5 ways to win elections in Nigeria

5 ways to win elections in Nigeria

The Nigerian political space is getting heated up as the 2019 general elections draw nearer. Politicians have started switching allegiance from one party to another, looking for suitable political platforms that can guarantee them electoral success.

The desperation to get the support of the electorate usually leads many of the politicians trying all sorts of unusual political gimmicks.

In this piece, Legit.ng highlights five deceitful but popular and funny techniques Nigerian politicians have, over the time, deployed to win political mandates.

1. Stomach infrastructure

Stomach infrastructure is a new vocabulary in Nigeria’s political dictionary. It is simply about giving gift items to voters to get their votes. Notably, it crept into Nigeria’s political wordlist after the 2014 Ekiti governorship election when voters were given gifts of bags of rice and other foodstuffs to vote for the outgoing governor, Ayodele Fayose.

5 ways to win elections in Nigeria
People carrying bags of rice donated by Governor Fayose in 2014.
Source: UGC

However, distributing foodstuff and other gifts during campaigns in Nigeria did not start with the 2014 Ekiti election. It has been happening in many parts of the country but it became more prominent, with viral photos on social media, during the Ekiti election.

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2. Playing up the poverty sentiment

“In my early days in school I had no shoes, no school bags. I carried my books in my hands but never despaired, no car to take me to school, but I never despaired.” - Former president Goodluck Jonathan's popular quote.

Another popular way Nigerian politicians secure mandates is by playing up the poverty sentiment. Though some of them are stupendously rich, they play up the poverty narrative detailing how they were once “poor and could not afford three-square meals”.

They use this technique to appeal to the masses and make them believe that they understand their plight and know the best way to address their challenges.

3. Godfatherism

This is a form of political corruption in which an influential member of a party assists a political aspirant/candidate in the climb to political leadership.

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The political godfathers are like kingmakers, their candidates usually win, by hook or crook. Thus, what many politicians do is to secure the support of a godfather by agreeing to a certain ‘deal’ and the seat will be guaranteed.

4. Vote buying and selling

This is similar to stomach infrastructure but it mainly has to do with money. It is simply a process where voters are given money, especially on the election day, to vote in certain directions.

It has been in existence for long but it also gained a heightened prominence during the recently conducted 2018 governorship election in Ekiti state.

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5. ‘Forming’ familiarity with the masses

This technique has also been adopted by popular politicians across all the major political parties in the country.

It involves the politicians engaging in acts peculiar to the masses as part of their efforts to gain popularity among the people.

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They photograph themselves drinking ‘pure water’ (sachet water common among the Nigerian masses), eating in local food joints, etc.

5 ways to win elections in Nigeria
Popular Nigerian politicians 'forming' familiarity with the masses.
Source: UGC

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Nurudeen Lawal avatar

Nurudeen Lawal (Head of Politics and Current Affairs Desk) Nurudeen Lawal is an AFP-certified journalist with a wealth of experience spanning over 8 years. He received his B/Arts degree in Literature-in-English from OAU. Lawal is the Head of the Politics/CA Desk at Legit.ng, where he applies his expertise to provide incisive coverage of events. He was named the Political Desk Head of the Year (Nigeria Media Nite-Out Award 2023). He is also a certified fact-checker (Dubawa fellowship, 2020). Contact him at lawal.nurudeen@corp.legit.ng or +2347057737768.

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