Elections 2015: Congratulating Goodluck Jonathan, President-Elect

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Alright, God forbid. I also pray against this eventuality, the inauguration of disaster on May 29, 2015, because it appeals to our collective emotions. But this prayer alone can never stop a genius of electoral sentiments and manipulations, especially in a country where the politicians are obviously smarter than the electorates, from reaching a height where the destiny of the nation is designed. No country has ever been built, or project executed, or even a cause pursued, by amens and faith alone. Except in the imagination of Nigerians, the ones whose senses are bound in the fabrics of bigotry, extremism and patriotism along the lines of ethnicity, religion and region, respectively.

In the eyes of Nigerians who are already victorious for they have, or least so they thought, embarrassed the Presidency with the cacophonous criticisms over the President’s insensitivity to the spate of killings in the country, the past few days may be seen as tough for the partying occupants of Aso Rock. But, on a clearly written note, President Goodluck Jonathan really is the victor, the undeclared winner–Mainasara, as his northern campaigners called him pre-2011 presidential elections.

The pulse of the nation has changed ever since Governor Murtala Nyako of Adamawa State embarked on his “conspiracy theory” campaigns, accusing the Presidency of complicity in the growing insurgency in the north-east. With actually only conjectural proofs. This conduct makes the return to Aso Rock in 2015 much more easy for GEJ. The more cheap and unverifiable propagandas and conspiracies are propounded by those who should know better, the more he becomes more electable in a country this polarised. There was almost a consensus in our dismissal of GEJ as an irredeemably failed President, before these torrents of sentiments begin to blur our senses of perception.

The tragedy is, many may now volunteer to pitch tent with GEJ because of these dangerous accusations – of the Christian as the enemies. Without credible proofs, aside from obvious failings of government’s counterterrorism measures. We can only judge the President, without making him likable by a section of the citizens, with undeniable records of his very poor performance – which are enough to get Nigerians united against the present mis-governance. You see, if any people accuse my own too as the destroyer without corroborating evidences, I’ll be similarly hurt and even take an unpopular decision to support that unfairly judged devil!

The good people of Nigeria, however frustrated and suspicious we have become in attempting to understand this insurgency, must end this child’s play at once and ally to defeat the vampiric ruling class, all of them, stripped of the immunity they have earned in their dubious religious, ethnic and regional advocacies. If you don’t know how terrorism works, joining the bandwagon of the proponents of conspiracy theories isn’t the best resort. We must understand what terrorism is, we must understand that it is not a fanfare, but an irrational fatality perpetrated by a people to whom we’re not humans, but symbols, symbols of satanism, of anything unholy, of infections that must be cured. Violently!

The Boko Haram is as real as water. It began before our eyes, so any attempt to dismiss its actual existence, as some deluded citizens have done in their disturbing vulnerability to this seemingly plausible reports of the the federal government’s involvement, is lazy and mischievous. If you have concluded that the government or President as an individual sponsors the violence in the north, let’s also embrace the wisdom to ask: Who are influentially and integrally in the in the federal government. Both Muslims and Christians, northerners and southerners, and all the ethnic groups are represented.

So before you begin to accuse the President of complicity in destroying the north, do know that the Vice President, Inspector-General of Police, Minister of Defence, National Security Adviser, and even the Chairman of the ruling party, which some of us call “Boko Haram” in promoting our conspiracy of the government’s complicity, are Muslims and northerners. And, as such northerners occupy relevant security positions, how would they comply in these alleged ploys to destroy their own people?

I know that it’s understandable to embrace conspiracy theories in the absence of reasons, but the existence of BH itself is unreasonable. We embrace these conspiracy theories, every bit of them, even the absolutely absurd, because we had never experienced the irrational fatality of terrorism. We’re so hopeless, that any culprit presented to us is acceptable, which is even as dangerous as terrorism itself. The best decision Nigerians ought to make now is allying to ask our leaders to stop politicizing our security challenges. As we read Nyako’s letter or speech, let’s have in mind that he’s just also politician being who he is: a manipulative opportunist! He is no different from Olisa Metuh a few weeks ago, except for the damning fact that Nyako

I have written extensively on the terrors inspired by unchecked religious extremism and, having observed the damaging trends of this evil, I acknowledge that it is capable of turning Nigeria into the mess it is now and, thus, if I’m given a chance to talk to Gov. Nyako face to face, in the absence of his gun-totting guards, I’ll definitely tell him he’s just politically paranoid. We can’t talk about Boko Haram as though Mohammed Yusuf never existed!

