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Politicians will spend about N6.1 trln to win 2023 presidential election, says economist Rewane

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The Chief Executive Officer of Financial Derivatives Company Limited, Bismarck Rewane, has estimated the cost of winning the 2023 presidential elections at around N6.09 trillion, noting that the forthcoming election would be the costliest in the country’s history.

Rewane, who is a member of President Muhammadu Buhari’s Economic Advisory Council, said in the latest edition of the Lagos Business School’s breakfast presentation, noted that 34.65 million voters would be vulnerable to selling their votes.

“2023 election (is) to be the costliest election in the history of Nigeria. Moneybags are ready to pay whatever price to win it. But it could be a case of ‘damned if I win, damned if I don’t,” adding: “the marginal cost of winning the presidential election for a single tenure (is) N6.094 trillion,” in 2023.

According to him, politicians would be eager to purchase at N1.1 trillion for the willing seller of their votes in the forthcoming election, adding that the eventual winner of the presidential election would recoup his electoral expenditures within two years at a juicy fair return on investment of N1.741trillion.

This return on investment, according to him, would represent 40 per cent of the two-year capital expenditure (CAPEX) of the country’s annual budget of N18 trillion.

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He also gave the breakdown of the estimated cost of achieving electoral victory in 2023, including the cost of emerging as presidential candidates from various political parties’ presidential primaries that were concluded last month.

“Cost of winning party primaries, which included cost of compensating rivals that lost is estimated at N1.178 trillion; Cost of campaign and ground game  = N950 billion; Vote buying costs, including logistics for vote buying = N1.1 trillion; cost of electoral victory = N3.288 trillion; cost of litigation N20,000 (sic); cost of funding at 17per cent = N1.104 trillion and fair return on investment of 40 per cent = N1.741 trillion.”

Rewane, which tagged the 2023 general election as “weaponising poverty,” arrived at the costs estimated above based on the following assumptions: total registered voters in 2019, estimated at 84 million; voters turn out in 2019 – 34.75 per cent; expected registered voters for 2023 election (2019 numbers plus 25 per cent) – 105 million; voter turnout in 2015 – 44 per cent; expected voter turnout in 2023 – 57.75 million voters.”

He further assumed that 34.65 million voters, representing 60 per cent of eligible voters, would be vulnerable to selling their votes to politicians, projecting that the “number of years to be used to recover electoral expenses will be two years,” at 17 per cent cost of capital, adding that there was, “high correlation between poverty and vote buying.”

The race for the 2023 presidential election has been zeroed to be between three major contenders from three political parties.

The ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) candidate Bola Tinubu, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Atiku Abubakar and the Labour Party candidate is Peter Obi are seen as the major players to watch out for in the forthcoming election.

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