SATIRE SATURDAY: This is how to become a Nigerian President (II), By Oladeinde Olawoyin

Abuja City Gate
Abuja City Gate, Abuja

Corruption, by default, has been identified as Nigeria’s greatest problem. From the Lagos landlord to the Ilorin rice merchant to the Borno grass-cutter, we all have agreed that corruption remains a major bane in our developmental journey. It is the pivot upon which all of Nigeria’s hydra-headed problems rotate. And so the Nigerian presidential hopeful need not stress himself if he has a good anti-corruption credential, whether imaginary, selective, ethnic-induced or whatever. To put it simply, victory is assured. I will come back to this.

On becoming Nigeria’s president, you have to swear to an oath to defend its territorial integrity from external aggression, both military and linguistic, including derogatory depictions like the US’ ‘shithole’ metaphor. But it matters less if in the absence of power, good roads and other basic amenities, the fundamental objective and directive principle of state policy appears ‘shitty’. After all, the Nigerian takes pride in owning the exclusive right to condemning his own government; he shares no such right with external ‘interlopers’.

And so, as our President, you need do little about such derogatory comment: there is an army of patriotic Nigerians who would respond to such with acerbic responses from their posh offices, generator-powered homes, inside Lagos traffic, and of course, millions from the four walls of their ‘Salanga’ (pit toilet).

In seeking re-election, it is important to understand the power of emotion over logic. Emotions ensure that you connect with the people irrespective of your performances; logic requires that you place your track records on the table for evaluation without photo-shopping them.

The Nigerians connect more with emotion than logic, and that makes the re-election plans a lot easier.

Again, to connect with the Nigerian voter, you must appeal to the HUMAN side. In effect, you may wish to expose them to your ‘human’ side, to appeal to those parts of them that is devoid of critical thinking. It matters not if you have no ACTION, or more appropriately, PERFORMING side.

Religion is an important part of re-election campaign in Nigeria, and exploiting the dynamics of religion makes you immune to critical assessment. There are a thousand marabouts and suit-wearing smooth talkers that could open the peoples’ minds for you. Identifying the influential ones and recruiting them remains a tactical game-changer: it worked like magic. Until recently, perhaps.

You may choose to read cartoons sections of newspapers to run away from Nigerians and their headaches, and so even if millions choose to write letters in newspapers daily; there’s no cause for alarm. But it must be said that once the letter bears the handwriting of a certain farmer from Ota, notorious for writing regime-changing letters, then danger looms. Even the presidential rule on not being in a hurry to act must be jettisoned, pronto.

In other words, as Nigeria’s president, you must understand that all letters are equal but some letters are more equal than others.

Back to the fight against corruption, It matters not if the president mouths anti-corruption rhetoric and look the other way when close aides and associates engage in the plundering of the peoples’ resources with rapacious rage. A photo-op with some of these associates isn’t a bad idea, even. It’s all good for the re-election bid.

Besides, in Nigeria, the anti-corruption spirit is in the family of contagious diseases like monkeypox and ‘lapalapa’: people contract it once they hob-nob with the Nigerian numero uno and, pronto, like whited sepulchre, they become corruption-free.

That Ogun Pyramid

Governor Ibikunle Amosun’s skyscraper cap has always been for me a subject of both fascination and riddle. I have always wondered how, inspite of the turbulence of Ogun politics, he’s been able to successfully maintain the huge structure of that cap. But the recent (unverified) pictures flying around showing how he allegedly padded his famed rice pyramid seem to have solved this riddle.

The governor comes across as a man of HUGE accomplishments and perhaps, if subjected to scrutiny, there might be a huge wad (that which could pass for ‘Osuka’ in our Yoruba colloquial exchange) LIE-ing somewhere beneath that cap. And it remains unsettling how in spite of the allegations that have trailed that rice project, the government has treated the issue with kid gloves. Of course, optics is of no importance here anyway.

On the flipside, since the discourse isn’t really about ‘statistical padding’, we may jettison the idea of looking into the state’s 2018 budget anyway.


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