El-rufai’s kneeling and the thing called Nigerian politics by Ishaq Usman

Dotun Ayorinde of the Abundant Nigeria Renewal Party (ANRP) scored only 125 votes in the last gubernatorial elections held in Ekiti after spending 50 million naira. It was a rude shock to the bio-pharmacist. He honestly expected people to vote his party over the heavyweights. This sentience typifies how plenty “elites” view politics in Nigeria.


Nigerian politics is distinct. It is far from what we read in books. This is why people like Honorable Gudaji Kazaure was elected to the House of Representatives and Wole Soyinka’s presidential ambition died as soon as it took off.


Our politics is local. Spin it how you like but you must have an enabler at the grassroots. One that knows the people and knows how to shephard them to a cause by as simple as shouting. You must have it strong at home. Your home must be your buffer zone where your interest and influence is continuous. It is a startling embarrassment for any politician that knows his worth to loose his ward and his local government. Your home is your tripod, a board you lean on to catapult you to political greatness. This is why MC Oluomo will trounce Ogbeni Dipo in any election in Lagos State. His “ignorance” is often quoted as a hindrance but Ogbeni’s brilliance will not take him anywhere in politics either. Truth is, if Ogbeni wants to be governor of Lagos tomorrow, he must seek Oluomo’s blessings.


Most “elites” and “not-too-young-to-run” youths feel they can waltz into politics and waltz into victory with a stocked vocabulary. In Nigerian politics, your grammar will help you win beer parlour arguments on who speaks better. You need to come off your high horse, meet the people locally, get in touch with the leader, however ” ignorant” you think he/she is, and build a connection with him/her.


Drop your degrees. Share rice. Tie wrapper, eat kponmo, plait hair and share tomatoes. Learn how to insult however veiled it will be. Learn how to queue when and where someone will see. Do this, win your election and start to change things. Share rice and continue sharing rice.


Party is important. Party is supreme. Politics is not like academia where you can choose to be in the company of brilliant people. Politics brings you what it brings you. However bad a choice your party makes, you must support it.

This is why Elrufai knelt down in Kogi. This is why Fashola supported Ambode. This is why Buhari supported Ganduje.
Commentary on politics is always laced with emotions.

Nigerian politics has no time for that. Logic is it’s companion. And logic means that what will happen, will happen. It doesn’t matter if it’s right or wrong.  Logic should tell you that Yahaya Bello will win because any one that pays any attention to him and his ways knows how he does his things.  Logic is what tells you not to be surprised when faced with disgusting hypocrisy.

No, I don’t think you get it. If there is anything you are sure of in this game, it’s hypocrisy. It is what describes ThePunch’s sudden burst of patriotism. Fayose showed constant signs of dictatorship and no, his naming ceremony isn’t due. Logic tells you not to be angry after seeing Obasanjo’s atikulated U-turn. Logic tells you Tambuwal never stood a chance re-PDP primaries. Logic tells you to expect godfather and godson fueds. It’s either the godson gets tired of being pushed about with all the executive apparatus at his disposal or the godfather feels too big and underestimates the godson. We have seen Wammako and Baffarawa. We have seen Kwankwaso and Ganduje.


This politics thing is a game. A game known by many but mastered by a few. Nocturnal meetings, end time schemings akin to the knowledge of a jew. Politicians will politick. I don’t understand why people get angry when politicians politick. They will sieze every chance, defy logic and define illogic to present themselves as a better alternative.


Is there honesty in this game? Well, that is left to how you see it. I believe honesty is an orphan in Nigerian politics. Orphaned of parents, a home and beautiful clothes. It wanders with it’s wings, aimlessly, looking for where to perch.

Sometimes it perches in the mind of political strategists who beautify it and change its entire make up. Sometimes it’s comes under the pen of Mr. Editor at Punch. He does a little adjustments and adds 56inches to it’s height. Sometimes, it lands on the politician’s head but it’s too ugly a sight. A politician of his class knows it’s suicidal to be seen with a sight that ugly. So he hides it. In a grave, a cupboard or in the deep recesses of his mind, never to be seen and spoken off. In rare cases, the politician damns every “logical” political advise and makes a thing that ugly his friend. His followers will be the first to flee. To the other politician that buried it.


Nikita Kruschev, Premier of the Soviet Union from 1958-1964 said ” politicians are the same the world over. They promise to build bridges even when there are no rivers”.


Very what? Very apt. I’d have ended here but I just saw video of Boris Johnson going to share ” groceries” and soliciting for votes. Like say na for Nigeria now, na vote-buying. Leemawu.


Ishaq Usman is a freelance journalist with Switch Media Inc. He can be reached @Najalpharouque on Twitter.