By Adedayo Oderinu
On Choice and disrespect of it…
At a point in my life, I could swear all men love thick ladies. Like, these ladies pass and men almost break necks trying to catch a quick glimpse of God’s voluptuous assets.
But, there are men who feel otherwise.
See Yemi of Big Brother Titan, for example. In a house wherein you find the likes of Yaya, Ipeleng, Jenni O and a few others, he chose to go for Khosi. Khosi oh. A’mean, man saw them voluptuous but aimed instead for the opposite. That’s choice. And the unalienable rights of an individual to make choices.
The exercise of that right never has to make sense to another person, for as long as it makes absolute sense to the person making the choice. Didn’t God offer you heaven with all the promises of a paradise, yet, you run after h*ll every day?
The lesson of choice is that a man, understanding his rights to make choices as he deems right, will fully exercise that choice without recourse to the choices of another person. You awaken the revolutionary in him when you attempt to elevate the mental or spiritual viability of your choice above his own, without first showing respect to his right to choose.
In simpler terms, to make a person change their choice because you think it is incorrect, you first must acknowledge their rights to make such choices, then seek to convince them to see things the other way. When you foist choice on people, they rebel and question the need for them to revere your choice, if you do not respect their rights to make choices.
This was the first error Obidients committed in the course of their political effort.
In exercising their rights of choice, they belittled, disrespected and violated the rights of other people to make personal choices. They denigrated and degraded people who chose Tinubu over Obi. In the exercise of their own rights, they postured as though, whoever thought differently is unpatriotic, stu.pid and inhuman. The insults, curses and vituperation all showed tyrannical tendencies that many Nigerians soon became wary of.
You do not degrade people’s choices in such manner and procure their support. You canvass and convince them. You change their minds. You preach your gospel and its superior qualities. You make them see it, not insult them into submission.
On our collective experience with hardship…
The administration of Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola in Osun can be described by many as an inglorious regime, due to the impoverishment that many families faced due to ill-advised policies that badly affected the Civil service. The ones who say it was an inglorious regime, do not believe that any infrastructural advancement is worth the discomfort and suffering of the masses.
However, another school of thought believes absolutely, that despite the suffering they had to experience, the infrastructural improvements in the State during the period are commensurate to the level of sacrifice that the people of the State had to make.
To the first group, the impoverishment of the people and the State was unnecessary. To the latter, the impoverishment was necessary sacrifice to achieve rapid development.
What is my point?
Each individual, having full control and rights to the use of their faculties, have the right to perceive hardship, and persecution, in ways independent of the next person who choose to perceive it differently.
All of the realities we face today – inflation, cash scarcity, fuel scarcity, etc – are interpreted differently by each Nigerian, exercising their rights to the use of their minds without recourse to the interpretation any other person decides to give it.
The second mistake of Obidients was thinking that all Nigerians were tired of the situation we are in. I have met people who think the present hardship is a passing phase that precedes abundance as can be referenced in some parts of global history. We are not all tired. Some want the APC to continue, “to finish the good work that Buhari started.”
Do not get this wrong. Obidients want a brighter future for Nigeria. Atikulates too. Batists too. But, each group puts belief in different approaches to the realization of that future. The vehicle did not have to necessarily be Obi, for Atikulates, it had to be Atiku. For Batists, it had to be Tinubu.
No one, can force an approach on people. See rights to choice above, for understanding.
On the Politics of Religion, Ethnicity and Rally of minorities…
While discussing with a friend on the direction that the campaign of Peter Obi had taken, I said the ethnic and religious coloration that the campaign had taken, was sure to cause problems for Obi.
Excellent students of history know that no section of Nigeria can push its Presidential agenda through without a “handshake across the Niger”. Your ambition has to gain sensible mileage across the bounds of the River Niger before you can be sure of winning. It also must gain meaningful mileage across the different religious leanings, not irking any to the point where it chooses to ensure the failure of that ambition.
Our most vivid example is Buhari.
He was a cult hero in the North. Every single time he contested, he had millions of votes in the core Muslim North. But, his ambition never gained traction in the South and the futility of such endeavor continued until he went into an alliance with Southern elements who drove his acceptance across the Niger.
The strategy to rally the core Christian South-East, South-South and North-Central was one doomed to fail from the get-go. No one has played such sectional and religious card in the past and won elections in the country. We are an heterogenous society and every leadership ambition must defer to that diversity before it can see the light of day.
It does not matter how well you can rally minorities who had been oppressed for long by majority tribes. If the ambition does not get into the consciousness of the other ethnic extractions, you are doomed to fail, even if by just a thousand votes.
On the influence of EndSARS on this revolution…
The measure of success achieved by the Obi campaign is largely attributable to the EndSARS movement of the year 2020 and the issues that followed. However, the inevitability of the failure of Obi’s project is also attributable to the reasons EndSARS did not achieve desired results.
The EndSARS movement prided itself as a leaderless movement of young Nigerians who just want to protest. That refusal to be led, made it formless, ineffectual and directionless. Every Revolution must have a form and a set of ideologies that all drivers of it subscribe to. That form and similarity of ideology is what keeps revolutionaries bound together and ultimately delivers success to them.
The fear that leaders would betray speaks to huge distrust, a clear division in ranks and an easily penetrable bond. It was the same disregard for organized leadership that made Obi’s many supporters think the party and her officials were of no value and could go to h*ll, since they were the structure and would deliver success to Obi by themselves.
No political project can survive that way. Where you do not trust organized leadership, you change them from within so you can have leadership that you can trust. A formless mob can only go so close, but would never achieve the goal of its efforts.
Of blind optimism and unrealistic hope…
Blind optimism involves optimistic biases that affect self-deception or convincing oneself of desired beliefs without reality checks. Blind optimism can lead to underestimating risk, overestimating abilities, and inadequate preparation. Blind optimism is wholly unrealistic hope, driving hard for a desired result, while staying totally blind to the realities along the way.
The Obi campaign, revolutionary in every sense, failed to take note of obvious realities along the way.
Realities such as the naturally recalcitrant nature of humans that make it impossible for you to force beliefs on them; the deep diversity of Nigeria’s political, ethnic and religious realities; the overestimation of the readiness of an average Nigerian for that change.
Obi’s campaign should have been a mixture of that revolutionary courage and an embrace of the tactfulness of the old dogs who have deep mastery of the political terrain and the easiest approaches to manipulating it.
I dare to say that any revolution that plans well and embraces the diverse realities of a Nation such as Nigeria, cannot be defeated even by election rigging, because winning goes well beyond it. No revolution can fail if it had not earlier overestimated its own strengths.
New dogs cannot learn to hunt if the old dogs do not show the old hunting routes. Yes, they can choose to establish new routes and retire the old ways, but they must prepare to sleep hungry many nights, until the new routes begin to bubble with prey. New dimensions fail or suffer for long, if they blatantly disrespect the old.
I must also say that Politics is a mixture of majority support and evil machinations. If you have one without mastering the other, even if you will not deploy it, you will get trounced and trounced hard. It is the practice everywhere in the world.
Do I think this revolution will succeed in the near future?
Yes, I think if this revolution does not lose its soul and can rework the structure of its leadership and approach to politicking, it will eventually succeed and make permanent changes to our political history.
Again, a formless mob can only go so close, but would never achieve the goal of its efforts. Sadly, nearly does not ever kill a bird and unrealistic hopes end in futility.
I am Adedayo Oderinu, you can call me AT.
By Adedayo Oderinu