Dr. Emmanuel Ifeanyi Ani Delivers an Inter-College Lecture on Tackling the Monetization of Politics with a Points System

Dr. Emmanuel Ifeanyi Ani, a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Philosophy and Classics

Dr. Emmanuel Ifeanyi Ani, a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Philosophy and Classics, School of Arts, College of Humanities at the University of Ghana, has noted that “the extremely expensive cost of vying for political office has rigged electoral processes in modern democracies in favour of the super-rich, imposing plutocracy on mankind in the most forceful way in history.”

Dr. Ani made these remarks when he delivered an Inter-College Lecture Series on the Topic: “Tackling the Monetization of Politics with a Points System”.  The lecture which was held on November 18, 2021 was organised by the College of Humanities and chaired by Provost of the College and Acting Pro Vice-Chancellor in charge of Academic and Student Affairs, Professor Daniel Frimpong Ofori.

Dr. Ani set the tone of the lecture by explaining his choice of the topic which he believed would provoke some thinking and discussions. He opined that that the crux of the matter is that “contemporary democracy lacks any templates, guidelines or criteria for evaluating the merit of candidates for political office.” He lamented that because of this worrying fact, “three bad king makers” namely; money, charisma and promise-making had dominated the emergence of leaders. He cited Adolf Hitler and Idi Amin as examples in the charisma category.  He also showed that it is obvious worldwide that promises are worth very little in politics.  Addressing the worrying issue of monetization of politics in Africa, Dr. Ani traced several examples of electoral systems and their processes that favour only the corrupt and rich in society and where vote-buying was rampant.

The Lecturer also pointed out that two basic effects of monetization on determining leaders are political corruption and widening inequality, while government interventions and subsidies have been used to try to control the menace. For example, contribution and spending limits have been explored by several countries however, these measures have not produced the equalizing and sanitizing effects intended.

He argued that a points system is the answer and thus, awarding points or ratings to public office holders for achievements whilst in office and to new entrants for occupational and cross-occupational achievements before their political careers is essential. Dr. Ani proposed that, for incumbents, economy ratings, educational ratings, health ratings, security ratings and even peace ratings could be used.

The lecturer who has taught Critical Thinking and Practical Reasoning for several years at the University of Ghana and a member of the American Philosophical Association added that his work is not intended to present a designed and finished points system but a collection of suggestions that could be adopted. In his view, the predicament many countries face because of monetization of political systems is not a lost cause and could be rectified with further and intensive research by other individuals or groups who may adopt or possibly revise his proposal.  To demonstrate that the points system could make a significant difference because ratings regulate character and can shift the political arena from financial to performance intensification, the lecturer gave numerous examples of these effects in different areas of life where ratings are used.

In his concluding remarks, Dr. Ani reiterated that a system without points is aimless, rudderless and permits the dominance of too many misleading leadership indicators. However, by contrast, a points system introduces some quantification, systematization, and comprehensiveness in voter reasoning. The points system can also salvage political merit from political money without necessarily infringing on liberty.

Earlier in his welcome address, Dean of the School of Arts, Prof. Wazi Apoh, expressed excitement that in-person scholarly lectures had resumed and was pleased that the maiden lecture was delivered by a lecturer from his School.

Prof. Daniel Frimpong Ofori, Provost, College of Humanities

The Provost of the College of Humanities, in his initial remarks, introduced Dr. Ani as a learned scholar with many years of publishing and work in different countries; receiving many awards to his credit. Dr Ani’s research interests include Philosophy of Culture, Deliberative Democracy and Theistic Humanism.

In his closing remarks, Professor Daniel Ofori congratulated Dr Emmanuel Ani for rendering such insightful and thought-provoking views and suggestions on a timely topic such as this. He hoped that this would serve as an introduction to extensive discussion on the topic and bring about the much-needed change to our body politic.

The lecture which was streamed live on Zoom was attended by a cross-section of faculty and post-graduate students from the College of Humanities and other members of the University of Ghana as well as the public. The interactive segment saw a vibrant question and answer session from a cross-section of faculty and students as well as contributions from online participants.  

A cross-section of the participants