The tragedy of Nyako’s claims is, we live in a country where his political posturing may be seen as humane activism by some, which is why many of us are already hoodwinked by his claims, without bothering to ask: what do BH insurgents want? Killing us, nonbelievers in their hollow ideologies, is seen as acts of worship by them. Terrorists who have been indoctrinated to consider terminating you acts of worship should be our first suspects in this dilemma. Our politicians, if they’re indeed morally upright, must form an alliance, however forced, to protect us, instead of their predictable maneuvering for victories at the February polls, which seems to be more important to them than even our security!

That you don’t like GEJ, which is very understandable, isn’t a reason to hang your objectivity in analyzing an attempt to undermine him by a paranoid politician. I’m also I’m sympathetic to the cause of APC in its bid to oust the failed incumbent but I won’t endorse any obvious propaganda!

On this, I wish to say, I’ll not forgive you, if my foresight is right that our misplaced paranoia may earn us, but may God intervene, another torturous term under GEJ. If you think GEJ is not electable, especially with this twist of ‘politicized activisms’, that’s because you don’t know Nigeria beyond Facebook and Twitter. May God save us from us!

By Gimba Kakanda
@gimbakakanda (On Twitter)

Of Mass Despair and Political Vampirism

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If you still hold on to the delusion that your worth as a human, and even as a citizen, is as important as the ambition of our desperate politicians or that, as an ordinary citizen, you’re indeed indispensable in their political calculations and foresights, you have obviously stopped using, a misfortune this brings, that with which you were born, to perceive, analyse and understand: your brain.

The explosions at a bus park in Nyanya, a suburb of Abuja, this week did not just punctuate the existence of tens of struggling Nigerians, and condemning a lot more to permanent handicaps, but intensified the debates over the worth of the masses in a country this insecure, and yet polarised.

Being human and poor in Nigeria, the vagabonds in power have loudly confirmed, is a mere statistical existence. Worthless. Like our GDP figure. Perhaps we need to define the meaning of “death” and “humanity” to them. They don’t seem to know that death is a one-way ticket to permanent oblivion. We’re not animals for God’s sake. We’re humans. Like the Americans. Like the Europeans. Live every decent human being, in whom are soul, emotions and dreams, all over the world. But being a Nigerian, the incapability to protect us has shown, is a mere geographic identity; an identity of an undermined people stripped of their humanity in a godforsaken country.

Elsewhere, bombs don’t discriminate. Ours do. Our bombs are always sensitive to class: they’re mostly in places where the masses gather and struggle to stay alive independent of a government that does nothing to redeem their sufferings. Yet the clueless members of our ruling class who have sorrowfully lamented that their offices only bring them endless miseries and difficulties in managing the people still go ahead to run for office. And I ask: is democracy now a system for hereditary rights?

My biggest fear remains the vulnerability of Nigerian masses to the veneers of ethno-religious and regional advocacies championed by our politicians to disarm any tendency to unite for the purpose of revolt against them. They have never given the masses an opportunity to think, with the rate at which they highlight divisive trends to confuse them and even be seen as heroes to those whose rights and interests they claim to be defending as political representatives. In a recent bid to exploit our disarmed intelligence, the Publicity Secretary of PDP, reacting to the Nyanya blasts, reportedly singled the main opposition party out for responsibility in the unholy act. It could be said that Metuh was only being an image-maker, blaming the opposition before they’d do so, before APC’s image-maker Lai Mohammed’s predictable, PDP-bashing press release would hit the press. It could be said, also, that Metuh was tired of being on the defensive, hence the reason for his conclusion that APC was responsible within just a few minutes after the incident, qualifying for the briefest investigation ever conducted in history. This malicious PR would, apparently, forestall any intention by the APC spokesman to blame PDP. Smart villains!

But this vile politics is not commendable at all, outrightly uncharitable in a country where condolences have become as common as hellos. In a real country, Olisa Metuh and all politicians who have attempted to blame the others as perpetrators of terror acts may be taken in by the authority and properly interrogated and, if found to be merely mischievous, the court will decide the number of years they may have to spend in jail for such defamations and polarising accusations. It’s so sad that the clowns we have in charge of this nation are polarising accusers whose evils thrive on our refusal to be serious, I mean unite against this undeserved political vampirism that consumes us, not in bits, in mass, one after the other, mass after mass!

