A former Governor of Ondo State, Olusegun Mimiko, says the trend of monetising politics in Nigeria has been a cog in the wheel of the nation’s quest to have good leaders.
The erstwhile governor made the claim while speaking during the opening ceremony of the birthday celebration of renowned poet, Odia Ofeimun, in Lagos.
At the event tagged: “Taking Nigeria Seriously: A Conference In Honour of Odia Ofeimun”, Mimiko argued that the country’s politics cannot make progress when money becomes the major determinant of elective offices, not ability.
According to him, such situation has stifled the likes of Ofeimun, who should one of the leaders in the country, from operating effectively.
“Ordinarily, the volume of the work he has done should have had him enough.. even had enough resources to aspire.. but you know in this country, we do not reward scholarship,” the governor was quoted as saying at the event.
“If Odia, with his cerebral and oral endowment had had the opportunity to demonstrate what intellectuals can do in governance, perhaps we’ll be getting closer to a Nigeria of our dreams.
“You know there are some poets in government, they do well in governance. If it were a serious nation, he (Odia) would have been a governor but you know our politics is monetised that there seems to be no hope for the Odias of this world.”
Mimiko said such situation was indicative of the country’s flawed structure, hence the need for restructuring to enable Nigeria fully harness its potentials for national development.
Butterising his point, the former Governor stated the country cannot make progress as presently constituted because it is centrally governed.
He added: “Nigeria will never move forward until it is restructured.”
He however, said the likes of the poet and others positive about the country would continue to push for its restructuring.
Mimiko continued: “They were the revolutionaries and they spent a lot of their time putting their thoughts out.
“Where are we today? We thought that in a couple of years, the Nigeria of our dream will come to pass, a country that is progressing, a country that accurately addresses the fundamental needs of people.
“But we are not there yet. But we will keep striving, hoping. Some of us have rested our hope in a restructured Nigeria, perhaps, once it is restructured, we will be able to move forward.
“In a Nigeria that is restructured where merit will take its position, our country will move forward.”
Also Speaking, Ofeimun attributed the country’s struggles to lack of proper planning.
His words: “Nigeria has gotten used to not planning. People who do not plan, like they say, are planning to fail. That is where we are, we seem to have been planning to fail for too long.
“We must learn how to organise. The societies that are successful are the ones who organise at every level. If you are professionals you organise properly and you do not allow non-professionals to command the value in a community they don’t belong to.
“We must make all Nigerians, ethnic groups free if we want the country to be free. Nigerians are largely unfree. Our people are generally oppressed, at traditional levels and that creates the basis for the freedom in modern society in general.”