“I just received the following wire from my generous Daddy: ”Dear Jack, Don’t buy a single vote more than is necessary. I’ll be damned if I’m going to pay for a landslide.'”- John Kennedy
This post does not celebrate the ugly incidence of vote-buying but rather tries to humorously view how much you need to buy each vote and become the Next President of Nigeria if you are rich enough. We will be using statistics from the 2015 elections. Assuming everyone who voted in 2015 votes again but this time each person is paid. How much do you need to win?
There is no unanimous cost of a vote. Usually, it is bought with rice, bread, recharge card and other such. In Papua, votes are bought with pigs or pork. You cannot really arrive at a general price for the vote. In some polling Units, as much as 5,000naira(13.70USD) or as low as 1,000 naira is used to buy votes. If items are bought and distributed such as rice, it makes the general cost of buying the election cheaper as you can buy rice in bulk and break into smaller units.
In 2015, President Buhari won with 15,424,921 or 53.96 of the total votes cast. In order to have this score, if you pay each voter 2,000 naira you are going to arrive at 30,849,842,000. Do you remember that Davido song? 30 billion for the account o! Yes, Davido is rich enough to buy the Presidential elections if his claim to having such amount is true and he is ready to spend all his money at a big risk to become President. But it is a risk that is worth it. Just some signatures and he is back to fortune as soon as enters office on May 29. He may need a bit more if you consider those given money might not give it to voters so they need to be bribed full first so that they can give out generously to others.
If you are not a rich music artiste and you want to contest, you can raise it through sponsorships. If you know Aliko Dangote, you could just go to him and say ‘sir, I need 82million USD out of your 11billion USD networth’. If he is happy, that’s a small amount to him. If he gifts you, you rush down with 2k per voter and you are the next President. But don’t forget you must be loyal to your sponsors. They can raise another person.
What if you are not so ambitious?! You do not want to be President. You say ‘hey. I just want to be a Governor and be okay with that’. Which state do you want? It’s simple maths. Multiply the total number of votes you want by 2,000 and get a sponsor if you are not rich. It is a business sort of thing. For most states, you do not need more than 300million to 1billion. If you need 400,000 votes at 2,000 naira each you will need 800,000,000. In most states in Nigeria, you do not need up to 400,000 votes to win the Gubernatorial. Being a Governor is cheaper! Why not contest for this?
It is sad that poor economic conditions have ensured people trade their votes for instant survival. Is it not even more shocking that one person in the country can buy elections if everyone was to sell?
Author: Koye-Ladele Mofehintoluwa