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ANALYSIS: What Is In The Political Homage And Predictions?  

By Tajudeen Balogun, Head, African Examiner, Nigeria Bureau

 BALTIMORE, MD (AFRICAN EXAMINER) – It is normal for man to always aspire to achieve a new goal in life. However, an ambition will remain only a dream if not followed with planning and action. This clearly defines the direct link between the struggle and success. And as put by a Latin aphorism: ‘’ex nihilo nihil fit’’ (nothing comes from nothing). The key message in this adage is that: diligence is always required to attain desirable result in every drive.

With the aforementioned, one has no choice than to appreciate politicians’ struggles to grab power. But despite this, it must be established that the approach adopted by the Nigerian politicians is baffling. In the politics here, rationality seems not to have a place. The rash of current political homage by the party Chieftains and emerging predictions by the clerics are good examples to justify this position. 

In the (homage) spree, former President Olusegun Obasanjo strangely, but unarguably stands out. He enjoys more of the visits from the old and new class of politicians; from the ruling and oppositions’ members; from the political associates, friends and foes. His hilltop home in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital has for long become mecca of a sort – where politicians throng, to seek for one support or the other. This is amazing and how the trend has come to stay remains mysterious.

The other day, the opposition PDP National Working Committee NWC, led by its National Chairman Prince Uche Secondus in a drastic move to reorganize the party and reconcile its aggrieved members visited OBJ in Abeokuta. Not minding the man who few years ago, tore his membership card and declared publicly that he has ceased to be a member of the party, which headed for eight years! The PDP chieftains said after the visit that Baba was an authority and has the ‘Midas touch’ to correct the wrongs that had befallen the country. On this premises, they declared that they could not afford not to have him on the party’s side especially at the time the country was ‘’sliding’’.

In 2015, notable ruling APC stalwarts defied all odds and their differences with him, and then called at his Egba home. This was at the time the game changed against the PDP to favour its rival then – the APC. The visit marketed OBJ and gave an impression that his support matters in major electoral victory in Nigeria. But is that impression really correct? I will get back to that later.

Recently, it was the turn of the immediate past President Goodluck Jonathan and his wife, Mama Peace. The two (OBJ and Jonathan) ahead of 2015 general elections differed on who runs as the PDP Presidential candidate. The bubble finally burst when

 Jonathan insisted that it must be him. Eventually, they parted and operated at parallel level. So, what does former President now want from OBJ – less than four years he campaigned against him? Did he come to seek forgiveness for his past sins?; to seek for reconciliation or fronting for a candidate? Honestly, I have no answer to these. Still, his (GEJ’s) visit provokes the question: What does rationality mean to an average Nigerian politician? Perhaps, they have different definition.

After the recent festival of mass defection, OBJ has recorded more homage. His political acolytes such as the former Kano State Governor, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, his former counterpart in Jigawa State, Sule Lamido had visited differently, seeking for relevance and support from ‘Ebora’ Owu. The Governor of Gombe State, Ibrahim Dakwanbo has also followed suit. .

Former President Obasanjo is not the only political figure in the country known for receiving political party members for homage. Another former Military President, Gen. (retd) Ibrahim Babangida regularly does, in his Minna Niger state, hilltop mansion.

Last week after addressing a press conference in Abuja on the siege laid by the DSS operatives at NASS premises, the President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki shocked many when he visited Babangida and had a closed door meeting with him. Saraki who over two weeks ago, announced his defection back to the PDP and who had a week earlier after announcing the cross carpeting of some APC Senators to three opposition parties including the PDP , adjourned the Senate plenary till September, despite the enormous task before it, yet, created the time for the Minna visit. I wonder!

Again, Saraki on Tuesday this week, traveled to Abeokuta to pay homage to the former President. But I wish to ask; the visit is for what?

Yes, I asked: what is the relevance and effects of the homage to both OBJ and IBB? I wish to start from Obasanjo. This is a politician who by power of providence was fielded in 1999 general elections by the PDP, but failed as a Presidential candidate to win in his Ita Eko polling unit, let alone his ward and his Abeokuta South Local Government area.    

Former President Obasanjo in 2003 and 2007 launched and promoted ‘’do or die politics’’ but despite this, he never achieved for his party a landslide victory right from his unit up till the Local Government level.

