So, you want to be president? A dialogue of the deaf

So, you want to be President? How old are you? Just 47! You are a small boy. You are too ambitious. How can you want to be President at 47? Are you alright? Didn’t anybody tell you that you have to be well above 70 years before you can be President? Look at me, I am in my mid 60s and I am just becoming Minister. I have been growing through the political ranks through the years, preparing and learning the game. By 2026 I should be in my early 70s then I will be ripe and ready to make a bid for the presidency. All these small boys of these days are just too much in a hurry. But Sir, General Gowon was head of state of Nigeria in his early 30s and the current French President was elected at just 39. Shut up your mouth! Is your name Gowon? Are you a Military General? Or is this France? No respect, haba, nonsense!   

So, you want to be President? Which work have you done? Which service have you given Nigeria? In fact what experience do you have? You are publishing something in internet? Ah! Look at this boy, is that one a job? You are writing something in social media causing problem and confusion for government and you call that one a job? Come here let me give you good advice, so you don’t go and waste the small change they are paying you in the internet.  See, let me tell you, you should go and first contest councillorship at the local government level. Serve at that level for at least 8 years. Then after that you go and contest State House of Assembly position. You serve there also for 8 years. Then you proceed to the National Assembly and serve there for 8 years. From there you go and lobby to be appointed Minister and serve for 4 years. Now my boy, you would have acquired enough essential ‘chopping’ experience and reached a reasonable age of political maturity, sagacity and ‘opacity’ to be President, okay? You can see brother Jona, he tried to follow the process from the local government level. But he was not patient enough to follow the process fully. He cut it short and jumped to the presidency in his 50s. He did not imbibe the critical ‘chopping’ experience that is required. He did not reach the age that is required. He did not have the political sagacity that is required. These were all fatal breaches of presidential protocol. That was why we had to kick him out. I hope you are learning something, small boy?  

So, you want to be President? How much ‘logistics’ are you able to provide? What do you mean you don’t know what is ‘logistics’? Haha, you want to run for President and you don’t know what ‘logistics’ is. Okay, small boy, let me educate you by simplifying it for you. How much cash do you have? How many accounts do you have in foreign countries in the names of your family members? Do you have quality real estate in major capitals of the world? Do you have oil well? How much shares do you own in major publicly quoted companies in Nigeria? How much billions have you budgeted for your campaign and settlements? What did I hear you say? You have ideas. Ideas rule the world. Look at this idealist mumu small boy ooh. Is it ideas that will pay political thugs? Is it ideas that will buy INEC officials, police and judges? Is it ideas that will pay the parents of those twelve year old boys and girls that we will need to mobilize to vote on Election Day? Stay there and be dreaming of ideas. You want to rule the world with ideas, right? Well, Nigeria is not the world, do you hear me? Here in our dear country, Nigeria, ‘logistics’ rule, are you hearing me small boy? Sir, how about Obama? Obama had no money but he mobilized the people particularly the youth through his ideas on social media and he raised more than enough money and support to win the presidency twice. Listen to yourself, small boy. This is the problem with all of you children of this generation. Too much TV and internet has short-circuited your brain. Everything for you is America. Let me ask you small boy, does Nigeria sound like America to you? By the way, are you Obama or is Obama your brother? Small boys like you with all these your plenty ideas are only good to be appointed special assistant so you will be writing all the big, big grammar for us. But, certainly not President. Gosh! How can you even be thinking of becoming President on the strength of some nonsense you call ideas. What in Eledumare’s name is this world turning to? You better wake up fast from these your nonsense ideas talk and face reality.

So, you want to be President? Okay, you don’t have logistics of your own but what about godfathers? I mean moneybags, first class traditional rulers, retired military generals, etc. How many of them do you have firmly supporting your ambition to be President? You have the people. You have the youth solidly behind you. Look at this small boy ooh! Have you been listening to me at all? Are you sure you really want to be President someday? Which people are you talking about? Which youth is behind you? So you think it’s all these jobless youth that are dancing azonto on the streets that will elect you President? You think Nigerian Presidency is social media commentary? Nonsense small boy! Anyway, let me guide you properly small boy. Forget the youth. You don’t need any youth or people, do you hear me. To be President, you need to get those godfathers that I listed for you. They are the owners of Nigeria, are you hearing me. They decide who gets what. Once you have them, they will line your so called people, the youth behind your candidacy. This is politics 907. It’s a bit advanced so I can understand if you are finding it difficult to grasp it.  This is part of the reason why I said you need more time to mature in this game, hahaha, small boy!

