Opinion: The utter fallacy of rally crowds

by Dominik Umosen

APC RallyFalse assumptions carries the ugly potential of inexorably overheating the already turbo-charged polity which, am sure, we do not want to do.

As far as the national leader of the All Progressives Congress, APC, and former governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu is concerned, if rave reviews of the opposition party; some commissioned publicity stunts and most creative blend of populist swaggers adopted reliably indicate popularity and acceptance, the party might have already won the re-scheduled March 28, 2015 presidential polls in the country.

Addressing stakeholders at the party’s office in Lagos recently, Tinubu stated categorically that the only barrier to the party’s victory in the polls was if the other side (the Presidency and the ruling party), rig the elections.

Tinubu said May 29, 2015 was sacrosanct as hand-over date to a succeeding administration, stressing that no amount of intimidation and threats from the presidency and the Peoples Democracy Party (PDP) would shake APC ahead of the elections.

“We are ready for the elections. They think they are wise by postponing the elections, but they are not. APC has won this election except they rig on the other side.

All their intimidation will amount to nothing during the elections. They tried to intimidate us during last year’s Osun State governorship election but they failed. We will be on the street waiting for them. Since they brought soldiers to my house, I have been sleeping very well because I am not afraid of them.

“We have been working hard in Abuja. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) must use the card readers, whether they like it or not. PDP doesn’t want it but we are going to resist their plan. They cannot rig us out. March 28 is sacrosanct but before then, we are going to ensure we get highest of our voters Permanent Voters’ Cards’.

We have absolutely no axe to grind with Asiwaju Tinubu’s unilateral declaration of victory even before the elections since it is perfectly legitimate politicking to bluster, posture elaborately and make effusive swaggers from the soap box. Tinubu’s unilateral declaration of victory even before the elections could be equated with an individual’s legitimate right to dream and fancy himself favoured by the full possibilities in a free society.

The opposition party is damn right to say that it made a damn good show of itself before the shift in the polls, undoubtedly succeeding in forcing the ruling party to concede that complacency in politics is a dangerous temptation, even for a ruling party.

Deploying a creative mix of aggressive propaganda and robust self-marketing technique, this combination left the ruling party gasping and wondering if it was still in the race for the preferences of Nigerians. But to presume that razz matazz alone determines electoral victory would amount to unpardonable naivety.

Running away with an exaggerated assumption of popularity based on the fallacy created by surging crowds recorded at political rallies is a political weakness that is peculiarly associated with under-development. It is a popular response to deprivation and want for victims to migrate to venues of events like rallies, where those so drawn are united in the hope and expectation that crumbs, freebies and mementos would be shared out.

Evidently, this has often led to unflattering interpretations of the political reality, including confusing a melting pot of desperate people for political supporters. In our circumstances, many people are yet to come to grips with the fact that surging crowds at political rallies these days do not necessarily reflect the popularity of political parties but a veritable index of the prevailing economic desperation whereby Nigerians flock to rallies in the hope of receiving the right stomach infrastructure which is a regular fare at such venues.

So to confuse this admixture of desperation with political support smacks of unrealistic bragadacio, if not pathetic naivety and ignorance. Over half of the crowd you find at any political rally is made up of those who are there in the hope of cornering some form of stomach infrastructure in the process, not because of any form of loyalty whatsoever to whatever the party in question.

Thus, building confidence of possible electoral victory on this obviously false assumption of popular acceptance is both tragically wrong and downright misleading. Within the small window of hope permitted by imperfections in our democracy, there is still the possibility that a party that is creatively packaged can still make the desired impression among Nigerians as the APC itself has eloquently demonstrated by giving the ruling party a damn good run for its so-called mega-money.

False assumptions carries the ugly potential of inexorably overheating the already turbo-charged polity which, am sure, we do not want to do.

Desperate crowds at political rallies do not, regrettably, translate into support for the party in question. Those people you see are economic desperados deploying uncommon creativity to forage in such venues for the all-important promise of stomach infrastructure that are freely distributed at political venues.


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

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