As expressed elsewhere, Nigeria is a nation where Critical Thinking has been in exile. What has found a throne in Nigeria is Creative Thinking; a dangerous culture that produces the Olisa Metuhs and the Wendell “Reno” Simlins, harebrained and hopeless analysts incapable of telling A apart from H because, so diseased, they won’t see the top of anything. They don’t see, or won’t say, that the top of A is angular

In analysing the clues available for making meanings out of our national tragedies, we see the genius of these creative thinkers: Boko Haram, they create, this time with disturbing confidence, is a reaction to the existence of non-northern President. The same Boko Haram insurgents that have destroyed the habitats of the people you refer to as their brothers and sisters? The same Boko Haram whose founder was killed by a northern and, very importantly, Muslim President? How many more follies do Nigerians have to exude for this subclinical psychopathy to be medically confirmed.

Though the silliness of the Metuhs and the Similins is mere selfish propaganda designed to secure the fate of their bosses in 2015, how about the unsuspecting and gullible citizens they have indoctrinated, rousing mutual suspicions? Their polarisation strategy is so effective that even in our anger over the Nyanya blasts we still trade blames, allowing ourselves to be possessed by the propagandas of the ruling elite whose interests are hardly found in suburban Nigeria where the masses tend to their dreams and hopes, forsaken and confused. We don’t ask the right questions. We refuse to even acknowledge that the bombs didn’t differentiate between the Muslims and Christians, Igbo and Hausa, Southerners and Northerners, Children and Adults… We refuse to acknowledge that only the members of an embarrassingly played class were killed and damaged in the blasts!

The Presidency, in justifying its refusal to cancel its planned political fanfares over the terror attack, said that such is to prove to the terrorists that they can never stop pulse of the nation. But if the terrorists who have also abducted our sisters and daughters, just when we were still mourning, are as inconsequential as Mr President seeks to portray, why hasn’t he visited their hotbeds in Borno? Would Goodluck Jonathan and his fellow PDP partiers have continued in their political campaigns and fanfares if it were members of the ruling class that died in the Nyanya blasts? Would they have been so openly unsympathetic and indifferent if the blasts had consumed some of them? No, Mr. President, the only way to prove that you’re unstoppable is by crushing them. Your empty boasts that you have succeeded in restricting Boko Haram insurgents to the fringes (as though the fringes are not part of your territory), which the Nyanya blasts have shown as untrue, would not protect us when they strike while you are fortressed in Aso Rock, unmindful of how N1 trillion naira disbursed for our security were used, and yet the country is still unsafe!

Poverty is not a lack of common sense, gullible Nigerians. It’s merely a state of economic dissatisfaction that has no direct, I repeat direct, effect on your intelligence quotient. Most of the thinkers who propounded the philosophies that have become guiding principles even to the affluent emperors were, beyond redemptions. May God save us from us!

By Gimba Kakanda​

@gimbakakanda (On Twitter)

Strategies for Regaining Political Relevance in Nigeria

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Dear Politicians,

This may be the last, and I’m sure it’s not the first, intervention shared out of my sensitivity to your unjust vilification by a vengeful people to whom you, your family and friends are responsible for the witnessed socio-political dysfunction and all the things, genuine and imaginary, that have barred them from benefiting from your largesse when you were elected to, well, secure some proportions of the dividends of democracy for them. So, if you’re concerned about the negative media you have endured recently, this is the way out:

Journalists may be your worst nightmare but their weapons aimed and fashioned against you will not prosper if the reading citizens are on your side, and are aware that all you have experienced since leaving office are the handiwork of your enemies from the other region, religion or ethnic group. So, come to the social media, which is now the beer parlour of all reading citizens, and face your predators. Yes, create Facebook and Twitter accounts and befriend them, all of them, trolls both northern and southern, Muslim and Christian, patronising and belligerent, sound and silly, young and old…

At first they’ll accuse you, label you and even gang up against you and yours. Don’t panic. Call them “my bro”, “my sis”, “my young friend”, “my good friend” and even “sir” and “ma” in responding to their attacks. They’ll calm down. “Wow! X is so humble,” they’ll say. “Thanks for the response, boss!” they will add. And then, “Thanks for clarifying. This made a difference!” It’s called famzing. Google it!

Don’t stop there. Show them you are as dispossessed of all the good things of life as they are. It doesn’t matter that you’re reading their tweets and posts lounged in your yacht or lavish living room in a grand European or American city. Post about your private life: how you taught your wife, call her by a mischievous pet name in your post and tweet, how to prepare a dish–feminists will hail you for this. How the government of the day has been wasting public funds–the opposition will hail you for this. How the sermons at the mosque or church that day uplifted your spirit–the religious, and they’re in their millions, mostly uncritical, will embrace you. How Arik almost crashed with you on board, in the economy class cabin–the lower middle-class will sympathise with you….

