Beyond Money Politics, How Nigeria Can Move to Idea-Based Politics

Beyond Money Politics, How Nigeria Can Move to Idea-Based Politics

Can someone tell me when the politics of ideas will begin in Nigeria? I am very unhappy that parties are electing flag bearers without considerations on clear visioning systems and roadmaps for the constituencies. I have called my home state (Abia) asking what the candidates are promising and proposing. The responses have been palpable: they will put roadmaps but they need to get in first.

Good people: that is the problem. We elect before we can ask what they can do. It should have been the other way – they clearly explain the manifestos and we decide, even at primaries, if they have accumulated enough capabilities to execute them.

I will suggest we improve this system. Imagine if Nigeria will have a law which will offer the following conditions on major offices (gubernatorial and presidential) with access to state or national treasuries:

  • No candidate can spend more than $50k during primaries in gubernatorial election.
  • No candidate can spend more than $500k during primaries in presidential election.
  • No candidate can raise more than $2k (individual) or $4k (corporate entity) throughout the election cycle.
  • All parties will receive federal funds to ensure their party forms do not cost more than $10k per candidate per office.
  • Once all primaries have been conducted, 6 universities (UI, UNN, UNICAL, ABU, UNIJOS and UDFS), chartered by law and rotated by INEC will do public polling across the nation at state and national levels:
    • Parties with at least 5% followership at state level will receive funding from federal fund to support the flagbearer in gubernatorial elections.
    • Parties with at least 10% aggregate national followership will receive federal fund to support the flagbearer in presidential election.
    • The amount will be determined and adjusted for inflation: gubernatorial and presidential will get $500k and $20 million respectively.
Uche Secondus – Chair of PDP (Source: Daily Post)

Largely, by removing money politics at scale, we can possibly move to idea politics. We need ideas to rule the nation and time for money politics and fractionalization must end.

With digital and electronic payment, Nigeria can execute this via BVN if strong criminal code deterrence is included. Yes, a violation means jail time. What we have is not working: winning party primaries should not be correlated with bank accounts.

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Just having a laugh while reading the piece, because it’s too idealistic to happen anytime soon. The reasons are very obvious.

First, to make it a law, you need a LEGISLATION, just take a look at both chambers of national assembly, and see if there’s a possibility of such bill going through second reading; do not bother about the outcome of the final votes.

Secondly, the universities must have the capability and strength of character to conduct a credible poll, otherwise you have a situation where desperate political parties will end up influencing those polls.

Again, you need strong institutions across board: beginning from INEC, then the security/intelligence agencies, CBN, judiciary, civil societies, etc; to be really performing at very high level. Once any of them derails, the entire process may be greatly affected, in a negative way of course.

Above all, you need ACTIVE citizens with a great deal of awareness, without which they may be incapable of probing and critically examining lies from politicians. You do not expect low information public, largely deficient when it comes to making choices that matter so much to their future, and somehow expect them to hold politicians accountable.


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