Nigeria Decides 2019 : Once More Unto the Breach — Part 2

Photo Credit : Guardian Newspaper Nigeria

Intro

Deep in the weeds of the Nigerian political landscape, lay the shadowy characters who are hatching and germinating plans for the February 2019 election. They contemplate the weight of their allegiances, wondering where to lend their schemes diabolique. In a time, reminiscent of the power struggles of Ancient Rome, the theatre is coming to the end of its first act.

Panem et circenses

As the dust finally settles on the race for Aso Rock, a few certainties have now feebly remained certain. 
 
Two titans stand aloof, whilst the lesser mortals scramble for the tiny room left on the political stage that is Nigeria. Able and proven individuals like Oby Ezekwesili, defiantly stand as the Action Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN) hopeful, while the collective yearn for a single platform for the likes of Kingsley Moghalu, Omoyele Sowore and Fela Durotoye, disappeared in a poof, on the back of the latter’s emergence as the forerunner.

In the end, when it really mattered, the diversionary and placatory ways of the Board of Directors of Nigeria Plc, have once again prevailed. They don’t call them the Cabal for nothing. After all the smoke, mirrors and shenanigans, we end up proving the political elite’s stranglehold on our future, is complete.

As we all return back home to our reality, post the beguiling circus; the burning question on our lips should be; where do we really go from here?

Hoc est bellum

When one is confronted with the political history of Muhammadu Buhari and Atiku Abubakar, some obvious conclusions are unavoidable. In total, these two men have been manoeuvring and jostling to be a democratic king for quite a while and though the former finally succeeded in 2015, there is no hyperbole required, in describing their impending 2019 slug-fest as warfare. Atiku (unless infected with the Paul Biya virus) is almost certainly riding in his last rodeo and the president for his sins, has to prove Nigerians are appreciative of his go-slow and now slightly worn anti-graft combo.

As with most combats, irrespective of what war history tells us, it is rare that the Commander of a force is solely responsible for victory. Yes, their names are stamped on the rhetoric, but seasoned observers know able battalion leaders are required to ease ascension to power.

Not dissimilar to what happens with military coups, the battalions have to be led and possible counter-insurgence neutralised. In politics, more importantly and often disastrous to ignore, is the need to wrap such lieutenants (post victory) in cotton wool, with a few gourmet grapes hanging from their mouths. For a recurrence of their clout will always be called for. 
 
 For the Atiku camp, they are blessed (oddly enough) with never winning the war. There is a special strain of gusto only reserved for those who repeatedly contest, but have never been champions. That unpredictability of the underdog and their tendency to surprise, may yet be an asset.

Yes, AA has been vice-president, but he has never tasted the sweet nectar that drips from the rarefied flowers, in the Aso Rock secret garden. Saying that, the former VP has shown with tactical choices of lieutenants (love him or loath him, Peter Obi as running mate was a masterstroke), that he possesses the requisite grasp of what is at stake and the topography of the political pitch, on which the 2019 election will be fought.

For the Buhari camp, the task is less arduous. Their conundrum is actually not much of an enigma. They only have to answer one question; have Tinubu and Amaechi been sufficiently spoilt and treated with the proverbial baby gloves, specially reserved for battalion leaders who deliver the Promised Land? I hope for the president’s sake, that the answer is Yes!

Vincit qui patitur

As an armchair spectator whose sole goal is to see a prosperous and fair Nigeria, it will be unwise for me to believe this election process will pass, without contributing a few soundbites. The natural urge in view of the dire situation, is to ignore and jog on.

In fact, I wish I could, but my blogging record betrays me. Of course my counsel will most definitely fall on deaf ears, but one does not get involved in the politics of their motherland, because one wants to be recognised for their supposed sagacity, rather, one engages because of their inherent civil responsibility.

To that end, many like me spout our opinions on various platforms and offer advice, critique and praise depending on our chosen affiliations. It can be a gut-wrenching and emotionally draining affair, and as such requires copious amount of stamina, ardent focus and a keen sense of reality. For even when your candidate wins, you will still not see the totality of your desires materialise.

Power is so befuddling in its nature, that even people like Buhari, who found themselves making a return in 2015, met such a myriad of complexities on ground, that one struggles not to have some compassion for the ‘Oga at the top’.

If I was asked to give any advice to both sides, my compassionate take will be as follows:

· The integral convolutions within both your camps, mean to the most enduring will go the victory.

· Every vote, from every nook and corner of the country will matter.

· Involve more women in your campaigns. The more senior their roles, the better. It’s what sells and the right thing to do in today’s global climate.

· Oh yes, this election will be global, not national and definitely not local.

· No interest group, no matter how insignificant they may appear to be, can be ignored and the unpredictability of the political genre has to be embraced tightly.

· A governor who may have not been able to deliver his state a few months ago, could actually be a different beast in February 2019.

· A party chieftain who has not been required hitherto, can suddenly become the kingpin with whom the top echelon have to do uncomfortable business with.

· Money will matter, but in the end, desire and goodwill will matter more.

· The South-West will play a critical role.

· This election will not be about corruption. That is now so 2014–15. We have since shown we do not possess the stomach for that fight in its entirety, so the electorate will not buy that same old garment.

· This election will be about the ability to revolutionise Nigeria’s infrastructure and align it to the runaway train that is the global economy.

· This election will go down to the wire and it will be brutal.

· The loser of this election should accept the result with the good grace displayed by Goodluck Jonathan in 2015.

Outro

If either side require any more of my valuable advice on this election, especially on how to win it, they probably need to hire me. No free lunches!

God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria and everyone who wishes her well.