The 2015 Election Bounty Is Not Being Shared
It has been alleged that the 2015 expenditures for the 2015 Nigerian elections would be about N20 billion. This is a significant amount however one looks at it. But are all parts of the country getting the benefits of this expenditure? The more important question is why is the North's vote not being asked? Why is the election fever not being felt in the North?
When a presidential candidate visits a state or city, business men and women, small and big make out rather well. It is tourist
bonanza. Hotel rooms are sold out; taxi drivers increase their fare and work overtime; restaurants get big boosts; “mama put”
vendors make out like bandits; even street walkers walk with swagger as they cart away their loot. The biggest winners may be the
politicians whose support are traded. APC buys their support and PDP tries to outbid the APC offer and vice versa. Even traditional
rulers get big rewards for an honorary chieftaincy title. This happened/is happening in SW, SS and SE zones. Nothing is happening in
the North. If all the N21 billion is spent in the South it will make a big difference in the economy. Nigerian politicians must find out a
way to spread the goodies in both the North and the South.
APC's national convention was held in Lagos, a big southern city, and that made Lagos commerce sizzle even more than it used to.
PDP's convention was held in Abuja which is technically north but which is actually a neutral ground as it is a meeting place for true
North and true South. Abuja commerce like Lagos commerce was a beneficiary of this large gathering of loaded men and women.
One can therefore conclude that up to this time the North has not seen a kobo of the election expenditure.
As big as N21 billion is the bigger thing is the awareness that new rulers are about to be chosen for Nigeria. Every Nigerian ought to
know about it and where possible express their views either by showing up at the rallies or by doing a hefty business that would
remind him of 2015. In the above paragraph I advised politicians to take their campaigns up north also. But I am aware of the
reasons why both GMB and GEJ have not done so. A GEJ campaign bus was set on fire somewhere in the north and this was without
the president's presence. It could be interpreted as a warning to GEJ not to come up here. GMB who hails from the North has not
campaigned there either. Both may eventually head north but I am sure that both candidates are aware of the risk they may be
exposing their fellow citizens to by assembling a large crowd for campaigns. Terrorists love crowds as we have seen churches,
markets, mosques, etc., bombed with deaths numbering up to several hundreds. GEJ has stated that his election is not worth a loss
of a single Nigerian life. GMB I suppose has similar feelings.
What to do?
A door-to-door campaign might be the way out. Canvassers could be asked to knock on every northern door and pass out literature
mostly in Hausa language. Lesser known politicians like mayors of LGA could act as surrogates to GEJ and GMB and campaign in small
local areas. They could campaign on matters that affect the local areas only. TV and radio could become the media for reaching urban
populations and discussing national issues. A few public debates could be another means of reaching northern voters in the absence
of town hall type campaigning. These suggestions are not exhaustive but could point out to the candidates that they must ask for the
votes of our northern citizens and not take them for granted. A no campaign possibility in the North would benefit GMB more
because it appears that he may be seen in a more favorable light than GEJ.
It is important that the spending for the elections be shared fairly among Nigerian states and that our politicians seek the votes of all
Nigerians. There are obstacles but serious efforts ought to be made to include the north in the mood of the country. This effort
should be made before a second round of campaigns in the south.
Written by Benjamin Obiajulu Aduba.