Akintunde Oyebode: From Uncle Sam with love (YNaija FrontPage)

The way Dame Patience Jonathan was unleashed during the Presidential campaign suggested women were a clear target. I am convinced her stuttering grammar during the election was also a ploy to align with an influential segment of pidgin speaking Nigerians.

“The murderers are among us. Let no one be in any doubt. They sit among us, right within this somber gathering that honours the passage of a hero.” With those words, Wole Soyinka began an emotional oration at the funeral of his dear friend, Bola Ige. It is a rare occurrence for your favourite writer to write about your favourite politician, which is why one of my most treasured documents is a copy of that tribute, Ige: An Ecumenical Spirit. I read it every year on the anniversary of Bola Ige’s death, because it reminds of the crudity that permeates our political environment and how far away we are from the type of image America exhibited less than 48 hours ago.

While Mitt Romney’s gracious acceptance of defeat and Barack Obama’s generous victory speech don’t signify a flawless political system, it is a reminder that a society is only as strong as its foundation, not the age of its democracy. The differences in the American and Nigerian political structures can best be understood by reading Max Siollun’s Oil, Politics and Violence and Richard Morris’s Seven Who Shaped Our Destiny: The Founding Fathers as Revolutionaries. Anyone willing to read both books will not only see how our political system has remained stagnant, but how Uncle Sam’s early structure bests our current system. The biggest lesson is not a review of our spectacular failure as a nation, but how the current political class can slowly undo decades of damage to a nation that remains on the precipice.

Once he was comprehensively beaten in the first Presidential debate, Barack Obama’s reelection never looked assured. His performance in office was lukewarm, and his 2008 message of hope and change seemed light years away. Critically, his message on social cover resonated better with an electorate still feeling the effects of a depression, and his focus on damaging his opponent in the absence of a stellar report card, got him reelected. The result was that while 53% of voters that earned over $50,000 voted for Mitt Romney, 60% of voters that earned less than $6,000 voted for President Obama. This, and the Republican Party’s poor understanding of women, minority voters, and changing demographics, cost Mitt Romney a term at the White House.

One hopes the Nigerian opposition is watching and learning. The first lesson is simple; it takes a lot to unseat an incumbent government. While President Jonathan continues to underwhelm, he is not as unpopular as the opposition suggests. With less than 18 months to the next general election, there is no clear sign of a united opposition to the behemoth called the PDP. And in a dress rehearsal for bigger battles, the self-acclaimed leading opposition party, showed a shocking lack of ideas when trying to unseat Ondo State’s Olusegun Mimiko from the Government House in Akure.

The Nigerian electorate is getting smarter, and the PDP seems to be the only party aware of it. The way Dame Patience Jonathan was unleashed during the Presidential campaign suggested women were a clear target. I am convinced her stuttering grammar during the election was also a ploy to align with an influential segment of pidgin speaking Nigerians. On the other hand, the ACN and CPC continue to do little to change how they are perceived by the electorate. Both parties are seen as autocratic and sectional, with minimal ability to influence national politics. It also does not help that Nigeria’s leading opposition parties are built around two people.

This year will make it a decade since Bola Ige was cruelly killed in Ibadan, and it seems his vision to forge a credible opposition to the PDP across various ethnicities died with him. As Wole Soyinka wrote, I do not eulogize a saint, I know of none. If any opposition leader can show an allegiance to the non-dogmatic ideology which Soyinka describes in that tribute as one that transcends lines of division, striving for a goal whose end is to uplift society, then we have an election on our hands. Otherwise, there is no point betting against another landslide victory for you know who.


Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.


Comments (18)

  1. One thing I respect the PDP is that most times, they get their election strategies right. For instance, when Dame Patience was out there campaigning, none of the wives of the 3 other candidates was ever seen doing same. Hence, a large voting demographic knew only one candidate: Goodluck Jonathan.

    It takes more than having the best policies to win an election; you must also know how to sell them.

  2. 1. I actually have a beautiful and loving mother, thanks for asking.

    2. She's actually not old enough to be my mother, unless she got knocked up in her teens.

    3. Your comments made my day, keep 'em coming!

  3. I am responsible for what I write not your lack of comprehension.


  4. I am not sure I have ever commented on Akin's blogs before, but having read some of the comments on here, I was left with no choice but to write a few lines.

    Firstly, education is not a privilege, it is a necessity. Get it by any legitimate means possible.

