8 Things Young People Going Into Politics Need To Know

I’ve discovered that most of the young people aspiring for public office have zero clue how real politics works especially those who genuinely want to make a positive difference.

You see becoming the President of Nigeria was one of my many dreams and fantasies. But these days I’m not enthused by the idea of public office in Nigeria not to mention the presidency.

I hope to educate some of them so that we don’t keep repeating the problem where good people can’t get into political office. Also I think a lot of people aren’t in tune with some political realities that always characterize any political decision in Nigeria, whether good bad or neutral. So here are some of the things I think you need to know.

1.      It’s impossible to get into public office without cutting deals.
Well except it’s local government then it might be possible. The truth is if you’re going to make it into public office you’re going to cut deals with political devils, if you’re lucky a few angels, but you will cut deals none the less.

You’ll cut deals with Godfathers, fellow politicians, big money spenders, cabals, consortia and every political shareholder you can think off. You’ll exchange endorsements for appointments, award of contracts for campaign money, name it. It’s the nature of the business.

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The problem is there are deals that will leave you handicapped in office. On certain issues your past dealings will try to force you to look the other way and you’re torn between keeping your word and making more enemies. So be weary of what deals you make, think about the future and know what’s too much to risk.

2.      Balance of power is a pain in the arse!
In a democracy balance of power exists so that no arm of government becomes too powerful but it will come back to haunt you especially in Nigeria.

You will weep and feel real pain when you’re the President and the National Assembly won’t pass a gender equality bill, or a new wage bill, or a salary cut. You think it is a joke till you’re a governor and house of assembly wakes up and impeaches you for owning an illegal farm and the Supreme Court is not in the mood to speed up proceedings. All because they don’t like you.

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Maybe you’ll find yourself in the legislature and discover you’re the only senator with small sense. What do you do then, tweet or pad budget?

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3.      The Fact That You’re There To Make A Difference Is Enough Motive To Kill You.
You want to remove people’s daily bread and you think they’re going to sit down and watch you. The Nigerian political elite and the masses aren’t the same type of people. The elite know how to fight for their piece of cake and they fight hard.

I’ve always said this, anyone who wants to change a nation this messed up shouldn’t expect to come out of Aso Villa or any State House alive or with the complete set of family members that entered there with him.

Ordinary NFF and Oliseh was complaining his life was under threat. What do you think happens in the corridors of real power? My friend wake up!

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If someone’s not actively trying to kill you (which is almost impossible), the work load enough will change your life. That’s if you’re actually working anyway.

4.      Nigerians Are Your Greatest Enemies

Nigerians tell you they want a better country, but that’s about all they’ll agree on. If you appoint two Yourba people back to back Hausa’s will yell, two Igbo’s or Hausa’s back to back and everything won’t be a hit I assure you. But sometimes you have to appoint the most competent people even though people will throw all sorts of shade at you. If you get the job done well, they’ll shut up.

It’s bad enough we have an ethnic problem, combine it with religion and we have a nuclear weapon of self destruction. You must try to threat everyone fairly, trust your instincts and having your pastor or imam as your advisor isn’t always best except it’s your personal life.

Remember Islam isn’t terrorism, atheists aren’t the devil and Christians aren’t chief judges.

Also remember that a lot of times unfortunately rice wins elections over sound words. I’m not advocating you give out rice, but you need to be a person the people can touch and relate to, you need to be one of them, one of us.

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5.      Your Team

This is extremely hard. Once you have a bad team you’re done. If you want to make genuine change with them you might as well resign.

Hire competency above connections, and find the right balance when cutting deals so you don’t give out too many key positions to people you cut deals with.

Odds are your team is going to be 50-50, half the people there you genuinely wanted them, the other half are there because you owe people favors. Remember this when cutting deals.

It goes without saying that you need to pick a team of people you can work with but you also don’t need to be afraid to fire people, but don’t let it become habitual it shows lack of consistency.

