by ‘Yomi Kazeem
Welcome to the Plenty Talk No Action School of Political Science. Take your seat please, as I begin my lecture, endeavour to turn off all mobile phones.
How to be a politician? It’s not so difficult, all you have to do is follow a set of unofficial rules. These rules are not codified in any legal document, but that does not, by any means, mean they do not exist. Being the Good Samaritan/ political science teacher that I am, I will carry out a civic obligation and lay them bare for all aspiring politicians. I present ‘How to be a Politician 101’.
- TALK THE TALK
Learn the prevalent parlance. Make yourself a pro at making empty promises. These days, that is not as hard as it should be. You don’t even have to be believed, we’d still think you’re lying anyway. Honesty is not a prerequisite for the job, so do well to do away with it. Learn how to tell white-faced lies while placing your hands on a holy book. Asides this, you will also need to master a couple of phrases that are appropriate for different situations.
When something a bomb explodes: We shall do our best to bring the perpetrators to book.
When you’re launching an obviously overpriced project: Today is a great day in the history of this nation/state
When you’re flogged in the media for obvious ineptitude: This is the work of my detractors.
While campaigning, your key words should be change, transformation and restoration. If you’re inexperienced, don’t break a sweat, it’s easy to learn, just watch the primetime news or read the national dailies for indirect coaching from the professors in the industry. It is of cardinal importance that your dictionary does not have the words- sincerity, efficiency or transparency. Replace those with stakeholders, contractor, off shore accounts and detractors.
- SPEND THE MONEY
Before you go ahead and spend all the money you can lay your hands on, on things we will never lay our hands on, you must first follow the custom of probing the outgoing government. Next step, go ahead and award outlandish contracts to build invisible airports, imaginary roads and imperceptible factories. It is imperative that the contracts are awarded to companies that do not exist in our directories or in real life. Please do not disregard this critical point, a deviation from which will earmark you as an enemy of progress amongst other politicians. Proceed to appoint people into posts based on your years of friendship, alliances and their funding of your campaign. Pay absolutely no attention to their qualifications, the media will make noise about it, don’t mind them. They always do that. The less qualified your appointees are, the better your excuse after they inevitably fail to perform, but nonetheless, when you win a second term, appoint the same people. The media? Forget them, I’ve told you that’s all they know how to do!
- MAKE ENEMIES
This part is very easy. Make enemies, why? Because you need somebody to blame when things go awry, why else? Who did you think that word ‘detractor’ in your special English- Politics Translations Dictionary referred to? Enemies are a vital cog of your government; underestimate their essence at your own peril. If a project goes bad, your enemies are at work. When newspapers publish concrete evidence of your financial dubiety, it’s the work of your enemies. When you contest and win ‘free and fair’ elections and word goes around that you got under-aged voters involved in the electoral process, it’s those restless enemies of yours again. What about the devil? Let the devil be, too many people blame him already.
- GET A FIRST LADY
This step is of two parts. A. Get yourself a First Lady. B. Make her come up with a pet project. Don’t ask me why, ask why not. After all, all your predecessors did same; it’s just what First Ladies do. There are some attendant principles to this however. It has to be related to something humanitarian so we think she’s serious. Child abuse, Child Trafficking, Women Trafficking are all areas of concentration but take note, the fields of House-girl Abuse and Gateman Abuse remain yet uncharted courses, if you strive for philanthropic novelty, I recommend those. Next, she must organize a fund-raising event via an elaborate media campaign. Invite your friends, not those useless old secondary school mates, we’re talking big men here. Make them donate handsomely while expecting a contract in reciprocity and when it’s all said and done, erase every single evidence and trace of the foundation/ charity or whatever name you append to it and make sure we never hear of it again. Done? Perfect.
- KNOW YOUR ALPHABETS
Actually, you don’t need to know all of them, some are more important than others. A stands for ALLOCATION, be familiar with that, it’s essential. B stands for BOKO HARAM, if you know what’s good for you, stay away from beer parlours. C is for CONTRACT. Of course! What else could it be for? D is for Deziani Allison-Madueke, don’t mess with her, many have tried, none has succeeded. E doesn’t stand for Efficiency, that word does not exist. Fast forward to P, which stands for Profit Sharing, some silly holier-than-thou idiots will say it stands for Pension, what’s your business with that? And finally Z stands for Zoning, there’s a system in place ok? Unless you’re a shoeless boy from Bayelsa, you have to abide by it.
Well, that’s the end of our lecture, wear your Fila, roll up your Agbada, go out there and make your party proud! Remember to appoint me as a Special Adviser of something-something affairs, so I can sit in a palatial office, do nothing and still somehow make enough money to make our enemies jealous.