•Party officials, delegates milk contestants dry
For many governorship candidates across the South-west geo-political zone, this is not the best of times and this is just a few days to their February 28 election.
Most of the candidates across major political parties in the zone have virtually gone broke, no thanks to the expensive nomination processes they went through in their parties.
WESTERN POST’s investigation revealed that the costly nomination processes only built on the equally pricey collection of expression of intent and nomination forms from state branches and Abuja national headquarters of their respective parties.
In some cases, some candidates parted with N3 million for the expression of intent and collection of nomination forms in their states and as much as N11million in Abuja for the same forms as in the case of Peoples Democratic Party aspirants.
But the nomination process proved to be the ‘killer’ for most of the candidates, said one party source.
Apart from the delegates who sought and collected heavy bribes or ‘stomach infrastructure’ from the aspirants, party officials also demanded and collected heavy sums from the aspirants.
According to a source, the heavy ‘collectors,’ those who inflicted the most financial wound on the aspirants, were those sent by their party headquarters to conduct primary elections in the states.
Most of the governorship candidates were not prepared to volunteer comments on the heavy financial demands made on them by delegates and party officials before they eventually emerged.
In some cases, some aspirants demanded for financial incentive to give up their ambitions for candidates who later emerged.
“Some of the aspirants went through up to three or more primaries before they eventually picked their parties’ tickets. The situation was only slightly different in some parties where there were a few aspirants or where the party leaders or founders also doubled as the candidates,” said another party source.
This situation, however, is not peculiar to governorship candidates alone. Some other candidates, particularly Senatorial and House of Representatives contenders, also suffered a similar fate.
One House of Representatives aspirant from one opposition political party in Osun State claimed that he spent over N300million to win the party’s primary election only for the first election to be cancelled.
But by the time the second primary was called, he had been left flat broke and so lost the ticket to another contestant.
Also, a Senatorial candidate of one of the parties in Lagos State who had no opponent whatsoever in the nomination process still claimed he spent over N500million before his ticket was ratified.
“Each of about 3,000 delegates in his senatorial district collected N50,000 while the party officials were paid about N300million before he finally emerged as the candidate,” a source close to the candidate told WESTERN POST.