fresh air in an erstwhile corroded polity. 

Celebrating this development is not for the sake of mere parsimony on the part of the president, far from it.  It is the celebration of the good that comes from it.  With the reduction in the cost of winning an election and the removal of the money-bag god-fathers, then there is justification for slashing the costs of running our government.  The Senators’ and Legislators’ total emoluments must be slashed to a level not more than that of a typical Permanent Secretary.  This will make elective offices unattractive to the current bunch of parasitic renegades who populate our political space and pave the way for genuine servant-leaders who want to serve, to emerge.

Because the “Oga at the top” has not gone to town on campaign spend, other aspirants, from local councillors to state governors have had to rein in their campaign war chest.  This can only be good news, as government funds that would otherwise be applied to one much-needed development project or the other is frittered away to line the pockets of some politicians and their cronies – under the guise of electioneering.  One would be naïve to assume that everyone would be happy or comfortable with this new development.  Those who are benefitting from the existing political process and its fiscal profligacy are not going to like the change in campaign funding which we are witnessing at the moment.  They are the enemies of our common progress and are bound to be beclouded by their selfish, personal economic losses.  They will expectedly come up with all sorts of dubious economic arguments as to why money should be allowed to flow – whether stolen or not.  There can always be justifications for all actions!

On this particular journey, the train of change has just left the station and I must say, that provided this can be sustained, before long, our electoral process would be sanitized.  As we edge closer to the day when campaign and party funding are divorced from government resources, when security votes are outlawed and the emoluments of our legislators and other political office holders are brought in line with what obtains in real life, let us celebrate this simple but important step taken by PMB.

God bless Nigeria

Akin Olukiran is a Social and Political Commentator and can be reached on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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