INCREASE IN CAMPAIGN SPENDING AN ANALYSIS ON NIGERIA POLITICAL SYSTEM
1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
In an attempt at distinguishing a state from the political system, Rummel R. J writes: A political system consists of the formal and informal structures which manifest the states sovereignty over a territory and people. It is the civil aspects of statehood. But a state through its life time may have many different political systems; Nigeria adopted the United States presidential system since 1979 which replaced the British parliamentary system of government at her independence in 1960.
Democracy entails the conception of election as the means of selecting political decision makers. Election is described as the pillar of democracy. Election is the back born of democracy and there is no democracy in the absent of election (Nnoli, O. 2006). Nigeria is a country with a long history of military rule with short history of Democracy, while democracy is seen as the most desirable and best system of government. Nigeria as a federation, has 36 states, a Federal Capital Territory (Abuja) and a 774 Local Government Area structure. It has a three tier of government-legislative, executive and judiciary as provided institutionally working in tandem for the growth and development of the country through the instrumentality of checks and balances and separation of powers.
There is a bicameral legislature – the Senate and the Federal House of Representatives (lower house/chamber) both commonly referred to as the National Assembly under the leadership of the Senate President and the Speaker respectively. While the National Assembly is the legislative arm under the Senate President/and Speaker, the Executive is under the President, the Judiciary interprets the laws initiated by the executive and made by the legislative arm.
This structure is replicated at the state and local government levels. While the Governor/Chairman are the (Executive), House of assembly/Councilor (speaker/leader) (Legislature) centralization of the judiciary. With time, the center becomes over concentrated with power, while the component units were appendages relying on their share of the “national cake” from the central government, influenced by the ruling political party. Political party is a group that agrees on some proposed policies and programs, with a view to promoting the collective good or furthering their supporters’ interests. This means that the political parties become platforms on which the politicians actualize the authoritative allocation of values, in a state.
Election in Nigerian is characterized by multi-party system of politics and systematic institutional arrangement. An understanding of the system of Nigeria elections, it needs a synergy provided by the link against the background of the previous election in Nigeria.
Finance cannot be kept aside in the political process. Political parties use money to implement their activities before elections, during elections and after elections,also is political office Aspirants need funds to properly remunerate their staff. Fox pointed out that money is needed to prints brochures, pamphlets, radio and television adverts, renting space for campaign offices (Fox 2010).
However, when explaining its costs and benefits one should stress that the misuse of money in politics has created major problems for political regime. Nigeria has history of poor governance characterized by corruption, social injustice and political instability, it is discovered and argued that money in Nigeria politics’ and the means of electoral financing, has shifted voting to vote buying in the 1960s during the second republic and later become pervasive and more wide domination; especially since 1999.
However decades of military rule has also distorted democratic social values and undermine democratic institution. Corruption has become pervasive in all cycle of public and private lives in Nigeria. It is not only abuse of political fund raising is the cause of this political corruption. The truth is that money is needed for sundry services and logistics such as mobilization for political campaigns and rallies, printing of posters and manifestoes, production of party emblems and other symbols etc. The only worry however, is the noticeable corrupting influence of money and vote buying in election and their negative impact on good governance in Nigeria political system. Unarguably, political parties have come to play significant and fundamental roles in most democracies. In spite these fundamental roles, the activities and operations of political parties, and of course their significant roles are sometimes taken for granted.
As political machines established to contest for, win elections, and wield governmental powers, they are critical link between the state and civil society, between the institutions of government and the groups and interest that operate within the society (Heywood, 2007: 271).
Although political parties often come under severe attacks by civil society for failing to substantially address society’s variegated challenges, we can certainly not afford to lose sight of the roles they play in a political and democratic process. Elsewhere, Ukase (2006: 184) has
Under scored the importance of political parties thus: Party system and party politics constitute the sub-structure or foundation of any viable and durable democratic order, for this provides insight into how programs of actions are articulated and how interests are formed and aggregated in the society. Given these enormous responsibilities, the success or failure of any political arrangement depends to a large extent on the nature and character of its political parties and party system.
The functions of political parties have already been explicated elsewhere by scholars and, therefore, need no replication here (Ukase, 2006; Heywood, 2007; Salih, 2003; Randall, 1988; Clapham, 1985 and Kura, 2011). Be that as it may, Heywood (2007: 276) has listed the broad functions of political parties to include the following: representation, elite formation and recruitment, goal formation, interest formation and aggregation, socialization and mobilization and organization of government.
In this connection, there are dangers in sweepingly generalizing about the functions of parties. For instance, while political parties in Nigeria system open to electoral contests and competitions are perceived as bastions of democracy, regime parties that enjoy a monopoly of the political and democratic process are seen as instruments of manipulation and control. That said, money is critical if political parties must be seen to be performing their statutory obligations within their respective spaces. Without the necessary funds, it would be certainly difficult for politicians and political parties to articulate and show case their ideas and visions to the electorate.
