Why Osun will not Fall to PDP By Nasiru Suwaid
Actually, it was something which had happened, to define my eternal vision of politics and most especially, as a political analyst, it has aided and guided how I viewed the power grabbing trade. Of course, it also made me extremely cautious about making political projections, but, where certain fundamentals are available and aggregate parameters are clear, concise and precise, making political predictions is as easy as highlighting the continuous circle of night and day, with each following the other in an orderly fashion. Specifically, the event took place at the tail end of the second republic, which was the period for the re-election struggles of the 1983 general elections, when many an incumbent has only a single dream that is for the return to power after the national polls. In Kano and unlike many other places, where the political fight was fought between the ruling party and its opposition party opponent, however, in the famed bastion of the progressive politics of the north, it was a straight fight between members of the ruling party, when the opposition party in power was splintered into two irreconcilable factional groups.
Atypically, the two sides relied on a single thing to gain an upper hand, which is the concept of being popular to earn electoral victory, indeed, while the Governor Muhammadu Abubakar Rimi section of the party defended on populism, the Sabo Bakin Zuwo faction relied heavily on the sheer popularity of its benefactor in the person of Mallam Aminu Kano, to get the needed votes and mandate to assume power. But, the question that immediately comes to mind is whether there is a difference between populism and popularity, and actually, there is a difference between the two terms, as while populism is the art and act of gaining support of the voting population, either through sheer performance in office, which usually comes in the form of enacting good fiscal policies and provision of physical infrastructure or the deployment of the masterstroke strategy of the moment, which is the giving out of needed food items that is pejoratively called stomach infrastructure. While the concept of popularity is premised on a voter loyalty earned, usually through a long period of a trust that is obtained, due to the life of a politician being continuously measured and found not wanting in matters relating to the breach of public trust.
On the election day in Kano, the citizens of the city were left with a not very clear choice of whom to vote, between either the candidate of the People’s Progressive Party, whose level of performance is there for all to see, with the candidate of People’s Redemption Party who is only standing on the unimpeachable reputation of a benefactor, the candidate of the highly mercantile National Party of Nigeria never stood a chance, apart from the spoilers grace. In the end, what tilted the balance of victory and defeat was the trust that is imbued in popularity over populism, because what populism gives is tangible, corporeal and physical, while sheer popularity is driven by intangible affection and trust, thus an irrational fervor of identification with an ally. Explaining it further to a more understandable level, while Abubakar Rimi looked like a politician who loves the voter, by working to provide them the needed infrastructural development, the same voter saw Mallam Aminu Kano as one of them, who eats what they eat, lived the way they did and most importantly, wears what they wore.
It is noteworthy that by the Aminu Kano’s usual mode of dressing, a simple red cap, atop cheap white material clothing that is his identification choice with the common man, though, certainly not a choice to them, what they wore but a necessary clothing to protect the body, which is a classical representation of an ideal easy lifestyle. One of the fundamental characteristics of a true Nigerian anywhere in the world is ostentatious living, which is a key trait that is not impacted by the critical differences in ethnic, regional or geographical uniqueness, as we are a nation that celebrates wealth, showily extols any glimmer of achievement and share with the world, materialistic acquisitions that ennoble our status in the society. Thus, no matter the cunning deviousness of a politician and expertise to delude his followers, he or she never cede the privilege of being successful, by dressing or living like the poor. Mallam Aminu Kano was perhaps the only high status politician to adopt such a lifestyle and he was gloriously rewarded with a trusted cult followership that never betrayed his popularity with ephemeral populism, despite perpetual efforts of desperate carpetbaggers spanning first and second republics.
A little look at the physical appearance of the two major candidates in the Osun governorship election, will tell you what will happen on the election day, while Governor Rauf Aregbesola seemed a modern day version of Aminu Kano, at least in the context of the outward image of simple dressing, as you cannot love and steal money and dress poorly or shabbily, it is just not a Nigerian attitudinal trait, in the case of Senator Iyola Omisore, his recent attempt at identifying with the poor could only be a fad to exploit them, as how he looked in Oshogbo is markedly different from how lived in Abuja or Lagos. You can easily manipulate populism with either provision of needed stomach infrastructure or unproven declaratory promise of federal development but you can only gain popularity thus loyalty of the poor voters, through perpetual, constant and deliberate identification with their interest.
Suwaid writes in via email@example.com
Do not hesitate to leave your opinion in the comment section below.