Updated: February 27, 2021
Anger, shock and revolt exploded in Nigeria this week resulting in a statement to Today News Africa on Saturday, after the ruling party, the All Progressives Congress, began selling its presidential nomination forms for $125,000 each or 45 million Nigerian naira, and the main opposition party, the People’s Democratic Party, began selling its forms for $33,000 each or 12 million naira.
The protests, started online, materialized in a strongly worded statement by the Socialist Party of Nigeria, which described the huge nomination fees as a “betrayal of workers and young people’s desire to play a role in the 2019 general elections”
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“It shows clearly how the mainstream political parties are dominated by the rich,” SPN said.
Why it matters: Most Nigerians are poor but their politicians crisscross the planet in private jets while the country falls apart under the heavy weight of gargantuan corruption with dilapidated infrastructure, lack of stable electricity, skyrocketing insecurity and widespread hunger and hopelessness. And as Nigerians go to the polls in February to elect a new president, a new national assembly and state lawmakers, many young people, the jobless and the poor have found themselves automatically eliminated by the astronomical nomination fees imposed by rich politicians who care little about the suffering masses.
Below is the full statement by the Socialist Party of Nigeria condemning the fees
It is not surprising that All Progressives Congress (APC) is charging as high as N45 million as presidential nomination fees while Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is charging N12 million for its nomination fees. Besides, being a betrayal of workers and young people’s desire to play a role in the 2019 general elections, it shows clearly how the mainstream political parties are dominated by the rich.
Going by their latest outrageously expensive nomination fees, the PDP and APC have proven that they are nothing but exclusive clubs of the rich and corrupt. They cannot serve as political vehicles to redeem Nigeria. Only the Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) which, besides having coherent alternative economic agenda to liberate Nigeria from decades of bondage, does not charge any fee for expression of interest and nomination forms can lead Nigeria to the Promised Land.
The nomination fees are part of the highly monetized and corrupt electioneering process aimed at perpetuating the rich and corrupt in power. The exorbitant nomination fees charged are meant to exclude workers and the masses from the political process and only use the masses as cannon folder in their electoral war fight. This is partly responsible for the emergence of pro-rich politicians in political offices that care less of the masses. Election in Nigeria has been converted to a commodity for the highest bidders; politics is the most profitable “business venture” in the country. This is one of the reasons the Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) stands for a political system that makes political offices unprofitable by making political office holders earn the wage of skilled workers commensurate to their qualification and subject all public offices to public control and scrutiny.
The electoral process is so monetized that election spending of the pro-rich parties in general elections on nomination fees, campaign funds, vote buying, bribery of security apparatus etc., is over N500 billion. These funds come largely from looted public funds, donations from big business/contractors/politicians that have benefited from juicy/fraudulent contracts and favourable government policies. Should these funds be invested on education and healthcare, tens of thousands of jobs will be created while education and healthcare will be improved upon.
The right to vote and be voted for is an inalienable right but APC, PDP and other pro-rich political parties have undermined this right. Directly linked to this injustice is the payment of N18,000 poverty minimum wage to the creators (workers) of wealth by the ruling elite while jumbo salaries and allowances are reserved for the rich political office holders. In the same way the basic things of life is the exclusive preserve of a few while the vast majority are condemned to a life of misery and poverty.
Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) charges zero Naira in order to give equal opportunity to all active members of the party to vote and be voted for- this is the corner stone of democracy. SPN will continue to hold on to these democratic tenets and we call on the working masses to join and build SPN as their party in the struggle to emancipate the poor and underprivileged from the shackle of oppression.