Cost of Nigeria’s Election
The Independent Electoral Commission of Nigeria recently said the 2023 General Elections would gulp over 300 billion naira. Many Nigerians have been shocked by the exorbitant price called by the commission. The budget seems to large for an election for a country that is borrowing to fund its budget and even pay basic salaries. The issue and matter now is what are the economic implications of this INEC budget for 2023 on Nigeria.
A History of Nigeria’s Election
Nigeria as a country has practised two system of government since its independence–military/authoritarian and federal/democratic systems. In the first republic, there was a federal and parliamentary system of government where citizens voted in their leaders. Even though this first election (1959 election) was conducted by the British, historians and political analysts state that it was rigged or structured in the favor of another region.
The second election of the first republic, conducted by the independent Nigerians, was marred by irregularities and widespread rigging, especially in the South-west or Western region. Thus, even though the country spent enough money to have the election planned and executed, it was rigged in favor of the ruling party or power.
The irregularity and the violence of the politics of this first region pushed some individuals in the military to attack the ruling elites and take over the country. However, second republic returned in 1979 as Nigeria’s fourth election held then. As at that time, the new constitution drafted was a federal and presidential system. The election was adjudged good or bad based on the winning and losing side.
Nevertheless, the second election of the second republic was reported to have been marred by many irregularities and rigging. This means most government or rather the people in power and the other elites never allow the people to decide. This, of course, has implications as military always intervened and seized power for a long time.
The supposedly third republic which would have returned in 1993 after the general elections that was considered one of the fairest and freest election, it was cancelled by the military government. Thus, the fund used in conducting the election was a waste same as that of others. The decision of the people does not stand thereby cutting off what should have been the success of the election.
The fourth republic election held in 1999 and was adjudged free and fair according to the winner and loser. Same can be written of 2003 elections that returned Olusegun Obasanjo’s PDP to power. Some politicians in the south-west accused the ruling party of rigging especially in its region where PDP took over most states.
2007 election was described as heavily rigged with impunity, even the president elected with the election, Umaru Musa Yaradua, admitted the election was rigged. The subsequent elections of 2011 and 2015 were considered mostly free and fair. In the 2015 election, for the first time, the ruling party lost the elections, and majority of the people were happy that their votes were counted.
The last election of 2019 was considered free and fair according to the winning party.
The economic implications of all these elections is that most of them are failed elections funded with large sums. Apart from a few of them, most of the elections brought up leaders who weren’t duly elected by the people thus marring democracy, fair representation and good performance. Now, you may wonder,
What are the economic implications of INEC budget for the 2023 elections on Nigeria?
Nigeria is a country badly soaked in debt right now, and would be needing every possible avenue to generate money or save funds. INEC presenting an over 300 billion naira budget seems surprising to most Nigerians. This is a country where most states are struggling to pay salaries.
Not minding the cost, election still have to be held, right? Yeah.
- Nigerians are about to earn from their government, especially young Nigerians. A good amount of the fund would be channeled towards providing jobs for those who would work in the election. Most at times the youth are sought after, so, a lot of youth will earn from the 2023 election.
- Firms contracted to provide the election material would improve on their spending and more jobs would be created.
- Nigeria and intending leaders gifting things to buy the favor of the voters is not dead yet. Poorer Nigerians are to expect goodies from their politicians this period ranging from car to cash to basic household foodstuff like rice and noodles. Of course, this has no serious economic implication other than temporarily satisfying hunger for these people.
- Hawkers and provision retailers would sell for polling units in very populated areas as Nigeria’s election is always massive and it takes time too. People would buy things to munch and water to drink.
- One of the negative economic implications is that the money to be spent on the election would be a good drain on the nation’s capital and expenses.
- Some Nigerians would also spend to vote as they’d travel to their different polling units to vote. Thus, spending their money and adding money to the wealth of rich transporters and their businesses.
Verdict and Conclusion on the economic implications of INEC budget for the 2023 elections on Nigeria
Nigeria cannot afford to be spending this amount of money every election year as it is too horrendous for the country. It would be better if Nigeria adopted a cheaper alternative and more efficient as the election is at most times rigged either by too much of under-aged voters or outright rigging in one way or another. The over 300 billion naira if cut by half is enough to build 6 general hospitals around Nigeria or a long federal road.
Nigeria cannot be spending that much in an election, even though it is very IMPORTANT. If Nigeria’s government wasn’t a wasteful government, cheaper alternative would have been sought.
It is time Nigeria has creative and sincere leaders who can leverage on the opportunities provided by the web structure to conduct its elections and save cost. True, jobs would be provided more by this current system but putting the money in infrastructural development would have earned Nigeria more.