Elections posters showing the leading two candidates – Buhari and President Jonathan – ahead of the March 28 vote: In Nigeria elections and political office are often part of an elaborate financial and shakedown system. (Photo AFP).
Elections can be no-holds-barred battles with candidates and parties employing armed thugs to bludgeon opponents, snatch ballots and rig results.
WHEN Okey Onwa decided to run for a seat in Nigeria’s House of Representatives, a ruling party leader laid out the terms to the 52-year-old lawyer. He would have to pay 2 million naira ($10,048) as an expression of interest and sign post-dated cheques, forfeiting half of his income as a lawmaker to gain the support of the party boss, commonly known as a “godfather” in Nigeria.
“When I complained, he told me this was business, that I can try going it alone if I wanted,” Onwa said in an interview in Awka, capital of the southeastern state of Anambra. He said he decided against running because he knew that on his own, he couldn’t raise the 100 million naira he needed for the campaign.READ MORE