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OP-UNEDITED | Three Silent Lessons from Kogi Gubernatorial Election

By Lai Labode

1. Sometimes Nature has a way of intervening in nation’s affairs
It reminds me of one maximum dictator who wanted to become life president against majority’s will. He was able to win over all political apparatus (The parties, late Bola Ige described as “5 leprous fingers”) and all that is needed is mere formality and he would be the next president, possibly life President.. Then some Indian prostitutes bailed the country out by feeding him mysterious apples. He kicked the bucket just when his victory was assured and the nation celebrated his demise! In a twist of fate, the man he condemned to death was to later become president and then ruled for 8 years.

In Kogi election, it was clear that the two front runners were both regarded as liabilities even though both of them have pocketed the political machinery in the state. The disdain of sensible people toward their candidacy is such that many people regarded the choice between the two leaders as a choice between “Ebola and HIV”! One of them was surely going to win. And then on the verge of victory, the winning one joined his ancestors!

While the state did not generally jubilate over his death, it was clear that many silently heaved sigh of relief. After all they were getting neither Ebola nor HIV as anticipated … anything else appear to be acceptable.

As soon as  he is confirmed dead,  his enemies and friends started fighting over his seat even before his corpse starts to decompose. You are only relevance as you breathe. You can only run the race, but the ending is not always yours to decide.

I ponder on the words of Meredith Grey: “At the end of the day faith is a funny thing. It turns up when you don’t really expect it. It’s like one day you realize that the fairy tale may be slightly different than you dreamed. The castle, well, it may not be a castle. And its not so important happy ever after, just that its happy right now. See once in a while, once in a blue moon, people will surprise you , and once in a while people may even take your breath away.”

2. Political parties own Nigeria!
As much as some people would want to think otherwise, especially among the activists and those who constantly preach reform in Nigeria but never want to associate with any of the political parties (nor vote any party in elections) because they feel all the parties are unclean and rogues. Well, the bad news is that such people may likely remain political marabouts who have the solutions to the country problems but  will more likely die with those solutions because they refuse to make it available. What is more, they will continue be governed by the decision of those who voted and those who participated.

The Kogi elections clearly revealed that the mandate belongs to the Political parties. The manner INEC requested for substitution of candidate and the fact that the late Audu votes are automatically given to the new candidate is a silent affirmation of the supremacy of the Party.

It goes without saying that all those who are interested in shaping Nigeria from social media, and thinking a miracle can happen one day may have to wait longer. As long as the constitution does not recognize independent candidates, you have to go shop for a party or form yours. The only other way is to become consultant to the winning party.

Good to take solace in words of Martin Sheen: “Future generations are not going to ask us what political party were you in. They are going to ask what did you do about it, when you knew the glaciers were melting.”

3. Young People can still get into seat of power without resorting to sentiment and blackmail
When Canadians elected a young leader, the Nigerian youths took to social media to express their frustration at home and to dig up history of our past leaders who ruled at younger age…Awolowo, Azikwe, Gowon etc all lead or started leading while still young. Many younger Nigerians today do don’t understand why the oldies can’t just vanish and leave power for them.

The truth is that most of these people are lazy. They want to eat their cake and have it. They want power handed to them on platter of gold, all because they are young and below 30s. The elevation (or election) of Yahya Bello is a lesson to these young agitators. If you want power, you have got to play politics and be in politics. You cannot be playing saint and standing on the fence while expecting those who have been working so hard and endangering their lives to just hand you the power. Yahya Bello was chosen because he came second during the primaries. In other word, he was actively involved in the process and fortune and luck smiled on him.

If you want power, young Turks, go and join the parties or form your own party. There are thousands of books and articles that teach strategies and act of political power.. Read more of them and read less of propaganda and gossips. No amount of noise making and history revision (or even revolution) can transfer power directly to you unless you struggle for it and be at the right place at the right time. Young men and women should save their energy and begin to learn the rope. There is no handout out there in Nigerian politics unless you are an appointee or contractor.

One more word from John Green : “You spend your whole life stuck in the labyrinth, thinking about how you’ll escape one day, and how awesome it will be, and imagining that future keeps you going, but you never do it. You just use the future to escape the present.”

Lai Labode is a business innovator, entrepreneur, writer, politician and 21st century philosopher. He tweets via @lailabode

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Inspired by Steve Biko’s ‘I Write What I Like‘, OP-UNEDITED is the citizen opinion segment of SIGNAL. All opinions posted on the OP-UNEDITED page are unedited and the raw opinions of the writers.

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