The general election is drawing near and everyone is looking forward to it, for different reasons. For many people on either side of the divide (politicians or the rest of us), it is the time to make more money, build a new house and/or get a maid. And for many others, it is due to the excitement that rents the atmosphere; the lights, glamour and ‘opportunities’. For every one of us, ‘hailer’ or wailer, it is the time to confirm the popularity of our preferred politician or as the case may be, politicians.
The use of ‘preferred’ is deliberate because most times, we have been forced to pick between bad and bad or evil and evil. So, rather than support the best because of abilities and precedence, we focus on our preferred – our preferred thief, preferred blackmailer or a combination of both.
Early in the year, I tweeted that ‘I pity the year 2018 because we are talking about 2019 as if it is our present’. It hasn’t changed and won’t change today or tomorrow. In Ekiti, while they filed out to vote for their next governor, they weren’t focused on October 16th handling over date, they were all eyeing what effect it will have on 2019. And the people of Osun would go to the polls on Saturday to vote for who will take over from Ogbeni Onigbese, yet, they are more worried about what the results of the September 22 election will have on the relationship with the government at the centre more than what it will mean for an average Osun man in the next four (4) years.
In this era, two things are increasingly common, both on social media spaces and our real life (offline spaces), the unceasing shout of “get your PVC” and “join a political party” sloganeering. Sometimes, this noise is discomforting and will drive any young person crazy. It might make you think you’re the direct and remote cause of Nigeria’s problems. In fact, some proponents of these campaigns are now bold enough to call their ‘victims’ enemies of Nigeria.
Is the campaign what we need at the moment, Yes! Are their claims correct, perhaps? Should we heed their call? Yes…but tread with caution. And this is the essence of this post.
In Nigeria today, you will admit that no political party has an ideology on which their party programmes are hinged on. This means that the party programmes are mere documents to cajole, hoodwink and as we have seen it, sentimentally buy people into their folds. While these are the things a manifesto should do, we have seen clearly that such documents in Nigeria are just for the sake of writing them.
Hence, when any young Nigerian is planning to join a political party, I always tell them three 3 things. I have decided to share these things with you, my friend, so you can be better than those who have decided to plunder our patrimony.
Due to the huge financial demands of the Nigerian political scenery, we have seen many young men and women become shadows of themselves through ass licking, sycophancy and betrayal of personal principles. These attributes are common and are increasingly becoming social norms.
To ensure that the political space doesn’t ruin you, be prepared to the following things, regardless of the platform you so choose to join.
When you begin your journey in politics, it is important that you stand out distinctively. This is not just to get you noticed by everyone around you; it is the number one thing that you should do to ensure that the heavy tide doesn’t sweep you off the coast of relevance.
Value proposition and positioning are two of one thing you must value and guide with all that you are. You must, at all times, communicate the value you bring to the table without compromising on the greater good of everyone. You must also ensure that you are focused, diligent and coordinated.
When you lose this, you are nothing but a political alleluia boy who would be used and dumped in the almighty calculation of your political superiors.
Be Bold and Confident
In communicating your value, many people would try to bring you down while some others would see you as being arrogant. Don’t let that be a surprise to you because an average politician wants his/her ego massaged with thunderous shouts of ‘Ranka Ya Dede’ or ‘Baba Ke pe’ as the case may be for you. Some of them are allergic to individuals that have a sense of purpose and a cause of direction; how can they ask you to kill/maim for them if you have values?
Regardless, be vocal, stay strong and confident. Be bold about your beliefs and convictions. Never trade them for the dangerous ‘pat on the back’ from leaders who would rather see your ruins.
Never forget why you started
A wise man once admonished me during a two hour journey, he said ‘more than humility, what you need to get ahead in politics (and in life, generally) is being clearheaded’. In the midst of all the unending madness associated with politics, you might be tempted to change lanes or jump ship, you might even be thinking of dropping your ideologies in the face of persecution but if you are clearheaded, with eyes firmly kept on the goals, you’d never do that.
Focusing on why you joined will continue to push you towards achieving your goals and this is your one time pass to the good parts of the history book.
While you ruminate on all these, remember that “behind every general interest, there is a private riding interest’. Focus on your goals without compromising on the general interest of the people, of your people and the country at large.
Do share your views with me through the comment section.