Author: Bobo Omotayo
Year of Publication: 2013
Reviewer: Olutayo Irantiola
The political environment of Nigeria is getting charged in anticipation of the 2019 General elections. The different political processes have been initiated at various levels all over the federation. This has led to accusations and counter-accusations; factions and breakdowns; defection which was described as transfer window; primaries. Hopefully, we are all looking forward to the final winners at the polls come February 2019. The realities of this critical period in the annals of the history seems like a four year circus.
The text under consideration is a collection of short and random observations from a campaign trail. There are some notable occurrences that are headlines every electioneering period which will be highlighted in this short review.
Electioneering period is usually a period of battling with the incumbent. If one is not battling with the incumbent who wants to run for another term, you will sure be battling with the person that the incumbent wants to ‘install’ to cover up his despicable acts while in office. Interestingly, with or without innovative leadership and the dividend of democracy, people are hoodwinked into believing that ‘a known devil is better than an unknown angel’ syndrome.
The likelihood of running bankrupt if care is not taken abound because the aspirant is expected to keep speeding in millions while he has no time to attend to his business. As a matter of fact, aspirants have been led to seek for funds through fundraising many times. What do you expect? All investors will definitely queue up for a return on their investment.
In the game of politics, there are endless consultations, permutations and constellations among others. As godfathers are being consulted, there would also be meetings with other party members. As noted by the author, he became so popular that he gets invitation to every event ranging from naming ceremonies to funerals; artisan apprenticeship freedom; speaking to student bodies etc. If an aspirant wants to speak the language of the electorates, it remains money and not vocabularies.
The funfair associated with politics is massive; feasting become a regular feature of the family house. Political rallies are venues of amusements, if the aspirant is not laughing, he is considered too stern; if he is not leading abusive songs, he is considered not to be a grassroots person amongst others. The cap won by a politician in the game is multifaceted and the game is played based on the merit of each case.
The issues in the life of an aspirant is usually used for slander in an attempt to derail the ambition of the person. The personae had a fair share of this as well. He was considered not manly enough because he was not married. In order to counter this, they developed the concept of “Iyawo London”, a wife resident overseas.
The book typifies the lip service being paid to the not too young to run bill assented to by the President Muhammadu Buhari led administration. Politics is still considered as an exclusive game for the big boys and not for small boys. At what stage would small boy become big enough to play the game?
Who is interested in social media based politicians. The author being a PR Professional in Lagos understands the use of the traditional and new media but that was not enough to get all the needed attention of the electorates based in Ijebu. Political communication in Nigeria is still in its infantile stage most especially when it is limited to a small constituency.
Aspirants usually stoops low during the electioneering period as they would want to claim that they are a part of the electorates and the national life, at large. For the personae in this novella, he ended up in the hospital suffering from food poisoning. In another vein, spies are all around the political landscape; they share the secrets of a political aspirant with his opponent. However, how sure is one that they are not doing the same in the other camp?
The call to step down from seeking elective office and settling for selective office (appointments) is a reoccurring decimal in Nigerian politics. With this, the aspirant will not totally be left out of governance and this sort of compensation would be a springboard for his political ambition which still solely depends on the directives of the party leaders.
Unfortunately, the political enthusiasm of the character in the text, Segun Olatunji, waned out after losing election, the admonition of Otunba’s son to him was not hearkened unto. This advice is applicable to everyone who wants to succeed in the journey of life, it goes thus, and “I wish you the best of luck with your campaign and if you don’t win this time, try again”.
All the best to all young aspirants in the 2019 elections, we look forward to knowing your story too after the elections. If you do not win this time, try again in 2023!