One thing I must add though is make sure you don’t have a team of sycophants. Don’t be afraid to have one or two people who can be confrontational especially in closed doors, they keep you on your toes and walking the straight line they are also difficult to handle so you have to be smart about it.

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6.      Don’t Run for any office without knowing the state of the offices finance and human resources or having a plan to fix it.

I don’t need to say anything else.

7.      After all is said and done you can still be a disaster.

Sometimes things you never prepared for can and will happen. Like a sudden economic meltdown, insurgency, strike action from overlooked situations, natural disasters, scandals from the past. I mean there are a whole plethora of things that could make you’re time in office a disaster so prepare for the unexpected.

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8.      Watch your tongue on the campaign.

Don’t make promises you know you can’t keep. Don’t make promises without plans of action to achieve them. At the same time, don’t undersell yourself because your opponent will lie through their teeth.

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Avoid taking campaign low blows (I’m talking about legal ones) except they are extremely necessary but make sure you always have the dirt to use.

Lastly be prayerful, realistic and positive. Politics is a game with dire consequences. Keep your biases out of government houses. If you still need more knowledge on real politics, read up on Machiavelli, watch series like 24, House of Cards, Scandal, even Suits, and there’s this show on EbonyLife TV called The Governor. And for goodness sake, watch the news!

God bless Nigeria!

 

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How Did I End Up In Nigeria?

So many questions have been floating around my mind the past few weeks and all of them revolve around how I ended up in Nigeria. I’m really baffled how I ended up in a country so determined to move backwards we actually go out of our way to make sure everyone runs ahead of us.

The last elections gave me so much hope, so much faith and conviction that we were finally getting it right. I knew it wouldn’t be easy but I neva esperred all this. Since then, I’ve fallen back into the despair that follows Nigerians like a shadow, temporarily disappearing but always coming back.

Who could I possibly have offended in heaven. Did I steal meat from Abraham’s bosom? Was I making fun of Samson in the gym? 18yjj5

Did I go off key repeatedly during the heavenly hallelujah chorus? 56750415

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Or did I just flunk out of the Angel Micheal Warfare Institute?

Was it in a past life, if those exist at all? Was I a Nazi or something? Was I a slave owner? I don’t know.

Maybe I wasn’t just paying attention when we were lining up to enter the womb tube. Maybe that’s it, I could have just wandered into the wrong line.

But I think I was probably suckered in by the huge potentials that Nigeria had and I just joined the line. But Dear God, if you are reading this, the craziness I’ve seen here in just 21 years wasn’t on the brochure they gave me in heaven. I must have been deceived by angelic 419.

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And please don’t even tell me that I was sent here to fix it because I wonder, you that is here with me did your hand spoil? Why can’t you fix it. Maybe if we all just start fixing it from where we are I wouldn’t be writing stuff like this.

Anyway since I’m stuck here, just help my ministry by subscribing to my blog. Thank you. God will bless you with plenty children.

What I Would Have Done Differently If I Were President Buhari

 

Throughout the 2015 presidential election campaign I was on team Buhari, needless to say it has been one long unending tenure of disappointment, disappointment and more disappointment. To be honest with you my best action from Buhari since he was sworn into office was his inauguration speech. It’s not the only act I 100% agreed with, but it just stands out ahead of others which goes to show you how disappointed I’ve been. So I thought about everything I would have done differently if I had been Buhari and here they are just a few.

 

 

  1. Appointing My Cabinet.

If I were Buhari I would have appointed my cabinet the week following my elections. I would have been running for elections to the same office since 2003, it would only show my preparedness. I would have had my ministerial list out and ensured it was the first order of business for the newly sworn in legislature.

 

 

  1. Cabinet Members.

If you follow me on Twitter which you should (@ugotalksalot), I tweeted sometime last year that if I were Buhari I would have retained the services of Okonjo Iweala as the minister for finance. For me it’s non-negotiable. Economic downturns had been projected since 2014 and Okonjo Iweala had also sent warning signs to former President Jonathan and the need to prepare. Asides from that, I honestly think she did a good job under Jonathan and there aren’t that many who match her pedigree. I would have trusted her sound economic advice. Emefile would have also lost his job to Charles Soludo had I been Buhari.

