There are many political positions in Nigeria, including the house of assembly, house of representative, president, governor, senate, chairman, councillor, and many more. In this post, you will learn how to become a politician in Nigeria.
Who is a Politician, and what do they do?
According to Wikipedia, a politician is a person that is actively involved in party politics, or someone holding or seeking an elected office in government.
A Politician’s job is to propose, support, reject, and create laws that govern their constituency and the people within it.
Who can be a politician? Age requirements to be a politician in Nigeria
Sadly, the structure of Nigerian politics doesn’t favour the youths, unless they want to run for the States’ House of Assembly.
A person must be at least 35 years of age before he/she can contest for the office of the President or Vice President. The same age also applies to Senators.
You have to be a minimum of 30 years old before you can be a State Governor. If you’re up to 25 years old and above, you can be a Representative in parliament or a Member of the States’ House of Assembly.
How to become a politician in Nigeria
Follow these steps to become a politician in Nigeria:
1. Obtain your voter’s card
Before you can become a politician in Nigeria, you must be a member of the Nigerian electorate by registering as an eligible voter.
To get your voter’s card, visit the office of the Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC) closest to you.
Whenever you’re registering, your photograph and fingerprints will be taken and saved on the INEC database. Once all the required processes are completed, you will be given your voter’s card.
2. Join a political party
The Federal Republic of Nigeria has a multi-party system. This means there are hundreds of them. However, the most popular ones are not even up to 5. The remaining ones are only popular in a particular locality and constituency.
The most popular ones recognized all over the country are:
- Labour Party (LP)
- All Progressives Congress (APC)
- People’s Democratic Party (PDP)
You can only be in one political party at a particular time. Before joining any, you should consider the party’s constitution, manifesto, and most importantly, its reputation.
Regardless of how transparent you are, no one will vote for you if you’re contesting from a corrupt party (except your family members and neighbours).
As of the moment of writing this article, the largest number of National Assembly seats are occupied by the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
3. Get some recognition in your Ward
Wards are the grassroots unit of Nigerian politics. They are the smallest unit of governance, and that’s where you will start your political ambition from.
Just like a President rules the whole nation and a Governor rules at the state level, a Councilor governs a political ward. Councillors are members of the local legislative council.
Note: In Nigerian politics, the ward you choose to be a councillor in may not necessarily be your town of origin.
4. Get a political mentor
As we all know, Nigerian politics is more about connections rather than qualifications. Ideally, it is called political mentorship, but we call it godfatherism.
A political mentor is more experienced in politics than many other politicians, especially upcoming ones like you. Such a person will guide and tell you what to do.
Since political mentors have the connections you need, they can link you with more powerful political leaders and further boost your political ambitions.
5. Volunteer for Party Activities
Political parties will always have meetings, events, and other activities. However, they don’t usually have enough people to handle preparations, as many of them don’t get paid.
Although you won’t receive any monetary reward, you will earn recognition in that political party each time you volunteer for activities.
This will not only make your growth faster. It will expose you to higher political leaders who will appreciate your efforts by giving you a more significant responsibility to handle.
6. Be involved in society and community development
One of the most effective ways to do this is by sponsoring or donating to Non-governmental Organizations. Whenever you do this, you will know more about many problems that your state or local government is facing.
Now, you can include that in your manifesto and use it in a campaign. You should also build relationships with landlords and key business owners in your constituency. Demonstrate some level of loyalty to pressure groups.
7. Answer the questions of your people
Unless your parents or family members are already popular politicians, you have to earn your reputation from the scratch.
Whenever reporters and newscasters come to ask questions, you should try and respond politely. Also, don’t just condemn people anyhow, think about what may happen as a result of your response.
8. Rehearse how to address people in a large gathering
And without making a grammatical blunder. Unless you’ve been living under the rock, you should already be familiar with how people (especially the youth) make fun of politicians with poor English skills.
Now, that’s for the people. Let’s talk about other politicians in higher places. Aside from your connections, you should also know how to convince your superiors to invest in your political ambition.
If you can convince your party and constituency members to buy into your ideas, then you’re almost close to getting the position you’re aiming for.
9. Work on your campaign
After your party and constituency members pledge their support, you should start making plans on how to campaign. You should do this a few months before the election date.
Figure out the voter segments that will benefit you more, and when you do, make sure you target them. You should also plan on how to advertise your candidacy.
After choosing your advisors (depending on the office you’re contesting for), you will need to hire campaign staff. These are teams of people that will execute many activities of your campaign.
Reach out to your rich friends, business associates, and other party members that can finance your campaign. They will help you with campaign expenses that you may not be able to cover on your own.
There are many politicians in Nigeria, and you too can be among them. Remember, no office is too small to be contested for. If you run for a small office and win the election, you will be recognized over time.
Ensure you carry out further research about the office you’re running for, as well as the requirements. See you at the top!
Disclaimer: This article is purely meant for educational purposes. While it may give you a few insights into how politics is done in Nigeria, it is not political advice, and should not be treated as such.
Political assistance: You must not rely on the information on this webpage as an alternative to political advice from your advisor(s). If you have any questions regarding political matters, kindly refer to them.