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A few notes on governance in Nigeria

A few notes on governance in Nigeria

By: Modupeoluwa Abidakun

Congratulations on your election into office. Let me begin by stating that your primary focus while in office is your reelection. This should be your paramount priority, as serving the people and other sweet nothings you promised during your campaign only come second. Here are a few things to keep in mind, so you have a smooth ride.


There’s nothing the masses love more than a humble, rich man. They may forgive a murdering, corrupt politician, but haughtiness is one of the deadly sins and they will not tolerate that. So remember to perform intermittent public acts of humility. Be seen going to construction sites, conversing with builders and even working with some cement. Make sure you take pictures that’ll be in the newspapers. Let your wife be seen frying plantain with roadside traders. Simple things like a picture of you eating corn will endear you to their hearts, and they will not cause you much trouble.

You should employ an official photographer as this will make things easier for you.


Ensure you carry out a few projects, but just the barest minimum as if you show them that you can do lots of things they might start to demand too much. Also, if you provide good amenities what will your campaign promises for the next elections be? You need to think about the future and cannot afford to be overzealous. A certain governor did his work, and now I hear the citizens are demanding electric trains. If you go ahead and make good on a lot of your campaign promises, you are on your own.

When a project gets completed, you must commission it with a grandiose ceremony. There should be photographers, pressmen and most importantly, ribbon cutting. I remember a senator who built a water closet system, one or two, named it an ultramodern facility, and put his name in large letters on the wall engravings. Always put your name, your full name in the engravings. Nobody will pay attention to those things so you won’t need to explain why.


Throughout your time in office, maintain a strong base of supporters. This is hardly difficult, as you just need to employ the same strategy you used during the election campaigns: firmly attach to your ethnic group or religion. If you identify as a staunch Christian you will always have fellow believers who will defend your every move. Identify with your Fulani brothers, and they will always have your back.

As long as tribe or religion is concerned, the masses can never unite on anything. You must use that in your favor. 


The Holy Book says you should give unto Caesar what is due to Caesar. Give your godfather his regular share of the national cake and as he demands. Remember what happened to that Governor who couldn’t get a vote even in his hometown? His name is not important, but I have said my own.

Even when you hear of his notorious deeds and dirty dealings, you should look away as it is none of your business. If word gets out in the news and it’s time to take a stand, what you must do is sit on the fence. That is not the time to be morally upright, but the time to suppress your conscience. You can pass a comment at a party meeting, let it be light, provoking some chuckle, but let it show clearly that you stand with him. He will hear about it and know that your head is still in the game.


There will be a few bumps on the road and some people will try to cause trouble for you. You should try and settle them with money, and quickly. But if that is not possible and the matter goes public, find a ridiculous story and stick with it.

Have no fear as your supporters will believe and rationalize the most ludicrous of explanations. For example, if they ask for your secondary school certificate, which you lack, it is best to stick to a story about animals eating it up, as these animals cannot speak to defend themselves.


Very importantly, don’t forget to eat your share of the national cake. Open several offshore accounts and deposit as much money as you can in them. Don’t even think about putting your children in schools here, in the name of nationalism. Your earnings will be more than enough to send them to schools in countries with white people. Make sure they pick up an accent so the difference is clear.


In the end, it all comes down to those few months before the elections, as you have the chance to be reborn, and your slate wiped clean. The masses have the shortest memory. Prepare a fund for those months as you will distribute free goods and services in exchange for their votes.

When it’s time to share goods, make sure you customize everything with your name, preferably your picture, as we don’t want another team taking your credit. From loaves of bread to exercise books to bars of soap, brand them all. It might seem strange to imprint your face on a bag of rice, but that’s just how we do things here. Please don’t go around sharing bags of beans as no one will take you seriously.

When the time comes I will hold another masterclass in that regard but keep all that I have said in mind. Your job requires the most minimal effort as you have done most of the work while campaigning. Now is the time to eat the fruit of your labour.

Enjoy your stay in office, Your Excellency. Everyone should call you ‘Your Excellency’. Write that down.

Modupe Abidakun is a fifth-year medical student who is passionate about African culture, literature, human rights and ice cream, in no particular order. She is on a quest to discover the amazing things life has to offer, and her blog: accordingtodupe.wordpress.com documents her journey.

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The only thing you need to know about me is I speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth ―― well, except when writing.

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4 years ago

Sounds like El Nathan book, On becoming Nigerian. Great read, regardless.

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