The Ugly Truth about Nigerian Politics – 2

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Deolu Akinyemi

I have had a few friends contact me for offline chats to understand more about Nigerian politics and where I see the tide heading. Let’s first get this straight, this is not a subtle or open attempt to drive any mass mobilization towards politics. For those who intend to, the best time to start preparing for any office is at least 8 years before you intend to throw in your hat. The most important word in that sentence is “least”.

So, let’s take a further look into Nigerian politics and the ugly truths about it. If you missed part one of this, please refer to it on Facebook or visit www.deoluakinyemi.com 

4. The Third Force is Void!

Many believe that the best way to clear the reign of the current two-party gradually becoming a one-party system is to create a third force. Well, we currently have a third force, and that third force has been consistent throughout all elections in Nigeria in the last 23 years from 1999. That third force is void! What do I mean? In every election, after the votes for APC or PDP in national elections, the 3rd position that never gets honored or respected is a category called void votes. The Void votes of people trying to vote for APC or PDP but get it messed up out of illiteracy or manhandling the ballot paper usually exceed most other contestants put together. Yeah, it’s really that ugly, that in the last elections, VOID got more scores than many of the very progressive candidates put together. This just goes to show that the way out, is in. What we need to learn how to do is how to maintain contact without contamination, not how to set up our own island of good people without influence. Change agents should see themselves as light, they shouldn’t be the ones afraid of associating, it’s the people who enjoy darkness that ought to be afraid of the participation of light. The first step is overwhelming the existing structures, and don’t wait for any massive movement, once you catch the revelation, make the move!

5. Social Media Polls are Jokes!

Politics in Nigeria is not a popularity contest, if it was, then Davido and Big Wiz should be contesting since they have a good following. The truth is, it’s not primarily a popularity contest. Smart politicians don’t spend money pasting posters or working on mass appeal. At the end of the day, if PDP produces a Goat and APC produces a Sheep, the masses in 774 local governments and 176,846 polling units will vote one of them in. Smart politicians understand that the most important political exercise is securing the ticket to represent any of these 2 parties, once you can clench that, your battle is half won. After that, you and your party begin to spend together for your mutual interest. Political parties are also looking for good products to sell, and these good products are usually a function of several parameters. In producing Obasanjo for 1999, he was literally brought out of Jail and packaged to contest. His major consideration was hinged on his coming from the same place as the late MKO Abiola and could be used to compensate the Yorubas and the fact that the powers that be believed they could own him. In 2007 Obasanjo packed Yaradua for Nigerians. He didn’t campaign for any election personally, but he won. He wasn’t popular, he was just marketable. 

6. Nigeria has 66 Political distractions.

Yes, that’s the number of parties that exist outside of APC and PDP, and unknown to those who ride on the platform of these parties, they are serving into the hands of the political puppet masters who created them as distractions. Or what better way to weaken your opposition than to give him many parties to dissipate his energies into? Some will say I am for YPP, others for APP, another for NNP, etc, and before you know what’s going on… 500,000 votes broken into 60 places gives you 30 million. But forgive my generosity, how many of these parties even boast of 50,000? What does this mean practically speaking? It means whatever the two leading parties offer us are our only real options. We may not be able to change those options in the next 2 voting cycles, but if we are unable to change them in 2031 then we are miserable. In the last election, we had 2 choices really – Atiku or Buhari. To think we had other options is to ignore data. When you have those options, you can’t lament that we didn’t make a good decision. I can’t even regret my decision. All the other participants were not even as good as void. 

7. Not Everyone running for presidency plans to get there.

There are two reasons why people run. They are either running to catch up with something or running away from something. When you see a full-bodied adult running, it’s either (s)he is chasing something, or something is chasing him/her. The same thing goes for this presidential race. Running is a strong negotiation tool. Some people are running away from the problems they have created and see that the only way to negotiate for a better possibility for their future is to come to the table of negotiation. To get to that table, standing a chance that makes you a worthy distraction is a good bargaining chip. Some are running towards the history, let it be said of me, that I also tried the little I could for my country, or let me add aspirant to my accolades. Some are also running to be like Abraham Lincoln, to keep running until one day, the world is tired enough of them to vote them in. 

 All hope is not lost however, there is a pragmatic way about getting out polity right, it starts with good people getting involved, and it starts with good people supporting good people. If a good person ever clenches the ticket of PDP or APC, don’t join the forces of hate saying he/she has joined them, see it as an opportunity to have a good person in power. Our transition for our current political system will not be sudden, it will be gradual, and it will require the cooperation and participation of those who understand and agree.

 

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