Published On: Thu, Jun 11th, 2015

The Game of Power: How Nigeria works

The million naira question for Tinubu; what did the South West vote for?
This week’s happenings at the National Assembly sent me in search of the classic bestselling book I read a few years ago to refresh my memory. We shall return to the book’s substance some other time but I have adapted the title for this article. It is entitled, The Game of Power: How Washington works, by Hedrick Smith. Its introduction states; Americans are a nation of game players. Americans are preoccupied with winning and losing. Competition is our creed; it is a knit into the fabric of our national life…
Politicians themselves know that there are advantages for those who understand the rules and the moves, the power realities and the winning gambits, and those who are savvy about the traps and escape routes of modern politics. Some like to say that the power game is an unpredictable casino of chance and improvisation. But most of the time politics is about as casual and offhand as the well practiced techniques of an Olympic athlete…
What took place at the NASS on Tuesday during the election of its leadership reflects, indeed, exposes, the simplicity as well as complexity of our politics. Its simplicity is demonstrated in the fact that the hand writings were so boldly and clearly visible on the walls and had been alluded to, if not predicted, by some people including this writer. But most people were intoxicated by the formation of APC and subsequent defeat of former President Goodluck Jonathan that they failed to focus on the dynamics of the workability of the contraption.

 
The merger that produced APC was a South West sell-out to the North to return power to them for practically no advantage; yet most people in the West, usually critical and perceptive, missed the point completely because of their hatred for Jonathan and beholding to Tinubu’s media enthrallment. You needed basic understanding in Nigerian politics to grasp its unfolding dimensions; yet even the most enlightened people balked at it.
Politics is a game of power and power is not shared; you either have it or not. This is where Tinubu and his co-travellers failed the South. The idea of dual leadership in APC is a deceit and misnomer that flies in the face of political reality. There cannot be two centres of power in a government or party. Even Tinubu has demonstrated this so eloquently in Lagos that he should have known better. But power corrupts, because he did not know his limit. All the fights in the states between governors and their predecessors derive from this fact. It has no viable precedent in history.

 
Our politics is also complex in that Nigeria is not a nation with common interest. Everything here is a product of bargaining and balancing interests. Since independence every democratic government has flowed from political compromise and trade-offs. Politics of winner takes all practised by Tinubu is alien to the political culture and orientation of the North, which though in dominant position on account of disputed numbers, understand that they cannot go it alone and would therefore prefer to share power than risk losing out. This is what has always kept them in power. God-fatherism has never been part of national politics.

 
The North and West have never worked together in a democratic government. The West is too politically conscious and restive, rich and self confident to play second fiddle to the North which insists on their divine right to rule. How Tinubu intended to change these psycho-cultural orientations in APC was a major puzzle for any student of political development.
With the outcome of the NASS leadership election Tinubu has not only been cut short but the West has lost out eventually. It was the West that burnished Buhari’s image and provided the platform that elected him. Yet, the only thing they have is the vice president which is a glorified sinecure. Tinubu sold the West for a morsel.
Furthermore, there is also the conflicting world view between the different regions in Nigerian politics. Actually the political marriage that birthed APC was out of unholy convenience and steeped in irresolvable contradiction that it would take a most blind leap of faith by the West to effect. Northerners knew what they wanted and where they were going. But what did the West want from the alliance – change. Now, look who is crying!
Southerners, particularly, Westerners, have this misplaced, and frequently condescendingly disarming, perception that the North is backward and uneducated in Western ways of life. This is only true except in politics where they are probably miles ahead of the South. This is the origin of the born to rule mentality which scandalizes most Southerners yet we fail to understand how it works. Northerners do not believe in getting everything like us; they only insist on everybody getting something while they get power anyhow.
Northerners are also masters in divide and rule which the British bequeathed to them. Remember it was the South in PDP that joined with the North to defeat the South in APC in the NASS leadership contest. It was also the reverse arrangement, which produced APC that ended Jonathan’s ambition.
All the foregoing points to one thing: Tinubu made several political mistakes and miscalculations in the APC alliance and failed to learn the lessons of Nigerian political history. We were carried away by the ill-digested and dishonestly contrived mantra of change and forgot the fact that history has an uncanny way of repeating itself. In fact as Ruth First once put it, the more things change the more they remain the same. What were these mistakes and miscalculations as well as the derivable lessons going forward? TO BE CONTINUED

© 2015, Hallmarknews. All rights reserved. Reference and link to this site is required if you wish to reuse any article.

