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Prize for Satire

You have political ambition? What’s next

You have political ambition? What’s next

By: Theophilus Femi Alawonde

(An excerpt from Theophilus Femi Alawonde’s #1 Bestseller: The Ultimate Nigerian Politician’s Handbook – currently stuck at the printer’s.)


5 Sacred Truths for the Prospective Ultimate Nigerian Politician

I am Olawale Godwin Esq., a graduate of the prestigious Harvard Law School and an established arbitrator and human-rights lawyer. My passion for the equality of all humans is what has driven me to embark on a political career. I heard you helped the likes of Furosident Mohammadum Mbuhari, General Sani Abasha (of blessed memory) and Asiwaju Hamid Tinu Ibu attain the status of ultimate Nigerian politicans. I need you to help me too; the road seems rough and winding.

Thanks in advance,

Olawale Godwin, Esq.

Dear Olawale Godwin Esq.,

It is a good thing that you made the wise choice of reaching out to me before embarking on your political career. You see, many a well-meaning Nigerian delved into Nigerian politics without full consultations with people who have spent years studying politricks in Nigeria – and it ended in tears for them. Thank you for contacting me, learned Olawale Godwin. There are indeed some truths that the prospective ultimate Nigerian politician must know – for the Nigerian politician who would not be guided by these truths risks being swept away by the sea of politrickal mediocrity. Due to space and time – and primarily due to the title of this chapter – I will elaborate on five of them.

To rank among the most remembered, richest, most talked about and most reversely blessed Nigerian politicians, you should abide by the following:

1. Be Uneducated: Now, now, do not look at me with such arrogance, learned Sir! I know you were schooled in one of the best institutions there are in the world. Don’t let your pride be wounded; learned Sir, will you trust my wealth of experience? Statistics released by The Nigerian School of Politrickal Science state that the Nigerian politician who comes across as uneducated is more likely to get elected than the educated one. Please note that education is not to be confused with schooling. Thing is, even if you would have your educational background known, then be prepared to have so much to show for it! You see, there are Nigerian politricktians who went to abroadarian schools and have so much to show for their schooling: the highest case of covidiotism, cluelessness, expertise at rubbish-spewing, advanced thuggery and omo-agegeism etc., etc. You must be able to demonstrate – right from your campaigns – that you have no real plans for the betterment of the nation. I mean, if you make Nigeria better, where do you expect Nigerians to get statistics from whenever they boast of the toughness of their hides and how Nigerians can survive in any situation? Don’t you know adaptability to sufferness is part of the Nigerian Dream? Points to note: Do not go to school, and even if you do, refuse to be educated! For your own good, learn to boast of your foreign degrees while committing grammatical blunders, and never let your actions and policies reflect that you were ever educated; that way, you are a step to becoming a quintessential Nigerian politician. What’s more?

2. Have Throawayable Money: As a Nigerian seeking to excel in politics, you must have folds and folds of money – throawayable ones. This means that you must be a financial messiah: the source of your wealth hardly matters – be it shady business deals, yahoo-yahooism, money rituals or embezzlement of public funds. What matters is that you must be willing to spend on Nigerians. You were invited to a party? Whip the celebrant(s) with neat bundles of Naira notes! Nigerians are natural party-lovers, find excuses to cook plenty food as much as you can. Your 10-year-old goat died? Have a funeral for it. Nigerians would not mind attending, as long as they can get party jollof and drinks. Whenever you pass by people, ensure you throw neat Naira notes in the air; raise your hands high up and let the notes fly in diverse directions – the more Nigerians scramble and scratch for the notes, the more they will appreciate your benevolence. No one is asking you to invest, my learned Sir, you are being asked to spend! One fundamental thing is aligning your spending to the needs of the people closest to you: look at Daniel Ukperaa and the good he did for his people in Benue; meeting them at the very point of their needs by donating ropes to tie their goats with! Now, that is a man on the right path to becoming a quintessential Nigerian politician! There is also the sadly unknown benefactor who donated a fat tuber of yam per woman and an after-donation photoshoot to his constituents. You can follow in their footsteps.

