Democracy in Nigeria is threatened with the undue monetisation of the process. In spite Nigeria’s Constitution and the Electoral Act making provisions to reduce the influence of money in politics, focus has only been limited to campaign finance, for which ceilings have been set.
Recent political parties’ scheming of exploitation of office seekers through the exorbitant expression of interest form fees, clearly gone contrary to the spirit of the country’s Constitution and the Electoral Act regarding the role of money in politics.
The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has fixed the cost of its presidential forms at N100 million, expression of interest form is N30 million while the nomination form will cost N70 million. N50 million for both nomination and expression of interest forms for governorship ticket.
While Senate and House of Representatives aspirants are to pay N20 million and N10 million respectively. Peoples Democratic Party fixed N40 million as the cost of forms for presidential candidates seeking election on its platform. Expression of interest form is put at N5 million, the nomination form is put at N35 million. Governorship ticket expression of interest form goes for N1 million while the nomination form is N20 million. For Senate, the expression of interest is N500,000 while the nomination form is put at N3 million. The House of Representatives expression of interest form is N500,000 while the nomination form is N2 million.
Indeed, Nigerians expressed surprise at the amount, fixed by both the All Progressives Congress and the People’s Democratic Party for their Presidential tickets ahead of the 2023 Election. The price placed on participation is the very height of political insensitivity. Nigerians would recall how in 2014, Muhammadu Buhari, told Nigerians that he had to borrow N27m to buy his nomination form from his Bank. The sale of the same forms now at N100m, is an increase of 370 per cent.
Nigerians ask if the parties consider Implications of outrageous fees to the polity of high monetary Investment in electoral contests right from the time aspirants show interest in elective positions leads to desperation, electoral malpractices and vote buying. This fees placing by the political parties will prevent them from presenting qualified candidates because only money-bags politicians will be able to purchase the forms at exorbitant expression of interest form and nomination fees placed by the parties.
There is need for urgent revisiting of this ugly trends of money in politics by all stakeholders especially at the excessive monetised electioneering process, this will not urgur well for free, fair and credible elections.
Reducing the influence of money in politics is to expand the space of participation by reducing nomination fees instead to prevent visionary and promising Nigerians access to the forms from running for electives positions through the major parties.
Despite the negative consequences of monetised electioneering, the trends have been growing on an alarming rate to consolidate elite rule as well as the political exclusion of the non-elite.
The fees by the APC and PDP for their aspirants and other electives positions in the forthcoming elections are a far cry from 2015 and 2019 fees which were considered too high. This tells the true character of the country’s political parties which have been reduced to mere elections winning machines at all cost at same time encourage politicians defecting from one party to the other in search of platforms with strong elections winning opportunities.
In addition, the money-bags politicians class appears to hold the belief that votes are commodities that could be bought off from the electorates and once paid for, the electorates are robbed of the power to demand accountability. Money politics is driven by the high level of poverty in the country.
With 2023 elections fast approaching, can electorate expect competent and self centred politicians have role to play in salvaging the country from further drift of more challenging than where we are now?. Money has become the deciding factor in Nigerian politics which greatly has consequence of bad governance.
Dukawa writes in from Kano and can be reach at email@example.com