Heavy Spending Characterises 2015 Polls
HEAD or tail, Jonathan or Buhari, in another 24 hours, the 2015 Presidential elections would be over but the whooping amount spent on the campaign by political parties would remain in the history of time.
Precisely, the amount of money spent by the two major parties, People ’s Democratic Party (PDP) and Alliance Progressive Congress (APC) if added together could help turn the fortune of this nation around. Advertorial messages published in the national dailies and the electronic media since campaign commenced would have run into trillions of naira as at Thursday night which constitution allowed.
Without being partisan, a critical look into how much of the nation’s resources Political office seekers have spent on print, broadcast and social media campaigns just to scuttle each other chances of winning is alarming.
Last Monday, the All Progressives Congress Presidential Campaign Organisation (APCPCO) accused the President Goodluck Jonathan campaign organisation of frittering away N1trillion of the nation wealth to sponsor hate campaigns to tarnish the image of APC leaders.
Arguably, the leading party in this heavy spending campaign is the PDP while APC followed suit in order of frequency of appearance in the media.
“An average cost of a wrap around in some major national newspapers in Nigeria is between N15million to N20million and the Jonathan campaign place an average of five wrap around and front pages in a day in the last three months coupled with the billions of naira that have been spent on TV exposures on AIT, NTA and other television stations and radio stations across the country.
APC has also spent a huge amount of money on Party campaign and presidential campaign. Cost of advert placement done by APC is also in hundred of millions. In the past seven days, the money spent on political campaigns by political parties, friends and well wishers of those ‘politicians’ has been estimated to have cost nothing less than N4billion so far.
The share waste of nation resources political campaign got its climax in this 2015 polls, even to an extent that advert regulatory agencies cried fowl over publications of unapproved advert materials.
According to the APCPCO, the money was spent on advertorials in newspapers as well as sponsorship of damaging documentaries on the APC presidential candidate, Maj. Gen. Muhammadu Buhari(rtd.), and other party leaders. Director of Media and Publicity of the APC campaign, Mallam Garba Shehu, said this at a press conference at the party’s campaign headquarters in Abuja. The Peoples Democratic Party has however debunked this allegation, accusing, the APC of paranoia and desperation in its futile attempt to claim power.
Either through or false, those allegations will not be far from the truth. Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Alhaji Abdullahi Jalo, said, “It is now clear that the APC has nothing else to tell Nigerians, who have made up their minds to return President Goodluck Jonathan and the PDP. Ask them, how much is Nigeria’s budget? They should talk on issues and stop this propaganda.”
In an interview recently, erstwhile National Chairman of the Labour Party (LP), Chief Dan Nwanyanwu, gave a painstaking analysis of the role of money in politics in the country. He was apparently compelled to do so, because of persistent inquiries on why his party has never thought of fielding a presidential candidate. Rather, it would endorse that of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Nwanyanwu started his analysis by giving an instance when a Labour Party member intimated him with his intention to seek the presidential ticket of the party. He took time to outline the logistic requirements of candidate for the number one position in the land in a free and fair contest. One of them is that he must be ready to have polling agents in all the polling units across the country.
Since each of them will get at least N2000, the presidential candidate will require millions of Naira on the election day alone. Of course, the huge expenditure does not include other colossal amount of money the candidate must set aside for campaign items and rallies, as well as other logistics. Critics at different climes have always decried what they assume as the increasing dominance of money politics in the country.
The criticisms are basically against the corrupt manner some politicians have deploy fund in pursuing their political agenda. They question the source of such funds, which are often used to compromise the electorate. Criticism has also trailed the launching of campaign funds similar to the current scenario in the leading political parties. Globally, constitution provides benchmark on how much could be spent by any political campaign by any politician. Barack Obama for instance spent $730 million in his election campaign, and John McCain spent $333 million.
In a nutshell, Nigerians are likely to bear the brunt of the careless spending of some of our desperate politicians after elections. But the questions is should Nigerian politicians spend colossal amount of money that could ordinary turn the fortune of the nation around.
Some face book users have asked rhetorically that if a product is good, there will be no needs for much marketing. The issue of power problem that has nearly run the nation’s economy into comatose could be settled a trillion naira. Some claimed that on social media says that .
For instance, in 2008, candidates for office, political parties, and independent groups spent a total of $5.3 billion on federal elections. The amount spent on the presidential race alone was $2.4 billion, and over $1 billion of that was spent by the campaigns of the two major candidates: Barack Obama spent $730 million in his election campaign, and John McCain spent $333 million.  The total amount spent by Obama and McCain was a record at the time.
In the 2010 midterm election cycle, candidates for office, political parties, and independent groups spent a total of $3.6 billion on federal elections. The average winner of a seat in the House of Representatives spent $1.4 million on his or her campaign. The average winner of a Senate seat spent $9.8 million.
According to the report, the money for campaigns for federal office comes from four broad categories of sources: small individual contributors (individuals who contribute $200 or less); large individual contributors (individuals who contribute more than $200); political action committees, and self-financing (the candidate’s own money).
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