Political parties, therefore, require funds to be able to sell their programs and manifestoes to the public. It is only by so doing that the electorate can make informed choices about which political party to support or not. Underscoring the importance of funding, Doorenspleet (2003: 182) states that, “funding determines the number of campaign staff, the number of vehicles to reach voters in the country, the amount of advertising on radio and television, and so on.” In a nutshell, funding can substantially aid party institutionalization. Unfortunately, party funding, especially campaign financing globally, particularly in most African countries is fraught with despicable levels of corruption. For example, Hopkin (cited in Kura, 2011: 271-272) argues that the manner in which parties fund their activities has been quite embarrassing. He stressed that series of corruption scandals have affected parties and their leaders.
John Gardner, founder of the interest group Common Cause, once stated, “There is nothing in our political system today that creates more mischief, more corruption, and more alienation and distrust on the part of the public than does our system of financing elections.”In a nutshell, Gardner’s statement sums up the general assumptions underlying the arguments made in favor of campaign finance regulation: first, there is too much money being spent in political campaigns; second, this money has a corrupting influence, buying both votes and elections and thereby excluding ordinary citizens from the political process; and finally, the growth in campaign spending has made the electoral process in some way less “democratic.”
Suffice to state that copied western-style political system, have inherent challenges which are managed with a compelling sense of patriotism- a very rare feature in Nigeria, in Nigeria political system, the issue of party campaign financing is also fraught with a lot of controversies and scandals. For example, studies have shown that in some countries such as South Africa and Botswana, where private and foreign donations to political parties are not subject to any regulations, the dominant (ruling) parties have continued to attract substantial domestic and foreign donations to the detriment of the opposition parties (Doorenspleet; 182).
Apart from the fact that these ruling parties have better access to public and private funding, they also have better access to state resources, thereby increasing their opportunity for further electoral success. Nigeria has had its own fair share of campaign funding palaver. For instance, since the return of democratic governance in 1999, political party campaign financing have remained an issue of conjecture granted that some efforts have been made to reform laws regulating political campaigns and party funding, campaign financing and their abuses thereof
- Have remained a recurring decimal.
- In cognizance of all this, Nigeria have written into their electoral frameworks, rules and procedures on campaign spending: to rescue democracy from money bags, the influence of money, also, to prevent the undue use of state money, and to preserve the people’s sovereignty.
- Section 92(3), or Section 92(6) of the Electoral Act 2010, (as amended) 2010 Electoral Act, as amended, caps spending limits as follows:
- Presidential election – N1 billion,
- Governorship- N200 million,
- Senatorial – N40 million,
- House of Representatives candidate – N20 million, and
- House of Assembly – N10 million.
- Section 92 (3) of this enabling law also requires every political party to submit, six months after every election, an audited revenue and expenditure report of the party, failing which penalties are stipulated.
But every year the abuse of this law yield to increase in campaign spending, Political campaign should be more of “account of stewardship” than money spending or show of might. Each Governor was reportedly asked by the ruling APC party to bring N250 million ahead of the party’s mid-year National Convention 2018. When the public protested, recently, the party disclaimed the news even if it added that it was the responsibility of members to pay outstanding dues. That the APC needs N6 billion for its pre-election Convention.
In the just concluded Ekiti Governorship primaries, an APC Gubernatorial aspirant who claimed he spent N100 million, got just 11 votes! I wonder how much the eventual winner spent. This story and similar ones, underscore the politics of increase campaign spending, the threat it poses to electoral integrity and outcomes, the enforceability of electoral laws, and the freedom of the people to choose (electorate sovereignty)
In Nigeria every political aspirant is expected to also have a political structure at each ward representatively, at the local government level and executives as private staff, just as prototype of political party structure. All this workers are serviced during election year and all this cost money.
The government is not left out on this, on 18th July the presidency announced that they are looking for fund to finance the 2019 election in which the said amount required was estimated at #242 billion, while in the previous elections 2011 election – #85 billion spent, and 2015 – #93 billion spent, bring it to 180% increment in less than 4years a country the economy is struggling and is raved with insecurity.
It is against this background that this essay critically interrogates political parties and election/campaign financing in Nigeria, with specific emphasis on the two main presidential candidates (President Goodluck Jonathan of the People’s Democratic Party “PDP” and General Mohammed Buhari of the All Progressive Congress [APC]) in the 2015 general elections. This essay also provides answers to the following questions: what are the constitutional and statutory limits of political parties with respect to campaign financing in Nigeria system.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The first key argument of this research, therefore, after the legal, cultural and socio-political, context analyzed, is that increase in campaign spending is a big problem in Nigerian politics, and that money poses the biggest threat to our democracy. Campaign spending is determined by the way it is been raised, the donors and contributors, In Nigeria, our experience has been that political office holders take loans, borrow money from Godfathers which has to be repaid with interest and at a cost, sell their property if they have any, solicit for money from friends and corporate organizations who are also at best, investors looking for latter-day return on investment. Like cases in Oyo state, when Chief Lamidi Adedibu fell out with Governor Rasheed Ladoja because he insisted on a share of the Governor’s security vote. In Anambra state, Governor Chris Ngige ran into troubled waters because he refused to share privileges with the man that allegedly put him in power.
