By Prof. Iyorwuese Hagher, Former Minister and former High Commissioner of Nigeria to Canada.
Many thanks to all well-wishers here.
The SDP (Social Democratic Party) convention holds today and I’ve been in Abuja since Thursday, but I’ve opted out of the presidential race due to lack of money, primarily. My fundraising didn’t yield much.
I summoned a council of my Think Tank to take stock of things, endogenous and exogenous, and we concluded that the next election would be decided by money right within the parties and within the larger voting public.
In the SDP, the cost of nomination form totalled N11 Million. That is the easiest part. That aside, you must reach out to delegates numbering about 2,000 nationwide. If you budget N50,000 per delegate, that will sum up to N100 Million. Only the likes of Prof. Jerry Gana and former Governor Donald Duke can muster such funds for convention alone; not yet the campaign proper. My canvassers approached the media for the sort of charity publicity I used to get for Buhari in those days through the likes of Femi Adesina and co, they returned with payment options! The least for Channels TV and AIT was N1.5 Million. The generous distribution of my presidential policy book to them availed nothing.
It turned out that the donations I got came mainly from poor professors! N100,000 here, N50,000 there. These are professors, one of them a top ASUU leader, hoping to construct my candidacy as an academia representation across all our tertiary institutions. I’m sorry to disappoint them.
A party offered me its ticket, though, courtesy of the helping intervention of a brother in the US. Again, the same challenge of money forced me to decline after serious inner turmoil as I beheld cartons of my policy book lying fallow! In fact, the option is still open as we speak as they can hold a quick primaries between now and tomorrow to affirm my candidature. But what happens thereafter? Who believes in politics of ideas as to fund my campaign? I had earlier approached at least seven billionaires. Their attitude was: get your ticket first. But I won’t just like to make up numbers. So, I opted out of the ticket offer of the new party.
At the end, I have learnt much more than all I’ve ever known about the practical side of Nigerian politics within a space of one year! The trouble with Nigeria is we have more preachers than practitioners! We complain, then sit on the sidelines. I don’t see any change in sight at all!