The cost of parliamentary politics in Nigeria

The cost of parliamentary politics in Nigeria

This paper draws on semi-structured interviews with serving and former members of parliament, as well as civil society practitioners to get their thoughts on the financial implications of running for office in Nigeria.
Cost of Politics in Nigeria Front Cover Page

Adebowale Olorunmola


Money is crucial for political parties to implement activities during and in-between elections. In addition to other factors, candidates require funds for effective campaigns, which contribute to possible electoral victory. However, whether in established or new democracies, unregulated use of money, private or public, for politics, is capable of reversing the ethics, practices and spirit of democracy. It confers undue advantages and improperly alters electorates’ available choices.

In Nigeria, legislation controls political party and campaign finances. These provisions are necessary to make certain that political parties and candidates are properly guided with regard to the scope of party and election funding and expenses. Additionally, putting a cap on expenses makes certain that the cost of politics remains reasonable and affordable, in order to retain citizen participation. However, despite these provisions, parties and candidates have continued to infringe on these regulations. A major implication of this abuse of money at elections and the apparent ineffectiveness of enforcement regulations is the skyrocketing cost of politics, at all levels, including the parliament, which is the focus of this study.