“If money go before, all ways do lie open,” according to William Shakespeare, and all politicians across the globe seem to follow this simple formula, of spending money to win. In Nigeria’s 2015 general elections, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says that an estimated N1trillion was spent by INEC, political parties and candidates.
We expect that as much, if not more, money will be spent in the 2019 general elections. The number of registered voters has increased from 70million to 100million, and so has INEC budget increased to N228billion.
Secondly, the law has been amended to increase maximum spend for each candidate and officially, a presidential candidate can now spend up to N5billion, while a candidate for the National Assembly seat can spend up to 70million.
We know these official limits are just a guide on paper and candidates usually send much more, but it is an indication of the kind of money each candidate is expected to spend. This brings us to another key spending indicator, which is the fact that we have more candidates and more political parties vying for political positions.
Here is just a shortlist of some business opportunities that could arise directly from the on-going electoral campaigns:
#1: Promotional Items:
While many would see the situation as an opportunity to hang around politicians to get peanuts for ‘loyalty’ and ‘vote buying’, smart entrepreneurs could hit a jackpot by being more relevant to the electoral process and one of the key business initiatives would be production of souvenirs and printing services.
Politicians usually require large quantities of promotional items like t-shirts, fez caps, hand bands, wrappers, neck tags, mufflers and so on, to kit their supporters who come out in large numbers to identify with them. So entrepreneurs can position themselves to supply or print such items for use. There are also printing opportunities for posters, calendars, souvenirs and other publicity materials.
#2: Social Media Marketing:
We are in the age where social media influences our thought patterns and decisions, so social media experts can also make a lot of money at this time from promoting and advertising political candidates and causes online.
In fact, social media is the innovative method of promoting campaigns and many politicians are willing to pay extra to have a good online presence. Politicians are also willing to pay good hands to manage their social media accounts.
#3 Campaign Transport & Logistics:
Another important avenue to access part of the over N1trillion electoral spending spree in 2019 is to provide transportation to move campaigners around. Politicians and theirs strategists will require vehicles and campaign trucks for transportation.
A single truck with open back can earn you up to N1m per day. Similarly, other vehicles that can accommodate a number of people and have open back can also earn you reasonable money daily.
The Toyota Hiace and Sienna have become classy options for many politicians because they are reliable on our bad roads, and the latter has open roof top. Generally, politicians require vehicles for transportation to move their supporters during campaign storms so you can make your vehicle fleet available for hire.
#4: Advertising & Publicity:
Advertising and Public Relations experts proffer alternative means of reaching out to voters, working through the mass media, so their services tend to be in high demand, during electioneering campaigns. We can add canvassers to the list because they the ones who usually go around posting flyers and sharing hand bills.
So smart entrepreneurs can gather young school leavers and offer the team’s services as a group to politicians to help them storm streets, markets and neighborhoods for a fee. After reasonable fee has been agreed, the politician will usually provide t-shirts or other branded wears for political outings.
Entrepreneurs can also seek out bill board spaces for rent and sell them to politicians for a commission. Mediapreneurs can also arrange speaking opportunities for politicians with key media outlets through which politicians can directly reach their target audiences.
#5: Rental & Hospitality Services
Politicians also have need for a lot of rental services like sound systems, tents and plastic chairs, stages and some form of decorations for campaign events. So all those items as well as event management skills are really viable areas that could add value to politicians and their activities at this time.
If you own a hotel or guest house, your season of plenty is here. Politicians and their supporters are always on the move and they need hotels and guest houses for lodging, meetings and other activities. But you have to get close to those planning schedules for politicians and provide adequate security to ensure repeat use of the facility.
The old English adage, “As expensive as an election,” still holds true and the article is therefore a wakeup call to consider not just the aforementioned business lines but other services in the election period which politicians and other relevant institutions would willing pay to get.
Happy Election Year!