It is a season of Spartan political campaigns.
I am sure you have noticed that “money is not flowing” this season as it did in 2015 when there was a blizzard of dollars.
Everyone, who had hoped to make quick money from the campaigns, is gritting his teeth. But what could be responsible for the “slush money drought”?
Well, I have been reliably informed that the government through its agency, the EFCC, prevailed on banks not to lend money to politicians for campaigns.
Banks are not lending money to politicians for campaigns!
In the past, banks give loans to politicians for campaigns in the hope that after the elections, the money is paid back with interest and of course, “patronage”.
And the dollar, being the abettor currency for “monepolised” political campaigns here, is used to water every deal, greed, and every rapacious appetite; speculators work overtime, the economy sputters; there is a strain on the naira, and then, there is artificial inflation.
I understand that the EFCC held a meeting with bank chiefs where it advised them to desist from giving depositors’ funds as loans to politicians for campaigns.
Is it not surprising that as of yesterday the dollar was N362, contrary to speculations that it will hit the roof at this time?
I recall, there was a politician, who took a loan, in the region of billions of naira, to finance is governorship campaign in a state in the south-west in 2015; he lost the election, which he had thought, he would win. Unable to defray the debts he started a fight with the banks he borrowed the money from. AMCON eventually had to seize his property.
There are many examples like this. Banks give loans to politicians during campaigns in the hope that they will get the money back with interest, but most importantly in the hope that they will get “juicy patronage” when the individual or party wins.
Most times, the loans are not given explicitly for “campaigns”, but through other channels. However, the end is for political campaign. Sometimes, the expectations – between politician and bank - go south, and depositors’ funds are lost in the process.
There is a plug now.
I know it is tough. I am gritting my teeth as well, as I write this. But I think for the sake of de-emphasising money politics and bringing some discipline into the political system, this drought is “bearable”.
But it is tough.
Fredrick is a media personality.
He can be reached on Facebook: Fredrick Nwabufo, Twitter: @FredrickNwabufo