‘Nigerian Politicians See Public Office as Wealth Mine, Not Service’

David-Chyddy Eleke in Awka

A professor of political theory and methodology of political inquiry in the department of Political Science, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Anambra State, has frowned at the attitude of Nigerian politicians towards public service.

Biereenu-Nnabugwu at the weekend stated this while delivering the 102nd inaugural lecture as the guest lecturer at the university with the theme: ‘Reflections on the state, classical political thoughts and the cradle: from a perspective reflection’.

Speaking to prominent individuals at the event, Biereenu-Nnabugwu, who is the Vice President of Nigeria Political Science Association, said two factors prompt Nigerian politicians to aspire to public offices.

According to him, “In October 2021, as the 8th Kalu Ezera lecturer, in a lecture titled: ‘Postcoloniality, State and State Behaviour in Nigeria: A Study in Politicology’, I identified two toxic cleavages in Nigeria’s contemporary social order as federal character and wealth mine.

“The take-home pay of the members of the Nigerian National Assembly offers two ready illustrations of wealth mine syndromes associated with the contemporary character of the state in Nigeria.

“Rather than work on commodity production and exchange, the character of state behaviour in Nigeria generates and revolves on non-commodity incomes.

“In the context of Nigeria, we observe that politics and statecraft are seen as a ‘business’ with very high return rather than as an altruistic public service motivated by the good of all, or what J. J. Rousseau identifies as General Will.

“Information available to the public indicate that the emoluments of Nigeria’s federal legislators is not only second highest in the world and “can comfortably pay at least a parliamentarian every month in eleven countries.”

Biereenu-Nnabugwu lamented that Nigeria’s emergent and aspiring ruling class merely focus their attention on the superstructure, while their struggle for control of the state is a process or access to the material base.

“The import is that the ruling or political class see the state as a wealth mine to be plundered in the process of primitive accumulation.”

Also, the Vice Chancellor of the university, Prof Charles Esimone, who was represented by Prof Angela Ufele at the lecture praised Biereenu-Nnabugwu for his forthrightness in carrying out researches, which she said has made him one of the most renowned professors of political science in Nigeria.

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