If you follow my notes on politics in Nigeria, you will know for sure that I have kept silent on the forthcoming presidential elections. Well, some others could say I have said all I had to say. But quite frankly, I find it distasteful that our political scene and engagements are still mired with issues that are not remotely or directly connected to our precarious state. Be that as it may, as one who admonishes that we cannot decide to take a back seat, I sometimes believe that we can always watch at some point and allow things play out. Or say, we can keep our opinions to ourselves while we concentrate on other things that will help us in our spaces – our local communities, dedication to our mentees and mentors, improvement of our relationships and career advancement.
While this does not mean we have abandoned the struggle we swore to uphold till the end, it is dangerous thing to do as the same set of people (who might be square pegs in round holes) might continue to hold sway in political and national space.
For the February presidential election, I have made my stand clear and nothing will change it not even the promise of a next level or the lies of getting Nigeria to work again. However, I am making this post in response to an opinion of my dear friend and brother, Olawale Kadri – a known radical who I always believe is also a realist.
Just like every other aspect of our lives, many things veer off the expected course. Politics is no different – in 2015, I and many other friends, including Olawale, were shouting at the top of our voices that the only way to bring Nigeria to the desire state was to vote for GMB at that time. Also note that during the primaries of the APC, I had stated unequivocally that Atiku should not be given the chance to fly the flag of the APC and GMB should not get that ticket because of claim of integrity. Today, we have veered off that lane and Nigeria doesn’t seem to be on the lane to greatness also.
Being one who is sentimental to the cause of the APC, it was very easy for me to tag with my friends and campaign, within our circles, for General Buhari. Today, most of my friends in that ‘unit’ no longer trust Buhari to deliver on his promises. Just like we teamed up for different reasons, our decisions not to support again are also different.
In a country that has Vision20:20, it is worrisome to see that within 4 years, a very popular presidential candidate is now an incumbent who had lost some of his foot soldiers for many reasons. Others can argue that the ranks increase daily with cross carpeting and all other instruments that are only common to Nigerian political space.
The discussion on Olawale’s wall was about his choice of presidential candidate and the rest of us. From one submission to another, the discussion left the original course and took us in a different direction. I want to address my view of that direction through this medium. Kindly note that all I’m saying here are based on my beliefs, observations and realities.
When I started blogging in 2014, of course, after writing couple of articles on www.omojuwa.com, SaharaReporters was a platform that I wish I could get on. This is to tell you that I wow at the amazing work they do on that platform; which goes to say that I have utmost respect for the platform. Also, having spent all my years in the university within the midst of ‘brothers’ who wanted nothing but the betterment of the Nigerian students and her society at large, Sowore is not only a leader but a ‘pathfinder’.
So is Fela Durotoye, a man who has created a niche for himself in Nigeria and beyond. One of my many ‘teachers’ of the new Nigeria project.
For the first time since 2003, I think this is the first time Nigeria has a lot of people who are highly qualified present themselves for the highest job in the land. By qualify, I mean have the right credentials, identified with the people at the different point and can hold their own globally without fear. And I also think that it is the time that we have seen too many pretenders in the ring. Many of whom should nowhere be around the office of the president.
The bone of contention, however, is how do we get the right people into the right places? Do we stick with REALISM or IDEALISM? What works and what do not?
Many candidates like Madam Oby, Moghalu, Sowore, Fela and co might not get the needed number of votes because they are regarded as unpopular – and do not have the base. Hence, a vote for them is a ‘loss’. My friend Olawale claimed that it is a bad thought process and every one must jettison it. He also implied that we will only leave the nation to greater ruins if we continue with this mentality.
Ideally, he is right but the reality dictates otherwise.
Everywhere around the world, political parties are ‘vehicular tools for delivering of social goods for the people’. The party has it manifestoes and the candidate also has his/her plans that must key into the agenda of his party. Interestingly, there is no political movement around the world that is entirely bad or good; it is always a mix of the two – either balanced or otherwise.
Elections are also won with numbers, and the only way to accrue this number to yourself is to have enough members under your structure. Globally, the number of politicians is not up to 15% of the voting age (not a verified statistic) but the minute number has been able to devise systems to mobilise their people. Which goes on to say the number of politicians you have on your side, the easier for you to mobilise people.
This means that you must have a viable political party to accommodate the people and provide a support system for them.
In today’s Nigeria, majority are talking about only two national political parties out of the 91 and it is not an exclusive phenomenon. Since the 1920s, only two parties have dominated the national space in the UK and so it is the US.
This goes to say that the political party, the vehicle for achieving your political dreams, are as important as the plans you have for the people.
While the end game is not winning the polls, one cannot become a president (and ultimately redeem his people) without winning the elections.
2019 is a done deal and Sowore and his co travellers would not occupy the Aso Rock. In my opinion, the best thing to do now is to go back to the drawing board and perform the ‘magic’ that will win the 2027 election. Either that or he joins any of the national party, collapse it from inside and own the structure.
If you think otherwise and you believe that the Iroko (Mimiko) thing will work again, I hate to break it to you that the ship sailed with Mimiko and it is not coming back. If you also think it is a fallacy, ask MOB, Rev Tunde Afe, OSA and Tope Adebayo (all in Ekiti State) or Rashidi Ladoja in Oyo or Adeoti in Osun.
Whatever you do, don’t sit on the fence. Pick a front and join the battle for the soul of Nigeria.