Dr. ChiChi Aniagolu-Okoye
The political elite exploit three main things to hold on to power despite poor leadership. To change the equation we must address all three:
2. The high level of political illiteracy amongst the people
3. Limited enlightened self-interest.
Today we will focus on Poverty
Our people will sell their votes for a cup of rice. Able bodied women and men have been reduced to beggars, their dignity stripped. Our ‘elite’ will sell theirs for a little bit more. Today we see old men, chiefs, custodians of our culture and tradition ready to do the dirtiest of things for a ‘small boy’ governor just so they can get some crumbs off his table – money that does not belong to him. If old men will grovel, what then do we expect of the youth? What this tells us is that a lot of people can’t fend for themselves.
To liberate ourselves from this hoard of the blind and uncouth leading us today, we need to economically empower ourselves and our communities. With money in their pockets most people will vote wiser.
Gather your friends and start a micro credit scheme in your community. As little as N20,000 can start a business for someone. Organise the youth in your community to start a farm. Most communities can lease land to their people. You will be shocked how much money can be made from ’ordinary’ vegetables . There are so many NGOs and private sector companies interested in out grower programmes who provide training, seedlings, even funding for free. If you start today, by 2023 when elections come and the breed of vote seeking vipers emerge, you’d have built substantial wealth in your community that will limit taking from useless candidates. By creating wealth, you are not only ensuring that unworthy candidates will have a harder time buying votes, you will also be bringing back dignity to our people.
Economic empowerment is extremely important, but it will not do it alone, we need to add political education for the people and enlightened self-interest information for our ‘leaders and gate keepers” to complete the major circle…
These will address in the coming days….
- Dr. ChiChi Aniagolu-Okoye, Country Director, TechnoServe Nigeria. is a Development Sociologist.