Man is insatiable. If science wasn’t your thing and you were sent to the Commercial—or Arts— class back at secondary school, you would have come across this theory postulated by the father of economics himself: Adam Smith. What your economics teacher forgot to mention though is that Nigerians are even more insatiable than the average man. We always want more — more degrees and certificates, more titles, more terms in office, more meats in our food, and, needless to add, more money.
This is why, by 2050, Nigeria would have moved from number seven to number three on the table of most populated countries in the world, flying above the heads of even Indonesia and the United States of America. While these countries know when to erect the stop sign, for us it is only Madame Menopause that can tell us when to stop having more children. After all, the more the merrier.
This same insatiable attitude has infiltrated our political system, such that we can’t seem to get enough of political parties.
Parties have become like drugs and erotica. You start small but, before you know it, the usual dose doesn’t excite you anymore. It slowly begins to get boring and ineffective. So what do you do? You opt for more. More adventure. More variety. More intensity.
Political parties are now like petty businesses. Hey! Has your friend, Bimpe, just set up a pretty successful ogi and akara business close to the church? What are you waiting for? Quickly erect your kiosk beside hers and make sure you get a piece of that goldmine. Our politicians now seem to favour the sole-proprietorship compared to partnerships. ‘Better to be the national chairman of an unknown party than to join the queue in a known platform,’ they preach to whoever cares to listen.
In this prognosis, we take a look at how having more and more parties is likely to play out ten or so years from now, and the various angles to this development. Okay. Maybe not ten years… but you sure get the drift.
1. Special technology
In the Nigeria of the future, we will need special technological tools to accommodate all the parties that will spring forth. A special kind of printer will be ordered from the abroad to print the ballot papers. The ballot papers themselves will possibly look like wallpapers, and will have to be folded using a yet-to-be-invented machinery. The alternate eventuality is that nanotechnology be deployed to produce not-too-big ballot papers with super small font size. And then voters will be given magnifying lens and laser guns to exercise their franchise.
2. Status symbol: Everyone now wants to have one
Political parties become items of luxury that distinguish elites from ordinary men. Introductions at public functions will go: “My name is Chief Dr Olanipekun Owonikoko, and I am the founder and chairman of the Owonikoko for Show Party (OSP)”. Yeap! Parties will be named after people.
Political parties will be the new MMM. Or the new Yahoo plus. Parents will push their kids into getting one — or more for themselves.
“Hey Soji! Don’t you see that Bamidele has become a millionaire since he established his 30 Billion Gang Political Party? Does he have two heads? When are you going to start yours? I also want to eat the fruits of my labour o!” will be the cry of mothers and fathers to their yet-to-arrive children.
3. Collation may take four years
Well, this is also a possibility, ain’t it? But not really a delightful one. By the time one in five adult Nigerians become owners of one party or the other, since INEC is no magician, collation may gulp one, two, three, or even four years. What is the implication of this? The incumbent gets an automatic added term in office. Or wait… perhaps, he even becomes a life president… especially with collation officers needing reading lamps and rulers for better sight. By the time INEC is ready to declare the winner, it is already time for another election to be conducted. And we keep repeating this cycle until … well until our professor-mathematicians come up with home-grown formulas to expedite the process.
4. Stranger acronyms
We already have strange party acronyms: CAP, APP, ID, MAJA, RAP, YES, and so on. Very soon, we will see the emergence of MMM, OBO, RIP, SS, SOS, etc. etc. We will have so many parties getting an acronym that is available will be difficult as hell. Just as there is a CAC public search for company names, INEC will launch a similar portal for people intending to start a new party — just to make sure their desired acronyms have not been reserved by another person or group.
5. Binary results
Today, the results often sound like GPN 12, HDP 07, ID, 04, JMPP 14, KP 10… But by 2031, what we will rather be seeing on our screens will be RIG 01, SICK 00, VIP, 00, AYE 01 … almost like we have decided to adopt a binary numbering system for our votes. Numbers between 2 and 9 will become scarcer, and any party able to get as many as 2-3 votes will have huge cause for celebration.
6. Logo makers become filthy rich
Needless to say, one of the biggest beneficiaries of the boom era of smaller parties will be designers, logo makers especially. Apparently, asides the name, the other most important thing about a party is its logo. The lines. The colours. The choice of emblems and animals. Ah-mean, when it comes to content development, no one really gives one hoot about aim and objectives, mission and vision, ideologies, constitution, and that useless one they call manifesto. Graphic designers should therefore get ready for a career make-over that’ll financially elevate them above university professors and possibly even medical doctors.
7. All sorts of parties
We have seen parties dedicated to interests of young people, parties for socialists, parties for those in the labour market and so on and so forth. What does the future hold? Certainly more specificity. We will start to see parties named after and promoting the interests of … er… crossdressers, sexual workers, okada men, cybercriminals etc. etc. We would have, for instance, Yahoo Boys Party of Nigeria (YBPN), The Dropouts Political Movement (TPPM), Social Media People’s Party (SMPP), GOT Lovers Party (GoTLP), and any other you can think of. Our democracy will truly be more colourful.
8. Buying and selling; importer-exporter
Having a political party will not only be profitable for the party men, there will also be entrepreneurial middlemen who will buy and sell registered parties. Just as we have resellers of domain names, we will equally have folks hoarding political parties and then auctioning them in political black markets. Much later, you might even start finding party dealers on OLX and Jumia.
We will also be exporting to countries where democracy is not thriving so well. North Korea, China, and Sudan, for example, will turn out to be perfect trading partners. I can already see Nigeria’s foreign-exchange reserves rise like Ijebu garri that has been soaked for two days.
Hypothetical advert: “Parties are the new gold. But there are parties and there are parties. With the Light at the End of the Tunnel Party (LET Party), your elite social status and political future will be secured. Not only is the name classy and melodious, our logo is like none other. We have 12,000 likes on Facebook, 24,000 followers on Twitter, and 27,000 on Instagram. There are 27 registered members already, and they are all polygamous! It can’t get any better than this. The price is just N499,999.99.”
9. SUs, NANS, and trade unions lose market value
With the rise and spread of INEC-recognised political platforms, other money-making associations such as Student Unions, National Association of Nigerian Students, and various trade unions will gradually be devalued and deemphasised. The number of persons aspiring to become SU presidents and NLC chairmen will reduce drastically and these associations will eventually lose relevance and liquidate. What is in vogue are the political parties. Why wait to collect crumbs from top politicians when you can discuss merger opportunities and endorsement prices as partners… Right? Right?
10. Stadiums as collation centres
This goes without saying. As all party agents are traditionally invited to the collation centres so they can witness the process and challenge perceived irregularities, the typical venues will soon be insufficient in accommodating them. What then is the solution? We’ll move to open-air collation centres, football stadiums … or maybe even churches. The new Dunamis International Gospel Centre in Abuja with a 100,000 seating capacity would be a good start.