Increase in campaign spending has brought about impunity, as State administrative, state instruments and resources were used by incumbent officials to facilitate political party activities thereby turning political process into corrupt practices.
Political party primaries became a cash affair, leading to the possible emergence of the highest bidders, rather than best candidate. Diversion of Public funds, public funds are often diverted to finance party and election activities. The ongoing probe into the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) to former President Goodluck Jonathan has revealed that public funds of US$2.1billion meant for equipping the Nigeria military were diverted to finance party activities for the 2015 general elections (Falodi, 2016). Increase in campaign spending has brought about electoral insensitiveness and lack of political will, no more electoral sovereignty. It has made Nigeria Democracy very expensive, in the madness of second tenure
1.3 AIMS AND OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
The main aim of this work is to examine analytically the entire process of increase in campaign spending and analysis on Nigeria political system. Other specific objectives includes:
- To examine the rules and regulations on political party financing in Nigeria’s system.
- To evaluate whether the maximum financial limit set has been adhered to by political parties and contestants on Nigeria political system.
- To explore the impact of corruption on the process of financing the General Elections and how it affect the outcome of the election.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The outcome of this research study is to evaluate the impact of increase in campaign spending on Nigeria political system by addressing the following questions:
- What are the rules and regulations on political party financing in Nigeria system?
- How does the maximum financial limit set has been adhered by political parties and contestants on Nigeria political system?
- What explore the impact of corruption on the process of financing the General Elections and how it affect the outcome of the election?
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
To determine increase in campaign spending on Nigeria political system which the following hypothesis would be tested:
H0: Rules and regulations have positive significance relationship on political party financing in Nigeria system.
H1: Rules and regulations have no significance relationship on political party financing in Nigeria system.
H0: Maximum financial limit set have statistically significance on political parties and contestants on Nigeria political system.
H1: Maximum financial limit set have no statistically significance on political parties and contestants on Nigeria political system
1.6 THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The significant of the study is focused on increase in campaign spending on Nigeria political system.Money cannot be kept aside in the electoral and political process, campaigns cost money, as political office aspirants need funds to properly remunerate their staff. Their chances of winning election are also determined by the amount of money that they are able to raise and spend, Fox pointed out that money is needed to prints brochures, pamphlets, radio and television adverts, renting space for campaign offices (Fox 2010).
And Nigerian voters has been made to believe that he who has the money to spend should determine the future, this ideology have not been able to get the best of leadership or candidate through the political system, this research seeks to know how this affect Nigeria political ideology at this period we are getting set for general election.
1.7 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The scope of this study centered on increase in campaign on analysis of Nigeria political system of the general election, it covers the political parties of 2015 general election.
1.8 DEFINITIONS OF TERMS
- Campaign: Campaign is a planned set of activities that people carry out over a period of time in order to achieve something such as social or political change. If someone campaigns for something, they carry out a planned set of activities over a period of time in order to achieve their aim.
- Campaign Spending: Campaign finance refers to all funds raised to promote candidates, political parties, or policy initiatives and referenda. Political parties, charitable organizations, and political action committees (in the United States) are vehicles used in aggregating funds to keep campaigns alive.
- Political System: A political system is a system of politics and government. It is usually compared to the legal system, economic system, cultural system, and other social systems
- Democracy can be defined in various ways, but the most popular definition is by Abram Lincoln of America. He defined democracy as the government of the people, by the people and for the people; a form of government that is rule in the interest of majority.
- Law this is a systemof rules and guidelines which are enforced through social institutionsto govern behavior, wherever possible. It shapes politics, economics and society in numerous ways and serves as a social mediator of relations between people.
- Federal is a system in which several states unite under a central authority but are independent in internal affairs.
- State is referred to a legal political entity that is comprise of the following: permanent population, a defined territory, a government and the capacity to enter into relations with other states.
- Government isthe system or body of law by which a state is governed.
- Politics is a human effort of aspiring for position or power to rule others.
- Nationalism is the strong desire or love for one’s nation. It is a strong sentimental attachment to one’s nations (Akamere and Ola)
- Political party: Political party is an organized group of people, often with common views, who come together to contest elections and hold power in government. The party agrees on some proposed policies and programs, with a view to promoting the collective good or furthering their supporters’ interests.
- Campaign finance: Campaign finance refers to all funds raised to promote candidates, political parties, or policy initiatives and referenda.
- Patrimonialism: Patrimonialism is a form of governance in which all power flows directly from the leader. This constitutes essentially the blending of the public and private sector. These regimes are autocratic or oligarchic and exclude the upper and middle classes from power.
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