So, you want to be President? Small boy let me ask you, what zone are you even from? What is your tribe and religion? Ah, south west! Oh my God, you are a very useless boy. Do you even know anything at all about the dynamics of our political system? Don’t you know that the Nigerian presidency like most things in our wonderful country is turn by turn? It is the turn of the north. If you are not from any of the 19 states of the north, you are just wasting your time. We will only allow you, your ideas and your youth to entertain us on the political stage for a season before we dispatch you to the trash bin of history. Hahaha! Small boy, you have so much to learn. I wish you are humble, I would have offered to take you in as one of my boys and give you the opportunity to apprentice under me so you can learn the political trade. But we supported Abiola and Kingibe, both Muslims, in the early 90s and they won the presidential election. Nigerians just want good leadership. Men and women with vision and the capacity to deliver a better life for them and their children. They are not really interested in all these your zone, religion and tribe talk. Ah, small boy, small boy, small boy. How many times did I call you? You are even more naïve than I thought. So where is Abiola today? Did he become President? They want good leadership indeed. Small boy, you really have so much to learn.    

So, you want to be President? You want to go to the Presidential Villa and start speaking grammar. You want to go to our Aso Rock and spoil business for us, abi? You want to go there to start funding education, paying teachers well and empowering youth with skills and knowledge. God forbid! Your dream will never come true. If you begin to educate the youth properly and empower them with skills that will lift them out of poverty, don’t you know that will seriously spoil business for us? They will no longer want to serve as political thugs for us. They will no longer want to rig elections for us. They will no longer want to collect N5000, bags of rice, bread and indomie noodles as bribe to vote for us. They will no longer listen to us. We will lose control. Losing control means losing power. Losing power means losing the source of ‘logistics’. I repeat, God will never allow nonsense small boys like you to become President. Kai, God forbid! But, Sir you don’t need to bribe the electorate and you don’t need to rig elections. Just campaign vigorously across the country. Meet the people in their communities, listen to them and sell your platform to them. Now I am truly convinced that you have absolutely lost your mind. Sell platform to win presidential election? What is that? Are you sure you are alright? This is Nigeria ooh. We have our home grown democratic practices, principles and protocols. You better humble yourself and begin to learn. 

Anyway, I have done my best to try to educate you small boy. If you like, you can listen and learn. If you don’t, you and your friends can continue with the joke you call a presidential campaign. I have to go now. My printer is delivering, to me today, one million branded face caps that I am donating to our beloved President in support of his second term campaign. But Sir, the President has not told anyone that he is running for reelection and he may actually not run, so why are you wasting so much money printing all these branded face caps for him? Small boy, small boy! I will keep reminding you that you have a lot to learn. Who told you he will not run? Can’t you see and read his body language? Don’t you know that if you have to wait until he formally declares his intention to run for reelection, it will be too late to act by then? The President, I can assure you, will run. To show my loyalty, protect my appointment and guarantee my reappointment, I am already printing campaign materials in millions for the President. Don’t worry small boy, at 47, you still have time to learn how we play this beautiful and lucrative game. If you humble yourself and play ball, I will arrange for you to be one of the media advisers to the President when we win, okay? That will be a good place for you to yap all day about your ideas but more importantly, it will be an excellent place for you to start acquiring the much needed critical ‘chopping’ experience. Think about my offer and give me a call. Bye, small boy. 

A New Nigeria Is Possible.

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Anthony Ubani
Ubani is a development practitioner & highly sought after thought leader in leadership, governance, communication & youth development programming. Ubani has over 25 years of successful leadership experience in building strong program development platforms, driving qualitative governance and leadership projects, forging productive partnerships for effective in-country capacity building and program management; executing result-based communications management initiatives; working to support effective youth & women empowerment platforms; strengthening the development of leadership capacity in Nigeria's corporate and political industry. Ubani is a polyvalent professional with a rich multi-sectoral background. A published author and columnist, Ubani is a compelling trainer/facilitator & speaker.

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