The System, The Game & The Winner

By Hamza Yakubu


The Nigerian political landscape has always been an interesting one. A multi-faceted conundrum that invites the populace into her spatial duplicity, thereby making the race for a political position an unpredictable spectacle. It’s almost laughable to watch political pundits trade words on National TV, radio stations and most obviously, social media, as they make permutations and dissect the different possibilities of an impending election when in most cases, these men know little or nothing about the intramural machinations that ultimately define the result of the election. To fully unearth the underlying elements that shroud our political reality, one must understand the selfish interest of the unseen men in the upper echelon of the political system. Contrary to the opinion that men occupying the loftiest positions in the administration hold the deciding power, the real power to decide who rules and get favors lies with a clandestine cabal, a group of faceless individuals before whom the entire state is a chessboard and while the masses are pawns, the government functionaries are nothing but Knights. It’s hard to see through the inconspicuous scheming when the media paintbrushes reality with narratives designed to keep everyone in check. These men, not the members of the ruling administration, determine who takes the lead in the race for the topmost position in the state.


Primary elections in Nigeria are won with so many things, but public approval is the least of them. There is a vast polarity between the primaries and the main election. There have been candidates who became victims of their ignorance, plastered their faces on every wall, flooded social media with their campaign promises, watched the masses chant their names into the heavens, and still lost the primaries. This is because a primary election is engineered by a subtle sense of selectivity. The discuss to pick who will win the primary election is done by the unseen cabal and the coronation as the party’s flag-bearer happens behind the curtain. The election is merely an unveiling. It is not uncommon to find a dark horse in the primary election, a quiet candidate who suddenly becomes the choice of the majority of the party members at the last minute. This candidate is backed by a supply of cash for palm greasing and his unsuspecting opponents are left thunderstruck, scrambling through a reshuffling of allegiance, reeking of defeat. Those who understand the politics that play out during the primary election do not go campaigning on the street. They snake their way into the hearts of the men that matter, quietly befriend the high and make pledges to them. They know that primary elections in Nigeria are won with so many things, but popularity is the least of them.


The result of the primary election is just a step in the gruelling climb to the top. The most arduous task lies in the dark horse’s ability to rally his wounded opponents behind his back as he faces a more ferocious opponent from the opposition. We have seen parties break apart in the wake of unpacifiable losers. Beyond the primary election lies a path riddled with uncertainty, a long list of broken egos, smokescreens and brazen chameleoning in a struggle for the center stage. More than anything, he must be armed with diplomacy and a charisma potent enough to woo everyone back into the fold. Indeed, there are intriguing and interesting days ahead and the chess players still have so many moves to make.

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