(Continued from last Monday)
These musings are not to celebrate evil but to inspire good. Get involved and change our stone-age political status quo. Read, understand and memorise these laws but aim to abrogate them in your own tenure. Until then though, don’t quit, or vow to never join, politics.
Law Number Ten: Be A Puzzle Always. In Nigeria, ‘a good politician’ is an impossible person; an intriguing creature; a chameleonic individual. (S)he adapts to every situation/person differently. (S)he is unshaken/unswerved by even the most extraordinary circumstance.
‘A good politician’ is a frenemy, or rather an all-weather being; depending on one, his/her memory of who’s concerned; two, his/her mood per time; three, how useful you are or can soon be. ‘A good politician’ is neither all-good nor all-bad; not all-depth nor all-shallow; not all-ambitious nor all-planless; never all-generous nor all-stingy; never all-arrogant nor all-humble; neither all-scheming nor all-saintly. ‘A good politician’ operates something akin to a pay-as-you-go policy. Deliberately and effortlessly, (s)he is never the same person to different people at the same (or different) time(s).
(S)he mouths about operating an open-door-policy; yes, it’s true but (s)he has a fool-proof way and timing of ensuring that only those (s)he wants can go through the door at any given time. That is the reason the people are never unanimous in the assessment of ‘a good politician.’ In minutes, those against suddenly thin into a tiny minority while those for become an alarming majority. Not that anyone was bought over.
What always does the magic for such so-called good politician is his/her divide-and-rule wizardry. No two factions or camps can hold the same opinion, simultaneously, against him/her. By his/her uncanny ability to be different-persons-in-one, ‘a good politician’ is constantly ahead; moving camps or defecting from Party A to B and back, depending on his/her tide or weather forecast. (S)he changes positions as (s)he does clothings.
‘A good Nigerian politician’ is puzzle personified. Rather than sit there to poke fun at such a one, please get busy; let family/friends sweat to understand you. Become a knotty puzzle. To be sure, many will hate you but you will also attract many more who can fight for you publicly.
Law Number Eleven is satanic but: Never Ever Be Caught In The Act. Nigerian political players only copy/quote the few wrong things that the West do; never the many right things. For instance, anytime we complain of how very unlike the US’s our democracy is, our politicians retort that Rome was not built in a day. Plus the footnotes that the US is well over 223 years old as a democracy and that ours is only nascent democracy.
Unfortunately, our political craze to photocopy only nonsense is not limited to just the mundane. Even the holy scriptures have been mischievously rehashed. There’s now an Eleventh Commandment (Thou Shalt Not Be Caught), a direct affront to all the positive elements (Thou Shalt Not Kill, Steal, etc.) of the Ten Commandments. Politics Nigeriana is no respecter nor indeed fearer- of anyone!
‘A good politician’ in my country never gets caught. Well, there’s a better way to say that. To make a mark in politics Nigeriana, you must vow to never be caught (at least, not redhanded). I am not asking you to vow that you will never commit those blunders which have become the wont of politicians.
Please don’t make the vow, in spite of how sure you think you are of yourself or your born-againism, or both. Our politicians will tell you they never thought they could descend as lowly and beastly as they now regularly do. Sssh, stop pointing the finger. The guys are almost-always compelled by circumstances beyond their control: family pressure; the urge to belong; the need to teach someone a lesson, anxiety over how the electorate will disdain him/her once not winner or simply money.
There has/have always been, there is/are, and there will always be reason(s) for political misstep(s). No one is immune, not even you. Fallen angels are Nigerians who dared to taste the political pie. Beware!
Whatever you do, leave no trace. That is why politicians talk of evidence all the time. They know the game. They know that they will only be judged/condemned based on evidence; hard facts.
So, they obliterate or delete both the error and the memory thereof. Or, they go through the backdoor to commit. ‘A good politician’ never leaves even his/her shadow behind. Those who accuse the authorities of not prosecuting criminal politicians should know that those guys delete the law’s memory of the crime even before committing it!
Politics Nigeriana is played (nay, fought) like war. Nigerians mock the saintly politician as ‘a bad politician.’ ‘A good politician’ is preferred no matter what havoc (s)he has caused. ‘A good politician’ obeys/applies our Law Number Twelve, 24/7.
It might seem ironic but in politics Nigeriana, Intimidation Is A Weapon Of Mass Mobilisation (Law Number Twelve). Nigerians flock more to the intimidator. In any case, we have no choice being pulled by the same unseen, wordless force that the magnet uses to snatch off any iron or allied product that strays into its jurisdiction. Intimidation works like magic in politics Nigeriana.
And it has many sides to it. It is about the only political tool that can be used by the people as well as by a power-holder against one, a (junior) power-holder who proves stubborn and two, a (superior) power-holder who is desperate to win re-election. If a people in any constituency have the political savvy, they can unite in pretence; threatening any power-holder of no further support. No power-holder wants to hear that.
They all think that shows weakness. So, deploy the tactic to your advantage. Extract your pound of flesh, politically. Go ye into the world and bully people into total submission and support.
… To be continued next Monday