Ololade Ajekigbe: How to be a Nigerian politician

by Ololade Ajekigbe

They are the Mac daddy of modern day Nigeria, the ones who call the shots in every sphere of society. The richest, the “baddest,” and as we like to say over here, the ones who run things. You cannot go wrong if you aspire to become a politician in this space. The good news is that unlike many other parts of the world where you have to have some sort of pedigree or accomplishment in order to be taken seriously in politics, you do not necessarily have go through the stressful process of building some pointless pedigree over here. It’s why it’s important for you to know what it takes to be regarded as a politician through and through, and not just a charlatan.

I thought to take this up pro bono as my contribution to society way before the polity begins to heat up in 2018, so here are the foolproof ways to become a true Nigerian politician;

Master the art of sweet talking: You cannot be a successful politician in Nigeria if you haven’t learnt how to persuade and cajole people with sweet words – Highfalutin jargon that will impress the masses and hoodwink them into believing a messiah has arrived. Your detractors will call it lies, never mind them. You are only leveraging on your persuasion skills to get what you want. In much the same way you coax your significant other to do your bidding, you must learn to apply those precious skills to bear in wooing the populace. If you have to seek mentoring from a veteran politician to get this right, please do. It’s one of the most important attributes to possess if you do not desire to be tagged a failed politician.

Expunge words like “Loyalty” and “Conscience” from your dictionary: Yes, the people voted you in and you have a mandate to deliver. It’s all hogwash. As a full bred Nigerian politician who did not drop from the Moon, and on whose head village kinsmen are not running imaginary circles over, one of the first things you must realize once you decide you want to be politician in this unique country called Nigeria is that you owe no one your loyalty. You must also learn quickly that the concept of conscience is only a figment of the imagination. You have a maximum of four years, maybe two in some instances. Your allegiance at any point is time is to whom will be beneficial to your political future. In politics, there are no permanent friends or foes. Keep this at the ‘front burner” of your mind and you are well on your way to being a Nigerian politician.

Store up funds for your children’s children: Now that you have no idea what’s called loyalty or conscience, you can help yourself to some of the national cake without any feelings of guilt. Look, you won’t be the first person to do it. Your predecessors did it and if you choose to be different, your successors will help themselves any money you save up in your bid to be Mr Goody-Two-Shoes. You are not a true Nigerian politician if your children, and even their own children have to work to survive. It might be the only opportunity you’ll have to deliver your family from the doldrums of poverty and project them into the stratosphere of stupendous wealth. Besides, your disgruntled opponent just might challenge the outcome of the election and win their case against you in court, and you’ll suddenly find yourself out in the cold. See why you must act fast? Will loyalty or conscience feed your family? I thought so too.

Never walk alone: I mean this literally and figuratively. You are a public figure in an environment where many people are bound to be envious. Forget all the noise by social media warriors about how foreign politicians move around without a retinue of bodyguards or entourage. This is Nigeria, it’s better to be safe than sorry. You also don’t want to play the humble card by enduring the kind of traffic that mere mortals are subjected to daily. You are a politician, hit that alarm button and let the siren go off as you harass your way to your destination. And while you are it, ignore the hateful stares, glares and murmurings from frustrated motorists. Tell yourself you are not the cause of their individual or collective problems and be on your merry way.

Constantly court controversy: Look around you, the biggest politicians are the most controversial. To remain relevant in the scheme of things you must not shy away from controversy. Contrary to this, you must actively seek out controversy even when it is not courting you. Make outlandish statements. Do something absurd. Show off your dancing skills via a video recording. Remember the ‘Go and die widow” episode? What about the recent case of a serving governor in the North who voiced his belief about fornication being responsible for the meningitis scourge in the state he governs? These sort of politicians should be your mentors. Disregard all the hue and cry that will accompany your seeming gaffe. You are a Nigerian politician, any publicity (good or bad) will only make you more popular.

Hire the best lawyers: In these times of desperate whistle blowers, that stash you have kept locked up in some obscure village in Potiskum may not be as hidden as you think, and it’s only a matter of time before faecal matter hits the roof. You must be prepared for the unexpected. It’s why you should hire the best lawyers in town. Get a team of SANs who would fight tooth and nail to make sure that at worst, you only get to part with half of all you have stolen. It’s what wise politicians do.

The typical Nigerian politician is shrewd and deceptive, it doesn’t mean you are bad when you embrace these attributes. You are only responding to the peculiarities and demands of your environment.

When friends and associates call you out on your “sins,” remind them not to hate the player, but the game.

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

One comment

  1. Yes you are right. However, they are still getting away with blue murder bcos the majority of Nigerian don’t know what they want for an egalitarian society. We are a different people, lumped together by the British.

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