The 35 governors may be too busy for Fayose when he needs them

by Alexander O. Onukwue


You cannot under estimate the value of perception when dealing with people, while your intentions and actions may have good justifications.

When it comes to elections anywhere in the world, aspirants are expected to project a certain image, of maturity, of an appearance of independence, yet of the willingness to play along and negotiate with the establishment. Even Donald Trump did this, as fire and fury as he is, pandering to and parleying with the Clintons when it suited his purposes. CNN’s Anderson Cooper, after Trump had crossed 270 electoral college votes on election night, observed that there were indeed nice things about Trump, like when he said, in the final debate with Clinton, that what he liked about her was that she just never gives up.

Trump has stretched that a bit but politicians are still guided by the rule that there are no permanent friends and permanent enemies. They don’t burn bridges, probably only create potholes.

The dynamics of Presidential campaigns in Nigeria do not follow the exact same scripts of the West, but solidarity is a major feature here. This plays out most obviously in situations where a Governor is seen as a fore-runner for the position; colleagues seem to rally round this person to see him win, as was the case with Goodluck Jonathan in 2011. Similarly, when the majority of Governors rally against a given candidate, that’s a defeat almost sealed.

He has boasted to take power away from Buhari someday but Governor Ayo Fayose is not yet sure when he wants to run for that office. Renewing his position as the Governor of Ekiti state in the next 12 months seems to be the main priority at the moment. He will probably then plot his upgrade up from there to Abuja, but on the evidence of his body language this weekend – being busier than the Governors – the path to getting his 15 million votes could be quite challenging if the Governors will be taking chieftaincy titles within that period.

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