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Where money is welcome in politics.

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Nigeria

Simon KolawoleThis Day

Why aren’t the rich running for office? asked Simon Kolawole in Lagos’ This Day. Last year, the buzz in Lagos State was that oil baron Femi Otedola was going to run for governor. And most people assumed that industrial giant Alhaji Aliko Dangote would make a bid for the presidency in 2007. Instead, both men have now proclaimed they have no interest in politics and want to concentrate on running their businesses. The conventional wisdom held that the refusals were appropriate; after all, nobody should buy his way into high office. But Nigeria desperately needs leaders with business and managerial experience. In most countries, you make your fortune and then go into politics “to give something back to the society.” Here, though, “you go into politics to make your money and take something away from the society.” Looting the treasury is the reward for winning. “The time has come for a reform of our political mentality.” Let the entrepreneurs step up and lead. “The mission to salvage Nigeria” is too important to be left to politicians. “The political space must be broadened so that Nigeria can catch up with the civilized world.”

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