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HIGH COST OF ELECTIONEERING IN NIGERIA

HIGH COST OF ELECTIONEERING IN NIGERIA
POLITICAL SCIENCE PROJECT TOPICS AND MATERIALS ON HIGH COST OF ELECTIONEERING IN NIGERIA

 

CHAPTER ONE

                                             INTRODUCTION

1.1              Background to the Study

Tradition of electioneering campaigns in Nigeria too often inclines towards the bandwagon syndrome. Of course, this is because the electorates are bedevilled by poverty and limited access to quality education. The electioneering seasons in Nigeria are normally times for publicity-blitz designed to sway the electoral masses. This electioneering publicity is rampantly found in media and particularly, in the social networks that enjoy a boom during electioneering seasons. The cost for electioneering campaigns is now on the increase as well as outrageous. In fact, Nduneche (2015) reported that according to data gathered from different agencies and reports from advertisement regulatory bodies, five days before the March 28th elections, advertising cost political parties, friends and well wishers of those seeking elective office a princely sum of 4.9billion naira.

Money is fundamental if political parties want to be seen to be performing their statutory obligations within their respective spaces. Without the necessary funds, it would be certainly difficult for politicians and political parties to articulate and showcase their ideas and visions to the electorate. Political parties, therefore, require funds to be able to sell their programmes and manifestoes to the public. It is only by so doing that the electorate can make informed choices about which political party to support or not. Highlighting the importance of funding, Doorenspleet (2003) postulated that, funding determines the number of campaign staff, the number of vehicles to reach voters in the country, the amount of advertising on radio and television. In a nutshell, funding can substantially aid party institutionalization. Unfortunately, party funding, especially campaign financing globally but particularly in most African countries is fraught with despicable levels of corruption. Kura (2011) argued that the manner in which parties fund their activities has been quite embarrassing. He stressed that series of corruption scandals have affected parties and their leaders. He pointed out that in Italy, France, Belgium, Spain, Germany and the United Kingdom (UK), parties have been involved in funding scandals and violation of funding regulations. Similarly, studies have evidently documented the growing increase in corruption through political party funding.

The over ambition to acquire and control of political power by the two major political parties in Nigeria (PDP and APC) left them with the choice of engaging in all kinds of donations by the movers and shakers of each political parties. This was seen when a dinner to raise funds for the reelection of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, the 21 PDP-controlled states donated more than N1 billion. Private firms were also part of the donors. Unnamed oil and gas sector players were said to have donated N5 billion to the campaign; “those in Real Estate and Building donated N4bn; Transport and Aviation, N1bn; Food and Agriculture, N500m; Power, N500m; Construction, N310m; Road Construction, N250m; National Automative Association, N450m; and Shelter Development Limited, N250m (Olalekan, 2014). These instances reveal the huge amount of financial resources plunged into electioneering campaigns. So mindboggling are the funds plunged into electioneering campaigns as attested by the 2015 elections, knowing fully well that the Section 91 of the Amended Electoral Act (2010) stipulates that the maximum election expenses to be incurred by a candidate in Presidential elections should not exceed N1 billion, similar ceilings are set for Governorship election at N20 million while election to the Senate and the House of Representatives are not to exceed N40 million and N20 million respectively. Also, no individual donation should exceed N1 million. Those limits have never been seen to be kept and of course, the law stipulating stiff penalties for contravening these limits has never been implemented.

Given the staggering volume of funds spent on electioneering campaign by the two

major parties APC and PDP during the 2015 elections, many corporate bodies especially in the media houses, as already been highlighted, were beneficiaries of the electioneering windfall. Apart from such organizations, it would be expected that employment opportunities in tens of thousands for political foot soldiers to advance the cause of either of the presidential candidates in all the nooks and carnies of the thirty six states of Nigeria, including Abuja should materialize. Unfortunately, it was not so. Besides, the over saturated labour market of Nigeria is such that it breeds a desperate labour force ready to take any amount as wage or allowance and under whatever conditions regardless whether their dignities were at stake.

This study therefore investigates the high cost of electioneering campaigns in Nigeria with a critical focus on the 2015 presidential election and probably makes some recommendations on its adverse effects on the economy.

1.2       Statement of the Problem

Given the staggering volume of funds spent on electioneering campaign by the two major parties APC and PDP during the 2015 elections, many corporate bodies especially in the media houses, as already been highlighted, were beneficiaries of the electioneering windfall. Apart from such organizations, it would be expected that employment opportunities in tens of thousands for political foot soldiers to advance the cause of either of the presidential candidates in all the nooks and carnies of the thirty six states of Nigeria, including Abuja should materialize. Unfortunately, it was not so. Besides, the over saturated labour market of Nigeria is such that it breeds a desperate labour force ready to take any amount as wage or allowance and under whatever conditions regardless whether their dignities were at stake. The foregoing having been said, there is the need for a rethink, with nearly two decades of uninterrupted democratic dispensation in Nigeria, little or no progress has been made as the standard of living keeps nose-diving. The winner takes it all approach to electioneering campaigns in Nigeria has not helped matters. The treasury at each transition/elections is basically emptied by an incumbent and his associates. Eventually and with this, Nigeria is trusted into continuous vicious cycle of poverty, high inflation rate and teaming unemployment rate.

1.3       Research Questions

The following are some of the questions which this study intends to answer:

i)                   what are the reasons for the reasons for the high cost of electioneering campaigns in 2015 presidential election?

ii)                 what the effects of the high cost of electioneering campaigns in 2015 presidential election on the Nigerian economy?

iii)               what are the factors responsible for the high cost of electioneering campaigns in 2015 presidential election?

1.4       Objectives of the Study

The main objective of this study is to examine the high cost of electioneering campaigns using 2015 presidential election as a case study. The specific objectives are:

i)                   to survey the reasons for the reasons for the high cost of electioneering campaigns in 2015 presidential election

ii)                 to investigate the effects of the high cost of electioneering campaigns in 2015 presidential election on the Nigerian economy

iii)               to analyse the factors responsible for the high cost of electioneering campaigns in 2015 presidential election

1.5       Significance of the Study

This study is designed to investigate High cost of electioneering campaigns in Nigeria with a focus on the 2015 presidential elections. It will give insight on the negative effects the high cost of electioneering campaigns had on the masses as well as the economy. The study will contribute to the existing literature and also serve as a foundation to future research on the high cost of electioneering campaigns.

1.6       Scope of the Study

The study will cover politicians, political party members, social scientists and students in Nigeria. It is believed that those are the sets of people from which accurate data can be got.

1.7       Limitation of the study

The researcher was only faced with the challenge of time as the time frame to carry out this study was too short for the researcher.

1.8       Definitions of Terms

The following terms were used in the course of this study:

Electioneering campaigns: This refers to the act or process of soliciting for support or votes for a given political party or candidate during election.

High cost: Relatively expensive

Presidential election: This is the election of any head of state whose official title is President

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