Sunday, 26 December 2010

Nigeria: An analysis of that rigging document

A very fascinating document

Having just read a document, I cannot say if I should be amused, amazed, annoyed or apathetic but I am impressed with the organisational abilities of the Jonathan/Sambo presidential bid vehicle though they could do with using a spelling checker to give their scheming ways a sense of professionalism.

Sahara Reporters appears to have come into possession of what they call a rigging document which from my reading constitutes a strategy to infiltrate, persuade, cajole, compel and suborn the delegate selection process.

Introducing Mr. Fox

In a document titled The Man – Mr. Fox – a PDF file download; probably to depict cunningness and wiliness with the possibility that each dawn chicken count in your barn would have suffered a missing fowl for the table and palate of the fox, this makes quite interesting reading.

Mr. Fox is Atiku Abubakar, the vice-president during the two terms of presidency of Olusegun Obasanjo from 1999-2007 who was passed over for Umaru Yar’Adua.

This is a WikiLeaks-type scoop, a whistle-blower has revealed an internal strategy document meant to wade through the cesspool of Nigerian politics, most especially the snake-pit of the ruling party’s delegate congress, though it seems the document was exposed to Mr. Fox’s organisation who has taken the opportunity to circulate it far and wide with the hope that the President’s underhand tactics would be condemned.

And so?

I am not surprised by the content of the document, however, the fact that it has such great detail is progress in terms of planning, organisation and documentation in Nigerian terms.

Just before we rise in righteous indignation against the Jonathan/Sambo Organisation, Mr. Fox no doubt desperately wants to lead Nigeria, this document reveals enough about his person, his character and his motives to show that the exposure of this document is just as much for political advantage than for a free and fair fight to represent the ruling party as the presidential candidate.

One could well say that Mr. Fox is just as Machiavellian in his scheming but has left no smoking guns and dead bodies, but there could well be a cupboard somewhere with skeletons a mile deep.

A compendium of Nigerian politics

This is Nigerian politics, the power of the incumbency, the display, the use and abuse of power and the ability to use power to tease and persuade people to one’s side, none of which makes this right by any stretch of the imagination but it reveals how juvenile our political system is, why it is still about personalities than ideas and how the force of momentum is not created by the discussion or argument but by the herding of the crowd who are sheep needing shepherds.

It is a shame that the document does not have a table of contents or an index so you have to read through 139 pages of the stuff and really, I was left thinking what is new at the end?

Kingmakers and influence peddling

Nigeria is divvied up into constituencies of cohesive aggregation towards key figures in society who can be engaged through other political heavyweights chief amongst whom is Olusegun Obasanjo – who would have thought?

But this gives it context, people who have held power before need to maintain influence by being accorded the role of kingmaker, those who appear to have platforms in the media, in entertainment, in religion, in tradition, in business, in the states, in law enforcement, in the military and even in the judiciary need to be given the sense of proximity to power, feted at dinners, granted audiences with the President, given courtesy calls and every ego-massaging elixir to deliver their support and herds to the door of the President’s ambitions – it is a popularity contest and the one with the greatest numbers speaking up has the best chance of taking the spoils.

In the gift of the President are political appointees in key offices and rewards for those who show unswerving loyalty, patronage is paramount, Mr. Fox does have an uphill battle, he is to be annihilated at best.

The game at play

The issue then becomes whether delegates have an independence of mind to judge each candidate by their merits and potential not forgetting the murky baggage each candidate carries because none has clean hands.

There are many names in this document which might well be souls bought and sold not to talk of votes that are in the bag, money having changed hands.

It is very possible that this scheme would be extrapolated to the national polls in April 2011, I think it is a given that whoever leads the ruling party would become the next President of Nigeria, the real contest is in delegate aggregation, if the contestants are this bad, it simply means we have been dealt a really bad hand.

The picture that appeared last week of the President kneeling before a church leader for prayers and blessing is a political coup if I ever saw one and that is just one tick on Page 44.

Getting the meat out of this

In this morass, one must not miss the gems of wisdom, an understanding of the problems Nigeria is facing, actions to be taken to address them, the reasons the ruling party is losing traction in the South-West of Nigeria - the big revelation being the governors were not performing and contrasted with the governor of Lagos State they were woeful failures.

Whilst the earnest wish of the ruling party is to have quality candidates that become good governors, the grasp on power of these dead-weights has the party hamstrung; the President appears to have no choice but to support every dog in place.

If anything should be learnt from this document, it is to educate oneself about what ideas and policies these people bring to power and the decision to refuse to follow leaders just because they lead, people should ask difficult questions, seeking convincing answers, challenge the status quo and keep out of the mob, if you are in a crowd make sure it is informed, knowledgeable and continually discussing the key issues.

Be sheep no more, do not be herded like goats into the pen just because they have planned to have you penned in there.

Enjoy reading the document but put it in context.

The source

The Man – Mr. Fox [PDF download]

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