3. Be Corruption-inclined: Learned Sir Olawale Godwin, do not underestimate the power of corruption in the catapulting of the average Nigerian from a street urchin to a celebrated politricktian! You want to occupy half of the pages in national dailies on your birthday? The fastest way is to be a Nigerian politician – not just any one, but a corrupt one. Your deftness at embezzling public funds, protecting ghost workers, supporting corrupt workers at government institutions and parastatals, awarding contracts to friends, family members and village people – whether they are capable or not – will determine how successful you would be as a Nigerian politricktian. In sum, the higher your level of corruption, the more respected you will be as a Nigerian politician. Don’t listen to ranters on Twitter; what ails them is that what they crave is out of their reach: they envy you so much, and want to be like you. You want proof for this? Just give them one shikini appointment as the Special Assistant to the Special Adviser to the Senior Special Adviser of the Senator Representing Oyo North Senatorial District – phiam! they will cease to trouble you. If you so much aspire to be a successful Nigerian politician, you must be corrupt; some learnt this lesson the hard way.

4. Know How to Organize and Distribute Blames: Learned Sir Godwin – and by extension, every prospective Nigerian politician -, one of the things you must cherish is your blame-laying skills; you must know how to lay blames! A very easy way is to lay blame on your predecessor(s), especially if they belong to the opposition party. I mean, for over four years, Furosident Muhammadum Mbuhari laid blames on the sixteen years the cankerworms and locusts of the Phiphul’s Democratic Party spent destroying our nation’s economy – and that helped him remain relevant even while neglecting his duties and responsibilities. It is not so difficult to find an object for your blame game in Nigeria; objects abound! You could give your blames spiritual undertones, psychological undertones, nonsensical undertones, etc. etc. Forget about the unscrupulous nature of your blames; there’s nothing new beneath the scorching sun of Nigeria. Just focus your attention on laying your irresponsibility at the feet of another.

5. Be Foresighted: Aha! The last on the list but definitely not the least! You are a Nigerian politician and you are not foresighted? What hope have you? Calm down, do not take this out of context: foresight here does not mean you should be think of ways to make the future better by doing things right today. Foresight here means you should start thinking and preparing for the next election, right from your first day in office! That will almost guarantee you re-election. You could even take your foresight a step further by subtly hinting at a re-election even before you assume office: weren’t Furosident Mbuhari’s plans – as contained in his 2011 manifesto – stretched across 8 years? Meaning Baba was prepared for a second term even before he got the opportunity to serve the first term. Did his confidence pay off? You bet it did, except you are also of the belief that Jubril has taken Mbuhari’s place. Without foresight, you will not do a good job of abiding by the other four truths, and without abiding by these truths, your goal of being the ultimate Nigerian politician will be as far away as change brought to Nigeria by the All Progressives’ Congress.

Learned Sir Olawale Godwin, I will have you know – at this point – that these are only four of the sacred truths that you must hold dear as a Nigerian who wishes to become a quintessential politician. There are, of course, other truths, such as: being a terrible liar, or having aides that are terrible liars, having a good knowledge of the appropriate use of “By God’s grace”, “God willing” and other related statements, making promises and never keeping to them, etc., etc.

Warm regards,

Theophilus Femi Alawonde

Author’s note: Do not be confused by the interchange in the use of politics and politricks – and other related words. Politricks is a Nigerian variant for politics.

Theophilus Femi Alawonde is a journalist and writer of other things. His writings focus on critiquing societal ills, exploring the concepts of love had and love lost, and grief. His primary medium of literary expression is poetry, however, he does not do so badly at prosaic writings. He is in his final year of study for a BA (Ed) French at the University of Ibadan, Ibadan. His thoughts are scattered across spaces such as www.agbowo.org, www.wrr.ng, The Heron’s Nest, World Haiku Review, AFAS Review II, The Mamba, The Bamboo Hut, and The Lunaris Review. Reach him via alawondetheophilus17@gmail.com.

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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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