Sometime in the month of August 2022, the show I am a part of hosted the spokesperson to the Presidential Candidate of the African Democratic Congress (ADC), Adeniyi Kunnu.
We spoke about the the possibility of collaboration between smaller political parties in Nigeria toward winning elections on the WAYS Show Africa (a primetime show on DSTV Ch 408/Startimes Ch 308). During the conversation, our guest talked about the ADC and the passion of its Presidential Candidate — Dumebi Kachukwu — for a better Nigeria and the willingness of the party (which is not a small party) to collaborate towards a common goal.
The lead anchor and creator of WAYS Show, Osayuwamen Saleh, also opined that for there to be an efficient collaborative effort, it might be necessary for the smaller parties to read the room while making their decision. It was on the back of this that i asked Mr Kunnu if he thinks that the presidential candidate of his party, ADC, will be open to stepping down for a possible merger towards winning the presidential election.
His response was clear, Mr Kachukwu would be the one to make that heavy decision. He added that investments have been made, to which I asked, what is the return on the investments?
You can watch the full conversation below:
That conversation got me thinking about the cost of running a campaign in Nigeria and our expectations of these candidates after having spent so much to convince us to vote for them. Responding to my latter question, Mr Kunnu said the ADC’s ROI is the need to contribute toward emancipating the country from the shackles of retrogression.
If this response is anything to go by, history will quickly remind us of the merger fall out between smaller political parties in the lead up to the 2019 general elections involving people like KIngsley Moghalu, Fela Durotoye, Obi Ezekwesili, and others.
This begs to question the intent of our politicians — present and past.
Where do we draw the line with regard to spending for campaigns? There is a supposed campaign spending limit, although a report published just last month revealed that a new campaign spending ceiling in an amendment to the nation’s electoral law passed by lawmakers has jacked up this limit by about 150 per cent to 400 per cent.
Before its amendment, Nigeria’s electoral law provides that “a political party sponsoring the election of a candidate shall, within three months of the announcement of the results of the election, file a report of the contributions made by individuals and entities to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).” To which majority of the political parties were constantly in clear violation of, as reported.
The new campaign spending ceilings in the bill will now allow presidential candidates to increase their cash spend from the current N1 billion to N5 billion, while governorship candidates will be able to spend N1 billion and not the current N200 million. And of course, certain loopholes ensure that breaking this law is not rocket science.
Running a campaign is not cheap, however, it might be time for us to begin to question the source of the funds used for this purpose. Do we look to adopt crowdfunding as a major source of campaign funds? Will citizens be willing to become investors in their future rather than auctioneers of it?
Nigerians claim to be dissatisfied with the current state of the nation and there is a general consensus that good governance is the way to better the nation. Now, if we are all on the same page on this, why is so difficult to focus on ideology-based politicking rather than selflish or highest bidder politicking?