As soon as you’ve successfully polarised them, embark on overt humanising stunts. Post pictures of you and your wife playing a video game. Share stories of how you couldn’t afford a stay in London, and that your friend–mention a Forbes-endorsed business tycoon–had to host you. Never hesitate to exploit the gullibility of your supporters anytime an unlucky politician is convicted; manufacture an experience and tell them how you and a certain politician resisted participation in such corrupt act while you were in power. Make sure that the “certain politician ‘friend'” has a huge following and, very importantly, is no longer alive. If you’re not too young to be a crony or disciple of, say, Aminu Kano, tell your followers that he was that certain politician. And that you have actually resisted many of such unholy acts together with, or in line with the principles of, the late emancipator of the talakawa. You just won over citizens to whom Aminu Kano was a role model to your side. And you’ll be shocked by their number, and the passion with which they will defend you henceforth.

Nothing unifies the people as much as grief. Always remember this. So be very quick to exploit such situations. If you lose even a distant relative, say an aunt whom you never ever met, to a disease that kills even the most medically conscious, make sure you write about it and how sincerely broken you have become over the death. People are united in their fear of cancer, so if it is the cause of the death of that relative, make sure you become a cancer advocate in memory of that “beloved aunt who was my favorite confidant… She was the one who advised me to go into politics.” This sentiment shared will validate your political credential in ways you never imagined. Even if your advocacy is for a week or month, be very loud in your solidarity with all cancer patients and survivors. It doesn’t matter that you actually threw the photocopy of your aunt’s medical report with details of diagnosis and cost of treatments into your bin when your personal assistant delivered it to you. “Sir, I lost my mother too to cancer, so I can understand how you feel about your late aunt now. May her soul rest in peace. Please take heart!” This, identification with your predicament by your critics, is a very effective tool of unravelling their hate.

One more thing, always be ready to “politicise” the misfortunes that befall your political enemies. Let’s say one loses a wife, dedicate a Facebook post or tweet to condoling with him, saying how death is not a respecter of any and how we all will die some day. This emotive condolence may touch the heart of your critics and supporters of the bereaved who, in that spark of your wisdom, will remember fatalism and how the Bible and the Qur’an actually emphasise the essence of forgiveness.

I may not know how damaged your reputation is, but as a reputation management expert, of course I’m one, a sought-after one even, I only recognise two effective ways of interacting with your critics. One is to disarm them, and the second is to confront them. Disarming is a tactic you employ in calming your critics by responding to them in the most friendliest possible way and referring to them as “brother”, “sister”, and “friend” which is exactly what everyone wishes to become to a Big Man.

Now, to the confronting method, you must be ready to stoke religious, ethnic and regional sentiments to polarise your critics if it gets too tough. Do this for some months to gain very reliable “family and friends” before you embark on confronting your most difficult critics. You confront your critics by marking them out, or highlighting the damaging things they have said about you, and then permitting your supporters, who are mostly victims of your polarisation campaigns, to lynch them. Be very articulate in insinuating that you’re despised by them for being of a particular religion, region, political party or ethnic group. Better to have a polarised fan base than dealing with collectively belligerent bullies. A good friend of mine used to be a critic of this politician but we have not read anything negative from him ever since the politician shared his article and praised him, almost calling him a genius for insulting President Goodluck Jonathan.

Wait, my dear clients. Do not get carried away in your rush to convince your supporters that you are not the retired thieves our newspapers report. Do not allow your supporters to see you as one of them, ordinary mortals or paranoid victims of Out of Office Syndrome who have turned the social media into a rehab. So, be sure you frequently share details and photographs of your meetings with famous and powerful people. Especially white technocrats, politicians and diplomats. Call those global icons too “my friends”, and do not be modest in sharing that you actually took them up, and even educated them, on aspects of your country they didn’t understand. Being seen as an equal of Bill Clinton, whose photograph of you with him, your supporters have widely shared, is a confirmation of your ability, power and influence. Nobody will realise that you only got to see and pose with Bill Clinton during the general photo session at the event you attended as an audience member, uninvited guest, star-struck.

Your other enemies are journalists but I deliberately refused to mention them because they’re the easiest to tame. All you need is locating the addresses of obsessively critical journalists and inviting them over for lunch or dinner and, well, you know the parting gift. If at this age in your pursuit of relevance, you don’t know the power of brown envelopes, then you’re not fit to be a politician. Trust me, if you do as I have advised here pro bono, even if you still have conscience left at the end, you may not even share or retweet certain praises from your former vilifiers, not out of modesty, but for being obscenely flattering. Sample? “Sir, I used to hate you but now I’ve realized that I was wrong. You’re the best XYZ ever in Nigeria. Please we need you as President in 20XX!”

May God save us from us!

By Gimba Kakanda
@gimbakakanda (On Twitter)