Africa needs more women and youth on the ballot
While the Me-Too and Not-too-Young-to-Run movements highlight equal rights of women and youth to participate in elective politics, until African electoral jurisdictions address the growing challenge of monetised and commercialised politics, the numbers of women and youth on the ballot papers will not increase. The starting point is to lower nomination fees charged by political parties and impose campaign spending limits.
In the Nigeria general presidential elections, out of the 18 candidates that participated in the race, only one was female. Secrets Known learned that the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) pegged the cost for the sale of nomination forms for respective positions as follows: President – N100,000,000 ($222,240); Governor – N50,000,000 ($111,120.45); Senate – N20,000,000; House of Representatives (HOR) – N10,000,000; and House of Assembly (HOA) – N2,000,000.
The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) fixed the sale of their forms as follows: President – N40,000,000 ($88,896.36); Governor – N21,000,000 ($46,670.59); Senate – N3,500,000; HOR -N2, 500,000 and HOA – N600, 000.
These amounts are beyond the reach of the ordinary Nigerian woman or youth that would have offered themselves as candidates. Commercialised elective politics has made it difficult if not impossible to get more women and youth on the ballot papers as candidates.
The youth cannot unleash their potential as agents of change if they are excluded from participating in political processes on the technicality that they cannot amass the needed war chest to buy party nomination cards and subsequently contest on elective positions.