    Going forward, I am not sure which theft is worse, that of our common patrimony as Nigerians, or the theft of the opportunity for a significant percentage of our populace to gain sound education.

    Ayo Salau, Effion Ido, Chineye Ugbuagu and Opeyemi Bamidele: Just for your information, he was alluding to the PDP's recognition of a particular demographic and using the President's wife to relate to that demographic. In the recently-conculded elections, there were all sorts of analysis along various lines viz:

    Income brackets





    Level of Education

    Beliefs regarding pertinent society issues (such as gay marriage, abortion, gun laws, etc).

    And believe it ir not, these have been shown to influence election results.

    Hence, one of the many points Akin is raising is that even if we allow for free and fair elections, a lack of understanding of the demographics pertinent to our circumstances (the larger portion being that of illiteracy/ignorance which you 4 have wittingly/unwittingly manifested) will only skew the elections in favour of the ruling party.

    I half-expect that some/all of you 4 will come out swinging wild blows. I also half-expect that some/all of you 4 will take the opportunity of this blog to learn a few things.

    Please surprise me…..

    1. Everyone having a go at the author concerning Patience Jonathan. Did you even read and understand the article? I sincerely doubt it. He's suggesting she was wheeled out to make an impact on a certain demographic of Nigerian voters. That's all. Reading some of the comments here that demographic is unfortunately large.

  5. I don't understand why you have to make reference to Patience Jonathan in this piece. Come o, do you have a mother or did you have one at all? That lady is old enough to be your mum for God sake! Let her be. You could throw your insults at the husband, he's your president….and cos you'll never go close a position of authority in your life time.

    1. Please idiocy is allowed but could you purchase some common sense with the money you were paid to write that comment? What has age got to do with anything or anyone's mother? Did you hear anyone mention the age of anyone during the American political campaign? That's why you people will continue to be slaves.

      1. So why are you hiding under a fake identity? Coward!

        During the American elections and the pre-elections campaigns which you've so well analysed in a single line, was the focus on Barack or Michelle? Was it Michelle who took part in the debates and was called out and literally abused by people in the Romney camp?

        Yours, my friend, is a case of hyper-ignorance. Nonsense!

      2. I think 'idleness' is your problem, not 'english' as your username suggest. Is it compulsory that all Nigerians must speak good english or that all politicians must marry women who speak impeccable English in case they become president in future??? You guys are just making something big out of absolutely nothing. Good, you were privileged to go to school or good schools, must you look down on those who didn't as 'lesser beings'?? Mr busybody and Oyebode abeg leave Mama Dame alone!

        1. Mama Dame. Shame. Poverty is a bastard! It allows people celebrate mediocrity. Carry on. Its called a pseudonym. See? See why it is important to be educated?

          PS: You do know Michelle spoke at the DNC right? Just saying but again the weight of that may be lost on you lot…

    2. You clearly missed the point as to why she was referenced. Please, read it again, slowly.

  6. BULL CRAP. Just like your face. Attention seeking. Hope you're happy now.

  7. So what's your point? Just so we all know you can write. No single useful point. This write up isn't worth the space.

  8. "…while President Jonathan continues to underwhelm"????

    It is very sad that anything considered bad has to be decided by the Nigerian Media which is unanimously controlled by South-Western Nigeria, Lagos to be precise. With all the autocracy of Bola Tinubu, the personal weaknesses of Goodluck Jonathan are considered too terrible that it's the only thing many Lagos-based brains are programmed to talk about. In the tenure of Mr President, Nigeria has witnessed an all time high electricity production, and lately crude oil production, and we fail to see anything good in this man. His election, is the most free and peaceful since Nigeria returned to democracy. His party (PDP) always congratulates opponents in elections, and is also "detribalised". His response to the flood victims in Nigeria has been "overwhelming". Dr Jonathan listened to the fuel subsidy protests when fuel price was increased from N65 to N141, and reduced the fuel price from N141 to N97. He also demonstrated a listening ear when he forced the CBN not to introduce N5000 naira note.

    What else do you want from Goodluck Jonathan?

    In the largest black nation, in the most ungovernable country on earth, where tribalism thrives and scars of civil war have made most civil servants not to believe in the country, what else do you want from Mr President?

    How bad is Goodluck Jonathan?

    The problem with Nigeria are the followers (at least Omojuwa agrees).

  9. Brilliant and concise.

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