“……they would come to me and say we want to go here, bring money; we want to do this, bring money; we want to do that, bring money; I gave all my savings, nothing again to give. They came one day, I said I was not going to give more money because I have nothing to give you…”
A former Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mike Okiro, has revealed how politicians in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) lured him to contest the senatorial election in the territory and collected all his savings.
Mr Okiro, who was IGP between 2007 and 2009, revealed this in Abuja during a political programme organised by a group, New Nigeria Dream Initiative (NNDI). It is not clear when the programme was held.
He said after he left office, a group of politicians prevailed on him to contest for the senatorial election in the FCT and gradually depleted all his life savings.
His revelation, published by Daily Trust newspaper, comes amidst the condemnation of money politics in the election process of the 2023 general elections.
In the last one week, candidates of political parties emerged through the same process of buying of delegates.
Aside from buying of delegates, other monetising factors which Nigerians have condemn include high cost of nomination forms.
Nigerians are also complicit
While lamenting the role of politicians, Mr Okiro, who hails from Rivers State, South-south Nigeria, said the electorate are the main problem of the government.
He urged Nigerians to always reject bribes given to them by politicians if they want progress.
“Nigerians will talk about the leadership deficiency, but I say no, that is not enough! It takes two angles! If leaders have deficiency, we have followers’ complacency! Because if leaders are behaving, we just laugh, wave at them, and say walk and go! And they will do the same thing again.
“But if we say no! Enough is enough, they change! You go, they give you money for votes so that you can vote for somebody whether the person can perform or not! They give you N5, 000 and you look for four years. That means the N5, 000 is your due for four years.
“I am talking about this thing because once in a time, the politicians have faults but we have more faults than the politicians. I have an experience, let me share the experience, I corrected myself and I said bye bye to that thing.
“I contested election in Abuja here, Senate. I was on my own when they called me to come and contest. I said I have just retired, they said no, come and contest! I said okay, I will discuss with my wife. I told my wife and she said I am afraid.
“So, they would come to me and say we want to go here, bring money; we want to do this, bring money; we want to do that, bring money; I gave all my savings, nothing again to give. They came one day, I said I was not going to give more money because I have nothing to give you.
“They told me the former man was not doing very well but I should come and try. You want me to give more but where do I get money from? I said okay, let’s do it this way, assuming I now go to borrow money or sell property to give to you, and I am elected, of course, the first thing I will do is to pay back that debt and all the property I sold, I buy them back.
“I know that after four years, there will be another election, I will reserve money for that election so that I will not borrow again. You people are the fault of this government. We should say no to election vote sellers.”
He urged Nigerians to vote for individuals with competent character, and not just focus on political parties.
“We’re not going to follow bandwagons, we are going to vote for people irrespective of their political parties. It can be A B C D or UAW or whatever party. We will look at individuals. Is he good?
“Look at his track records! Look at people who are qualified, not where they come from, irrespective of the party they belong to, to make sure that if they rule us, the dividend of democracy will reach everyone,” he said.