Reactions from Facebook

comments and opinions

Leave a comment

XHTML: You can use these html tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Most Shared

Recent posts

  • China offshore oil coy to invest $3bn in Nigeria

    The China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) is to invest an additional three billion dollars in its existing stakes in offshore oil and gas operations in Nigeria. Mr Ndu Ughamadu, the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) spokesman said this in a statement on Sunday in Abuja. Ughamadu said Mr Yuan Guangyu, the Chief Executive Officer […]

  • Ecobank risk assets deteriorate as Kie bows out

    By FELIX OLOYEDE The exit of Ecobank Nigeria’s erstwhile Managing Director, Charles Kie, has raised a groundswell of speculation in the financial community as sector analysts believe that his exit was abrupt, untimely and suspicious. Over a period of two years, Kie had succeeded in reversing the banks bedraggled balance sheet and profit and loss […]

  • Blood, blood everywhere: Herdsmen, rustlers on the rampage

    –  Violence, a well-articulated plot to grab land – Expert  By AYOOLA OLAOLUWA Nigeria is gradually descending into a Hobbesian state with the growing killings in the Middle Belt, in addition to the destruction of lives and properties in the North West and Boko Haram insurgency in the North East. Defenseless citizens are being killed like […]

  • 2018 budget in jeopardy

    . Delay alone has reduced performance by 13% – Experts By UCHE CHRIS In all likelihood the 2018 budget will end like the three previous budgets of the President Buhari administration: a failure. Having been passed seven months after its presentation and half year gone; and with all the controversies surrounding its passage by the […]

  • MTN to miss market listing target

    By OKEY ONYENWEAKU A weak domestic economy in Nigeria may force telecommunications giant MTN to shift its earlier proposed August 2018 date for a local listing on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE). Analysts believe that the date shift will allow the parties to the Offer plan a more successful listing arrangement that would guaranty full […]

  • APC crises deepens: Amaechi battles for relevance, Modu-Sheriff is new strongman

    By OBINNA EZUGWU Key actors in the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) managed to keep up appearance to allow for a smooth transition at the party’s recently held national convention. Except for the exchange of blows among Imo and Delta States delegates, the convention was largely a success. But beneath the facade of orderliness, tensions […]

  • INEC declares Fayemi governor-elect in Ekiti

    The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has declared Kayode Fayemi of the All Progressive Congress (APC) winner of the Ekiti Governorship Election held on Saturday. INEC’s Chief Returning Officer for the election, Professor Idowu Olayinka declared the result on Sunday. According to the Returning Officer, Kayode got 197,459 votes to defeat the Deputy Governor of […]

  • President Muhammadu Buhari said on Wednesday that Nigeria will soon sign up to a $3 trillion African free-trade agreement. Nigeria is one of Africa’s two largest economies, the other being South Africa. Buhari’s government had refused to join a continental free-trade zone established in March, on the grounds that it wishes to defend its own […]

  • PDP meets Obasanjo for advice on how to beat Buhari in 2019 polls

    The National Working Committee (NWC) of the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) will meet with former President Olusegun Obasanjo in Abeokuta on Saturday to seek advice on how to achieve victory in the 2019 polls and beat incumbent Muhammadu Buhari. The National Chairman of PDP, Uche Secondus, made this known in Abeokuta while addressing journalists after a […]

  • GTBank Launches Social Impact Challenge, Aims to Fund Community Development Projects Nationwide

    Following more than two decades of consistent investment in community development, Guaranty Trust Bank plc is taking its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) another step further by launching a Social Impact Challenge that will fund dozens of innovative ideas designed and executed by members of the general public. Tagged #SimpleChangeBigImpact, the Social Impact Challenge invites individuals […]

  • Akpobome gives indigent girls educational lifeline

    Akpobome gives indigent girl The hope of indigent girls who have been struggling with their education has been rekindled as Mrs. Mary Akpobome, former executive director, Heritage Bank and her husband,  Mr. Atunyota Akpobome, fondly called Alli-Baba have jointly floated The Purple Girl Foundation with the purpose  of helping them live their dreams. Giving reasons […]

  • Buhari’s NLNG signature project back on track

    President Muhammadu Buhari has congratulated the board, management, staff and shareholders of the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas company (NLNG), the NNPC and other Joint Venture partners, Shell, Total and AGIP on the signing of the contracts for the Front End Engineering Design (FFED) of Train 7 of the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Project. The President […]

  • Buhari creates unit to snoop on illegal money transfers

    President Muhammadu Buhari has signed the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit bill (NFIU) 2018 into law, creating a body that will henceforth monitor illegal money transfers and money laundering. The Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Sen. Ita Enang, confirmed this development while briefing State House correspondents in Abuja on Wednesday. […]

  • NCC wades into MTN’s labour issues

    The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) on Monday said the organisation has opened talks with critical stakeholders on MTN’s labour issues. Mr Tony Ojobo, NCC’s Director of Public Affairs, made this known in a statement by in Abuja. “NCC under the leadership of Prof. Umar Danbatta has opened talks with other critical stakeholders  through the office of […]

  • Weak purchasing power responsible for slowing inflation rate, says Chukwu

    FELIX OLOYEDE The continuous decelerating inflation rate in the country was largely due to weak purchasing power amongst Nigerians, said Johnson Chukwu, Managing Director, Cowry Asset Management Ltd. Speaking on the theme: “Economy: H1 2018 review and prospect for year end” at the second edition of the Bloomberg Media Initiative Africa (BMIA) Cohort 4 quarterly […]

  • Global outrage grows over incessant herdsmen killings

    …there is anarchy in the land – Utomi   By OBINNA EZUGWU The incessant killings in Nigeria by Fulani herdsmen seem to attracting more global attention as U.S. and U.K. have taken the government to task to stop it. During his recent visit to the U.S. by President Buhari, American President Donald had expressed concern […]