By John Okiyi Kalu on 05/11/2014

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Most times getting involved in pre-nomination politics is bruising. I advice people to thread with care so as to create a good enough exit for themselves when the political roof collapses on their favorite aspirants. No need making enemies because of politics and political processes you have little control over.

The stakes are usually very high in political contests especially at guber and national assembly primaries level, and a wise man navigates with one leg only. Frankly, regardless of how much noise you make at Facebook and twitter you have very little chance of influencing the outcome of party primaries. And as a useful guide, permit me to inform you that the most popular candidates hardly win primaries. Early runners also hardly win political contests.


Primaries are strictly party stakeholders affairs. If you are not a party stake holder you really have no voice when it concerns choosing a party's candidate. Don't waste your time making unnecessary enemies, just wait for all the parties to nominate their candidates and then choose which party's candidate you wish to support and then go campaign for him or her in the streets. You have a guaranteed vote that can only be useful during general elections, if you are registered to vote in Nigeria. You will also have a rich choice because different parties will produce different candidates with different credentials, temperament, education and even origin.

Party primaries are also career destroyers and necessarily throw up issues. Almost every aspirant will tell you how he is the one anointed by God or Satan and is guaranteed to win. Some even delibrately drop names of influential people who have "anointed" them just to get undue advantage. Please if you have not heard directly from a supposed "anointer" do not accept the words of a politician standing for office. And if the anointer refuses to make public his anointee it usually means he is not fully decided. Politicians are also incurable optimists and liars par excellence. If you line up 30 aspirants for one political position all of them will tell you that they are the best and the confirmed people's choice. Have you ever seen a contestant who said "I am not sure I will win"? Even those that I am sure their spouse won't vote for will inundate you with tales of how popular they are and must win or heaven will fall. And to boot their supporters will help destroy them by addressing them as "Your Excellency" or "Honorable" and other fancy titles even before they purchase nomination forms.

Naturally they will respond by spending whatever they have previously borrowed or stolen from us and their supporters will have some quid to do one or two things. Actually, that's the part I love most in the electioneering process. It helps redistribute wealth. If not for election how many of those showing up as Mr Do Good in our towns and villages will ever give kobo to common people? How many of them were ready to open their doors to the poor before now? Where were they when your children were sent out of school because of school fees? How many of them have you even seen their beautiful photo-shopped images before now? Congrats to my printers friends for the current business boom. Natawanu ha ego anyi biko.

Abeg make una dey collect their pay jare. All na our money. Try and invest whatever you get from them because after the elections they will return to Abuja, Lagos and New York. Even the phone number you are using to get them at one dial today will be changed o. They will even try to retrieve some of the materials they are disributing now if they fail to make it. One failed Anambra governorship aspirant allegedly retrieved the "okadas" and "kekes" he gave out before the last election, immediately after he laboriously lost the governorship election. If you try even getting close to his palatial home these days you will regret your life for "contaminating" his mansion with your presence.

Parties are built and sustained from bottom to top. While you were pursuing your goals in your chosen field there were people building that strong political party at home. As you were transversing board rooms they were gathering market women, artisans, unemployed youhs etc at the village square to share N500 periodically with cups of rice, salt etc. If our people didn't get those "little gifts" many of them would probably have died before you showed up to come and take over party structure and install yourself as "Leader".

Please do you honestly think those ordinary stakeholders will abandon the people who gave them "small chops" for you just because you showed up with heavily funded media teams and social network activists? Do you also imagine that those "party leaders" they have always known will be swept aside in party congresses for your preferred delegates to emerge and vote for you? If your name is not joker, change it. No serious party stakeholder will allow you to take over his sweat of many years just because you have one Abuja sounding name. The late strong man of Ibadan politics, Chief Lamidi Adedibu, must be laughing at you from the other side of life.

If you are not politically on the ground and you want to win party primaries there are principally four routes open to you:

1. Ingratiate yourself with the political leader of your constituency and hope that he uses his "structure" to support you. Don't cry if he refuses to oblige you because there are likely to be others asking for same favor. That's how Willie Obiano emerged.

2. Buy up all the local political network controllers in your constituency and make them openly turn over their network resources to you. Abiola used this method to great effect in 1993.

3. Build your own structure using a new (or less popular) political platform or buy the structure of the second strongest party in your constituency and go for it. Owelle Rochas Okorocha used this method to oust PDP from Imo State. Note that building new party structures take years of hard work and investment with a core group like "Rochas Foundation" at the heart of the project. This core group will help you take over the structures of the newly purchased  political party and assimilate it for good result.

4. Pray and hear from God directly. Power belongs to God and if he wants you to have it he will scatter your enemies (rivals), cause them to make mistakes like "substitution without cogent reason" ala Amaechi or permit internal crises to throw up an "unknown" like Ohakim.

There is no candidate that will emerge as winner of party primaries and everyone will be happy. Losers will always call press conferences while winners celebrate. That is the nature of all games, including political games. Do not expect that a man who resigned his lucrative job, sacrificed his thriving business or wasted stolen billions on "consultations" will sit back and clap that another person won. He will surely find reasons to complain. Unless he is as astute as a Chukwuma Soludo who was twice robbed politically and he took it on his chin and moved on. In any case, who are you compared to Soludo that you will lose governorship primaries and heaven will fall? Go and sit down joor.

In my over 35 years of political consciousness I have seen all sorts so nothing really move me. I have seen people who have zero electoral value or credit in their constituency but were helped up by godfathers turn round to complain when the same godfather bites their behind. Recently I read publications by some public officials who seemingly lost out in a political game complaining loudly about how they were cheated. Frankly, those were people I knew for a fact never won the elections that made them public office holders but were carried across finishing lines by the operators of our decadent system. People I can swear will not win a free and fair election in their wards for various reasons shouting loudly when the same decadent system has dealt them a bad hand. And yet people are reading and listening to them? Please if you see such people on live phone in programs just ask them to swear with the life of their first child that they won the election to the current office they occupy. If you have time, go to their constituency and ask direct questions from the people. You will be shocked to know what those they represent think of them.

Na wa for "politricks" sha. It is surely not a gentleman's game.

Okay, if you are as popular or as good as you claim, defect to Labor party or any of the remaining thirty something registered political parties and come and ask for the votes of your constituents. If you cannot do that then you simply know that you are not good enough to stand on your own but only making noise because you were not chosen by the same decadent system that previously foisted you on us. You are only crying because another person got the same undue advantage you were craving.

Am I lying?

Seriously, would you have complained if others were dropped for you through the same system you are now complaining about? If you lose out go back to where you came from or stay back and join the politcal queue and wait.

Abeg make una leave common man alone to face the realities of daily life. After the parties have "selected" or "anointed" their candidates we shall select the best of the worse next year and life goes on. We know that at the end of the day there is no crystal ball to know who will lead well or not. All na gamble. Even Obama and the Democrats have just been rattled in America's mid term polls because of "bad performance" in office. So if you lose in the power game, go back to where you came from while we invest the money you generously gave us to survive another 4 years of your vuumism.


Posted on November, 5 2014

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