Strategies for regaining political relevance in Nigeria

Gimba Kakanda

Dear politicians,

This may be the last, and I’m sure it’s not the first, intervention shared in my sensitivity to your vilifications by a vengeful people to whom you, your family and friends are responsible for the witnessed socio-political dysfunction and all the things, genuine and imaginary, that have barred them from benefiting from your largesse when you were elected to, well, secure some proportions of the dividends of democracy for them. But if you’re sincerely concerned about negative media presence endured so far, this is the way out:

The journalists may be your worst nightmares but their weapons fashioned against you will not prosper when the reading citizens are on your side, aware that all you have experienced since leaving office are handiworks of your enemies from the other region, religion and even ethnicity. So, come to the social media, which is now the beerhall of all reading citizens, and face your predators.

Yes, create Facebook and Twitter accounts and befriend them, all of them, trolls northern and southern, Muslim and Christian, patronising and belligerent, sound and silly, young and old…
At first they’ll accuse you, label you and even gang up against you and yours. Don’t panic. Call them “my bro”, “my sis”, “my young friend”, “my good friend” and even “sir” and “ma” in responding to their attacks. They’ll calm down. “Wow! X is so humble,” they’ll say. “Thanks for the response, boss!” they will add. And then, “Thanks for clarifying. This made a difference!” It’s called famzing. Google it!

Don’t stop there. Show them you are as dispossessed of all the good things of life as they are. It doesn’t matter that you’re reading their tweets and posts lounged in your yacht or lavish living room in a grand European or American city. Post about your private life: how you taught your wife, call her by a mischievous pet name in your post and tweet, how to prepare a dish – the feminists will hail you for this. How the government of the day has been wasting public funds – the opposition will hail you for this. How the sermons at the mosque or church that day uplifted your spirit – the religious, and they’re in their thousands, mostly uncritical, will embrace you. How Arik almost crashed with you on board, in the economy class cabin – the lower middle-class will sympathise with you….

As soon as you’ve successfully polarised them, embark on overt humanising stunts. Post pictures of you and your wife playing a video game. Share stories of how you couldn’t afford a stay in London, and that your friend – mention a Forbes-endorsed business tycoon – had to host you. Never hesitate to exploit the gullibility of your supporters anytime an unlucky politician is convicted; manufacture an experience and tell them of how you and a certain politician resisted participation in such corrupt act while you were in power. Make sure that the “certain politician” has a huge following and, very importantly, no longer alive. If you’re not too young to be a crony or disciple of, say, Aminu Kano, tell your followers that he was that certain politician. And that you have actually resisted many of such unholy acts together. You just won over citizens to whom Aminu Kano was a role model to your side. And you’ll be shocked by their number, and passion with which they will defend you thenceforth.

Your other enemies are the journalists but I deliberately refused to mention them because they’re easier to tame. All you need is locating the addresses of obsessively critical journalists and invite them over for lunch or dinner and, well, you know the parting gift. If at this age in your pursuit of relevance, you don’t know the power of brown envelopes, then you’re not fit to be a politician. Trust me, if you do as I advised here pro no, even if you still have conscience left at the end, you may not even share or retweet certain praises from your former vilifiers, not out of modesty this time, but for being scandalously flattering. Sample? “Sir, I used to hate you but now I’ve realised that I was wrong. You’re the best XYZ ever in Nigeria. Please we need you as President in 20XX!”
Yes, that’s famzing-inspired amnesia, the most dangerous form of sycophancy. May God save us from us!

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