Politics in Nigeria they say is a game but it is also business going by the fact that Nigerian politicians are the richest in the world.
On like what is practiced in the West, Nigerian politicians do not need the admiration of the masses to win elections, so they often think.
There is a total different game to play when it comes to politics in Nigeria, for example, your money speaks for you first. This is where the godfathers try to weigh your worth, investigate your background or find out the Dons you have links with.
First things first
Before nursing a gubernatorial ambition nowadays, it is expected that you either had a federal appointment or have been a law maker at the National Assembly for a tenure or in the case of Reps. two tenures at least.
If you’re coming from the business angle, you might have had business contact with well to do politicians who sees you as an honest person worthy to be lifted to their class.
How to contest and win gubernatorial elections in Nigeria
Contesting Governorship elections in Nigeria has a process and not the usual play of pasting posters around towns and villages like those who are not serious do.
Once you start nursing ambition of becoming a governor, you need to first start identifying and relating with those who actually make Governors in their respective States. For example, Ahmed Bola Tinubu in Lagos, IBB in Niger, Atiku Abubakar in Adamawa State and George Akume in Benue State, to list but a few.
You need to develop a strong relationship with these calibers of Men in your State and win their trust, then you can be sure of having their support when the time is due.
They may not even need your money at first, but may invest hugely in your gubernatorial project. Just like any other business, when you win be sure they will have to reap heavily what they’ve invested.
Can the budget of N2 billion be enough?
Firstly we need to consider what the money is needed for.
Before embarking on this journey, think of first the State convention where the State Excos will emerge. Last year (2021) during the APC state convention in Benue State, an elstwhile Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Nigeria, Hon. Mike Aondoakaa supported the convention with N30 million and also gave the state leader of the party N15 million to take care of his visitors. This should serve as a guide.
Following this should be consultations which should be followed in this order:
1. Consultation at Local Government level: You need to go round the state informing stakeholders and delegates of your ambition. At this stage there is no need for posters and billboards yet. For a state like Benue with 23 local governments, N66 million (N2 million per local government) may be enough.
2. Consultation at the intermediate level: After the local government consultations, you need to inform stakeholders at the intermediate level though this is not the same with other states anyway. But for Benue it is necessary and this should cost about N50 million since an intermediate area in Benue consist of at least two Local Governments.
3. Consultation with Zonal party Excos: At the Zonal level, the Excos are drawn across the local governments within that Zone which is headed by a State deputy chairman of the party. At this level N5 million may just be okay ( N15 million for the three senatorial zones).
4. Consultation with State Excos: You need to also inform the state Excos of your party that you want to contest and they are the key people you need.
These group of people also have control over delegates at the local government level too. N5 million may be okay.
5. Consultation with traditional council: During the 2015 electioneering in Benue State, Hon. Terhemen Tarzoor of People’s Democratic Party (PDP) gave the Tiv traditional council N50 million, the Idoma traditional council N30 million with Igede inclusive. So this should serve as a guide.
6. A second visit to the State leader of the party. Rumour had it that in 2019 Sam Ode in Benue State gave the leader N150 million to be Jime’s running mate. This also should serve as a guide.
After consultation with relevant stakeholders, it is wiser to consider having a campaign office and set up a campaign organization. This too involves at least N10 million.
This is also the period that posters and billboards becomes relevant and important.
Sourcing delegates for primary election
As a guber aspirant you should know that having delegates in your control is as good as wining the primary elections.
Each party is expected to present just one candidate out of the many aspirants so it is only delegates at this level that will determine whether you will become the standard bearer of the party.
Now sourcing delegates from each local government of the state should cost at least N700 million. This involves paying for their accommodation in the state capital during convention for primary election, feeding allowances and buying of their rights or franchise.
The leader of the party and stakeholders are also involved in this sharing too.
Post primary budget
After the primaries, if you emerge as the winner of the primaries then you proceed to implementing your post primary election budget.
Now the relief here is that, some people may begin to invest in your project at this stage.
This is the period you are expected to visit religious leaders, market unions and associations, student unions, youths, widows and so on.
This is also when campaign offices are needed in every town and settlement. Equipping the offices and allowances for those you may appoint to represent you there.
At this stage vehicles are also needed including a Hilux in each local government. These Hiluxs are mounted with speakers and an amplifier, a generator and sound mixer.
This stage also needs armed security personnels to guide your properties and yourself.
Fueling of those vehicles and allowances for those handling them is another thing.
So in total, a serious aspirant should budget at least N5 billion to win gubernatorial election.
Conclusively, I disagree with a budget of N2 billion for a guber election, for it can take you nowhere.