The political value and relevance of OBJ is questionable and I do not mince words to say this. Take it or leave it, the victory of APC in Obasanjo’s State – Ogun in 2015 general elections has nothing to do with his support to the party. His opposition to the PDP then, only added comical dimension to the campaign and polls proper.

OBJ is over rated by those who patronize him. If anything, he is only good at his awada keri keri (unlimited drama) and his voluble assaults on those he has issues with.

 Obasanjo is not a political messiah. He lacks the moral to be so declared. Far from it, he is not and cannot be the ‘’moral compass’’ for Nigerian political will.

Today, I throw a challenge at those who pay homage to him, that OBJ personality cannot draw winning votes for any political party he belongs in Ogun State, not to talk of other States across the country.

If IBB’s case is a bit different from OBJ, especially with his people (in Niger State), may I ask: what level of command and grip does he have over the PDP; its present Leadership, their financiers, and not to mention the entire Nigerian populace? The truth of the matter is that the two political lords have limited influence on the party they belong as well as on the voting populace.

So, why the torrential homage? May be the mission is beyond seeking for votes; the politicians know better. Well, let me say here that the Turaki Adamawa has no cause to lose sleep as he will not be able to join in the spree to his former boss, no thanks to their differences. Anyone who pleads to Atiku Abubakar to visit Baba is his enemy, as he cannot afford second taunting. You recall OBJ once mocked him when he and some politicians paid him homage in Abeokuta. Upon being informed by Atiku that he visited because he wanted to run for Presidential election, OBJ reportedly replied and asked Atiku where he was running to?

Instead of getting worry about the missed visit to OBJ, Atiku should begin to research into how he could get the support of the youths within the PDP and solicit their votes if he can. And for the general elections, he should work on how to win to his side, as many as possible Nollywood stars as well as the Nigerian artists, not forgetting the youths. Thankfully, ‘’Not too Young to Run Law’’ is now in place. He could promise them more appointments in his cabinet if elected, so as to get their support in general elections, if he feels up to. Another potential area is the cripples. All of these have the numbers to win at the poll; not the junketing around, to pay homage to the political figures whose big names cannot archive any remarkable electoral victory. The same words of advice go to other PDP aspirants and their counterparts from other political parties.

In all, the homage attests to the fact that some of our politicians are idle, desperate and gullible.

Alongside the homage are the predictions by the clerics. On Wednesday, (this week) the founder of INRI Evangelical Spiritual Church, Primate Elijah Ayodele in Ikere Ekiti predicted victory for Saraki, provided he wins his Party’s – PDP Presidential primary.

Let’s think about this. The man Pastor Ayodele declared victory for is yet to publicly declare that he was going to contest. The closest Saraki has done happened later the same day, when he said he was still considering the option. So, where is the vision coming from? I can’t understand the logic.

I recall it was the same Pastor Ayodele as well as the Founder and Senior Pastor of the Omega Fire Ministry, Auchi, Apostle Johnson Suleiman who predicted victory for a candidate of a political party in the recently conducted Ekiti State Governorship election, but failed.

In 2015, the popular Catholic priest, Father Ejike Mbaka of (Adoration Ministry); then in Enugu, predicted victory for President Muhammadu Buhari. But what could have happened if this prediction was not made? I feel strongly that there couldn’t have been any difference. The situation and the mood in the country determine the electoral outcome.

This takes the issue to the conclusion that some of the predictions mostly amount to seeking public attention, relevance and ultimately, patronage from the politicians. It is only because Nigeria is a religious country, otherwise, the forecasts would have been considered as distraction; noise, therefore not needed.

Besides, the clerics only work on the psychology of the politicians. Most of the time, they say what they wish to hear – ‘to sell their market’. To put stop to this, politicians in this country must embrace purposeful and productive governance. This, with a vibrant electioneering campaign, will earn political party’s aspirants and candidates the desired victory when either seeking for election or re-election, not the mere pastime – the needles ‘pilgrimage’ and self-seeking predictions which have for long, dominated our political culture.

Finally, the politicians who hope to benefits from homage and predictions must be warned that the Nigerian voting populace is getting wiser by the day. What that means is that the two gimmicks cannot make significant difference. Therefore, they must accept that there is the need for a better and digital political strategy to ride to the victory, irrespective of the poverty level in the land and financial inducement syndrome.  

E-mailtjaysuccess10@gmail.comTwitter: @tajudeen Balogun; Facebook: Tajudeen Balogun; Skype: tjaysuccess10@gmail.com


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