The real problem with Nigerian democracy must be the people themselves. I don’t yet have the the full picture in other parts of the country, other than Oyo State where the people seem to have voted according to their conscience. They taught Governor Abiola Ajimobi a lesson. They made it clear to him that careless talk is not a virtue in politics and that arrogance has serious consequences. But in some other parts of the country, like Ogun and Lagos states, money played a major role. The people collected money. They voted according to the size of their greed.If you don’t have money to throw away and close your eyes while doing so, may be you should never venture into Nigerian politics as it is today. I get the impression that the people do not trust their political leaders and the politicians. There may be slight differences here and there in terms of this affective and cognitive immersion in the Nigerian political process, but for the most part, the people believe that all politicians are the same. I was shocked by the level and size of cynicism that I saw.
Going forward, Nigeria must address the crisis of campaign funding and finance. One Governor went on radio to boast that he will spend N7 billion to impose his candidate of choice on a state. The monthly Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of the state in question is N7 billion. Nobody has taken up the issue. Similar acts of brazen silliness have been reported across the country. Going forward, we also need to worry more about the leadership recruitment process. It must be possible for Nigerian democracy to accommodate and promote the best, those who are willing to serve, and who believe in Nigeria and higher causes.
I also learnt many lessons about the psychology of Nigerian politics. I re-discovered our people and environment. I got a first-hand exposure to Nigerian politics, not as an observer-analyst but as a direct participant. I am better prepared for the future, and I have more than enough stories to tell. I want to thank Senator Buruji Kashamu for giving me the opportunity of this field experience and for his down-to-earth-ness, his sincerity, wisdom and the leadership that he provided. We fought hard in the courts to keep the ticket and we prevailed in the end.
The PDP betrayed us up till the last minute but we are comforted that we stood for the truth and for justice. Senator Buruji Kashamu has since congratulated Prince Dapo Abiodun, the Ogun State Governor-elect. He has also visited him at home in Iperu-Remo. Dapo Abiodun has a duty and a responsibility to run an inclusive government that will address the interest of all the people of Ogun State. He should resist the temptation to be an Ijebu or APC Governor.
I want to thank all the friends, family members and associates who supported me and stood by me. I am grateful to every member of our political family who devoted their time, energy and resources to the campaign. I also want to thank all the people who did their best to discourage me, and the professional trolls, haters and grumblers who have sent messages to mock me. I don’t feel discouraged. I believe Nigerian politics can be upgraded and rescued if we all summon the courage to get involved in it. We did not lose. We won in losing. That is the paradox of this experience and of the future that is to come.
If I felt any sense of loss at all, the morning after, it was in fact, the shocking report of the death of Pius Adesanmi, Professor of English and African Studies at Carleton University, Canada, in the ill-fated Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft that crashed a few minutes after taking off from Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Pius was a member of our community, and he was one of the best and the brightest. He wielded a sparkling, lyrical and polemical pen which he deployed with the ease and confidence of a well-cultured intellectual. I was his fan. I enjoyed reading him because it was not difficult to see that his talent was original and that his intellect was solid and that the respect and admiration that he enjoyed was well deserved.
He criticized me on many occasions but he was that kind of critic that left enough room for your dignity. I read many of his comments on my choices and interventions without feeling diminished. Why do bad things happen to good people? Why do flowers wither? Why Claude Ake? Why Pius Adesanmi? Ethiopian Airline has the best and the largest fleet in Africa. And now this…