I wonder where we picked up this belief from. That money is the root of all evil. Money? Root of all evil? Seriously?
I thought we got the idea from our religions. So I searched the ‘holy books’ to find answers. But it was a wasted effort. How can money be the root of evil? Is it possible to even maintain a level of piety without it? Even sanity?
The truth is, the Books nowhere say money is root of evil. The Bible in 1Tim 6:10 says “love of money is the root of all evil”. So, the “Love” of money is the problem, not money itself. But who doesn’t love money?
The Quran in Surah 89:20 says those who “love wealth (money) with immense love” are evildoers. The problem is “immense love”. That’s what the bible also meant. We all love money. But some people are in love with money. Therein lays the difference.
Money opens the door to happiness, safety, security, and many more.
Money, indeed, makes the world go round. But because many are in love with it, the world is now spinning wildly out of control and colliding with our culture and value system. With money, virtually everyone and everything has a price. What money cannot buy, more money can buy. Money not only buys material wealth, but also buys love, conscience and even humans.
Just like we saw in the last elections in Rivers State. Where the governor of the state, Chief Nyesom Wike, bought INEC officials with N360 million. He bought them to compromise the polls. That was what the police told us. They splashed pictures of money they said they recovered from the officials. They said it was N111 million. The police are, at last, your friend. No wonder they don’t wear all-black uniform anymore. According to sociological theory, black represents illegality. It also symbolises power. A formula for havoc and brutality.
But the Nigerian police want us to believe they have changed. So, in a record time, they set up a panel, probed the Rivers election, and indicted INEC officials and Wike. They even fired some policemen. Who said the police have not changed. Not all “CHANGE” is bad after all. But was it only the PDP that (mis)used money during the election? What about the APC? Never mind.
Trust Wike. He saw it all from the beginning. So he jetted to the court as soon as the panel was birthed. He asked ‘Me Lord’ to crush the “charade”. The court didn’t listen to him. Thus the police panel probed and nailed him. But why did he fidget at the probe? Maybe because the police are not his friend. Or because he was no friend to the police during the poll.
While the probe was open to doubts, the one instituted by the INEC seemed more like it. It didn’t spare anyone. The police, political actors, political parties, even its own men. The INEC panel was sweeping in its verdict. In fact, it accused the police of showing “profound political partisanship”. It said “security operatives, who were expected to protect the process, turned on it”. According to the INEC panel, “There were reported cases of wilful obstruction of the process by security operatives, including snatching of materials and intimidating voters. In other cases, they refused to accompany and protect men and materials for the elections.” What more can we say? Police are, indeed, your friend.
For INEC, that was a very bold thing to do. That was speaking truth to power. Nigerians were impressed. There is no doubt that the former Chairman of INEC, Prof Attahiru Jega, did set the benchmark for good election in Nigeria. And there’s no doubt that the current Chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, has since raised the bar.
What is happening in INEC now is self-refining. Where the electoral umpire turns inward. Yakubu said INEC under him has successfully secured 61 convictions of electoral offenders. I doubt if any of his predecessors ever achieved that feat.
But he should beware of politicians. They are his biggest hurdle. And they are also the greatest threat to this nation. If this democracy survives, it will not be because of the politicians. It will be in spite of them.
He should recall how they carried out campaign of calumny against his immediate predecessor. When Jega introduced card readers to curb electoral fraud. They tried to bring it down. And to bring him down too. They said it was a failure. And even INEC then admitted there was 41 per cent failure rate during its trial. The politicians echoed this to the highest heavens. But Jega didn’t budge. That was how he eventually conducted election we are praising today.
Yakubu has already displayed the same tenacity and buoyancy, anyway. He has proven to be adept at handling politicians and their machinations. See how he handled the problems they posed after the 2015 general elections. Many of them were licking their wounds inflicted by the card readers.
So they introduced a new gimmick. Or rather perfected an old one. During election, they hired tugs to cause violence in areas they knew their opponents had more electoral strength. Since violence is a key factor for voiding votes, they hoped INEC would do the needful. They expected the electoral umpire to cancel votes from their opponents’ controlled area. They expected INEC to declare them winners. It was a futile expectation.
Yakubu refused. All votes must count and be counted. Whenever they disrupted election to favour them, he called for a rerun. Until elections were held in all areas. So they named INEC, Inconclusive National Electoral Commission. The propaganda sold like hell. Like the propaganda during Jega’s card reader. The media, surprisingly, failed to show discernment. But Yakubu was resolute. Until politicians started behaving. So there was violence-free election in Edo, against all fears. Even Ondo was peaceful.
However, Prof Yakubu must pay attention to his men. People don’t do what you expect. They do what you inspect. As a referee, he sure needs the support of his linesmen. But many are now lovers of money. And the love of money is the root of all evil. The same money politicians possess in no small measures.
As 2019 approaches, money is going to be a big factor in the next election, more than ever before. His men, as well as the electorate, are going to be more susceptible to financial inducement. The work, therefore, must start now.