With the nomination forms of major political parties going for as high as ₦100 million, is it really possible for youths to actively participate in politics? To answer that question, we spoke to some young Nigerian politicians.
They chronicle their journey so far and the cost involved.
“I spent about ₦60 million to become a member of the House of Representatives.” — Azeez
In 2019, I contested as the PDP flag bearer for the Alimosho seat in the House of Representatives. This cost me between ₦50 to ₦60 million; I had to purchase a nomination form, mobilise delegates, print and distribute campaign materials, gift party agents and reward canvassers. I garnered over 30,000 votes, emerging 1st runner-up and achieving an unpredencented record. Presently, I am the Southwest Zonal Coordinator of the Atiku Support Organisation (ASO).
In all, my journey has been interesting and challenging. I’m glad my active political participation has inspired many other young people to join politics and change the status quo.
“To contest for presidency, you should be ready to spend at least ₦15 billion.” — Fadahunsi
Although I started politics formally at 18, I have been involved since I was 13, when I first started attending ward meetings. In 2019, I was one of the youngest political candidates when I vied for the Lagos State House of Assembly position. While I didn’t win the election, I learnt a huge deal about the Nigerian political landscape.
I realised how the level of poverty and illiteracy in the country makes politics unnecessarily expensive. You should be ready to spend nothing less than ₦10 million for a local government election. Presidency, on the other hand, should cost a minimum of ₦15 billion. For senate and house of representative positions, you’ll be looking at spending ₦300 million and ₦20 million, respectively. Everything costs millions, even down to ordinary printing and branding.
My political career has been an amazing learning experience. I’m also optimistic and see myself getting into a top position in the future.
“You have to pay for almost everything.” — Fatai
I joined the political scene in 2015 and am currently vying for a position in the Lagos State House of Assembly. My political ambition has made me realise how expensive politics is in Nigeria. You have to pay for almost everything, from the expression of interest form and administrative fee, down to settling leaders and constituents. I think the poverty level in the country accounts for the outrageous expense of politics.
I appreciate the journey so far, but it has been time-consuming and stressful. It was even tougher at the beginning because I wasn’t so familiar with the leaders and party members. Thankfully, I have gotten better, and I’m certain things will only improve from here.
“I’d advise young people not to get into politics if they’re not financially capable.” — Oke
Politics is more like a side project for me; I have a full-time job. I got involved in it in 2013 and have quickly climbed the ladder. I contested to become an honourable in the previous election. Doing this exposed me to the workings of Nigerian politics. I had to pay for almost everything, including nomination form, consultation, marketing, logistics, delegates’ compensation, team’s salaries and taking care of my constituents.
This made me change my stance on youth participation in politics. Previously, I believed youths should get involved in politics even when they’re not financially capable. But now, I know better. Get your finances in order before you consider active politics, as it will drain you financially. Sadly, I didn’t win the election. Regardless, I’m glad I gave it my best shot. I’m also confident I’ll win next time; I have mastered politics better.