As Nigerians are getting ready to vote for new leaders in the 2023 general election, political parties have come to town with the sales of expression of interest forms into various political offices.  While the All Progressives Congress (APC) tops the list of parties with exorbitant fees for various positions, all other parties have also pegged their fees in millions of naira.  APC comes highest with N100million as its requirement for presidential registration.
While this Editorial is not intended to dwell so much on the exorbitant fees the political parties are collecting from aspirants, it is unpretentiously seeking to bring to the fore one of the side effects of such exorbitant fees charged for expression of interest.  Electoral violence is obviously a side effect.
In explaining this, we may want to place our analysis on the obviously wrong assumption in some quarters that politics in Nigeria is a business venture and not a call to service.  The truth remains that, most Nigerian technocrats who have the intellectual wherewithal to bring development to the polity, are often excluded from seeking political offices ostensibly due to huge cost of participation.
For instance, where would a university professor who has the intellectual capacity to lead Nigeria on the path of technological break through, get N100million to buy an expression of interest form from APC or even N40million to buy same form from the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
The consequence of such exclusion of intellectuals who are not money bags from elective positions, is that aspirants less endowed intellectually, but have primitively accumulated wealth in their political adventure over the years, would be the ones who can afford the exorbitant fees.  Such scenario is already playing out.
With some benefit of hindsight from our country’s political past, it is revealing that when aspirants have paid so much for expression of interest and associated expenditures, there is the likelihood for them to recoup their money from one means or the other.  Those who are lucky enough to win in the elections would ultimately benefit from the largesse that accrues to their offices while the losers lick their wound.
One obvious trend in the process is the fact that in the electioneering  campaign, voting and counting of votes, there is usually high tension as parties struggle to be on the winning list.  It is usually during such period that supporters and hired thugs usually exhibit unruly tendencies which often times ended in violence and ultimate disruption of the election.
This type of scenario was largely recorded in the 2019 election in parts of Lagos where political thugs in Okota area for instance attacked polling centres just to thwart the chances of people suspected to win the election from becoming actual winners.
As preparations for the 2023 elections are gearing up, we want to appeal to all aspirants and their supporters to bury the spirit of politics laced with bitterness from the outset. Let all the aspirants begin to educate their supporters on the need to follow the prescribed rules as enshrined in the Electoral Act.  Absolute adherence to the provisions of the Electoral Act should be the order of the day as anything contrary to it, would surely stoke some mischievousness likely to translate into huge violence capable of derailing the entire system.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) should do more in its enlightenment programme by sensitising the populace even in local languages on the evil of disobeying the electoral law.  The masses should be educated on the dangers of stoking violence  on behalf of their candidates either prior, during or after election.

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