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(148) The cost of democracy in Nigeria: A brief take

By Muhsin Ibrahim

Hon. Alhassan Ado Doguwa, Majority Leader of the House of Representatives of Nigeria, recently claimed he needed ₦70m for his re-election expenses, perhaps on the election day alone, citing a law that grants him this. One wonders how much gubernatorial and presidential candidates need to cover their own re/election expenses.

Do you also remember or, better, imagine how much they must have spent purchasing their nomination forms, paying delegates during primary elections and running campaigns in their constituencies before the election day?

I remember what Amina J Mohammed, the Deputy Secretary-General of the UN, once said during a virtual lecture on democracy. She lamented that we all believe in democracy. However, the model for democracy challenges us. It's short-termed, it's costly, and it's very corrupt.

Moreover, INEC plans to spend ₦305 billion for the 2023 elections. I am sure INEC will ask for more money because of IPOB's attacks on its offices in the South-East and other accidents nationwide.

Add the above costs and imagine how much money Nigeria spends, or wastes, on an exercise that will likely produce the same class of leaders we have had since 1999!

I agree with Dambisa Moyo, the author of Dead Aid, that we don't need a multi-party democracy. Instead, Africa, or Nigeria alone in this context, needs a decisive benevolent dictator to push through reforms for socioeconomic growth and human development.

We are taken for a ride. This is because politicians will continuously pursue profit from their multi-million or multi-billion investments. They accumulate wealth with 24/7 security around them, fly jets, etc. They build boreholes, mosques and churches, 'empower' women and youth with peanuts, etc., while their cronies extol them to the skies. Business as usual!

May Nigeria prosper in our lifetime, amin.


  1. Seems like the cost of election is equal to the cost of running government in Nigeria. And if that is the case, we need no more than a good dictator that will bring socio-economic reforms against the huge waste of resources in the name of democracy.


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