 

 

I also would have put Fashola in charge of a ministry of information/culture and tourism and looked for a technocrat to handle the ministry of power also I’m not ashamed to say I would have double crossed whatever agreement I had with Chris Ngige because it was obvious that he’s a political and administrative dinosaur.

 

 

As for Amechi and Lai Mohammed, the dictates of real politick may just have proved too much to keep them out of my cabinet so if that had happened, I wouldn’t shield Amechi from the EFCC.

 

 

  1. Media team.

I would have retained the service of some essential personal from Statecraft on my media team. They did their job during the campaigns flawlessly and efficiently and that’s what I would have wanted while in office. I would have streamlined my media and PR machinery into just an office of Communication and have a Press secretary at the healm who would serve as spokesman, special adviser and senior special adviser on media, publicity, social media, new media and whatever nonsense that currently exists. The multiplicity and ineptitude in the office Presidency’s press team has been very nostalgic of the man he replaced. I think I may have given Debola Williams or Tolu Ogunlesi the job.

 

 

  1. Weekly Addresses.

There would have been weekly addresses/press conferences coming from me the President, the Vice President or the Press Secretary every Friday. It would be a 20-30 minute summary of the state of the nation, addressing issues that rose during the week or achievements attained. Needless to say I would have addressed the herdsmen issues and the Biafran ones as well.

 

 

  1. Tour of Nigeria

With the amount f power vested in the centre in Nigerias pseudo-federalism, I would have undertaken a Nigerian tour over the course of a few months. The objective is to seem reachable and assessable especially in places where I didn’t win. Not everyone may have voted for me but I am everyone’s president and I would need to go down every where and tell them that. In the states I expect to meet with the governor, national senators, local government chairmen, going to market places would have also made my list.

 

So you’ve seen mine, what things so far would you have done differently if you were Buhari?

 

 

 

#BlackLivesMatter African Edition 

In the United States, the movement is on, the protesters are on the streets and on social media demanding conversations on racism and police brutality that are long overdue. The killing of black men by police officers the last few days have reopened wounds that had not healed and black people from all over the world including Africa have lent their voices in solidarity with their black brothers and sister in the United States. 

But even as the black continent joins supports black lives matter online, she is confronted with a serious challenge once she logs of Twitter and Facebook. Black people on the African continent are reminded that black lives in Africa don’t matter as much as they should.. Whether it was the apocalyptic slave trade, haemorrhaging colonialism or self governance, black lives in Africa haven’t really mattered for a long time and we need that to change. 

Black lives in Africa don’t matter because our leaders don’t think they do. We’re all pawns in the hands of the political elite, a means to an end. Election after election Africans are deliberately lied to by national leaders. We are sold a dream of a better life only to realise that we cant even go to sleep. We don’t even ask for much, a good education, a decent job, healthcare and security. For a number of African states, the governments don’t even have enough to meet those requests, but still steal what they will from the people. In countries where there is a lot, it’s all concentrated in the hands of a few and none of who are usually in a sharing mood. 

Black lives in Africa don’t matter because our schools can’t seem to figure out how to educate us. Obafemi Awolowo University, used to be one of the best universities in Africa, it still manages to be one of the best Universities in Nigeria but it has been on strike for months now, because no one seems to agree on who should be the next Vice-Chancellor. Across the rest of the continent, if the absence of funds are not destroying the schools, staff unions are. Those that have, are now forced to pay millions to send their kids to private universities or across the Atlantic just to get a basic education. Inspite of all these, Africa has somehow managed to produce a number of world class minds that help us save face from this continental embarrassment. 

Black lives in Africa don’t matter because we can’t seem to get proper health care. People are slaughtered like mosquitos that took a quick sniff of insecticides in our hospitals. In our streets, it’s an abattoir. Our medical staff are on strike and when they aren’t on strike they are unequipped, underfunded, underpaid and understandably really pissed off. But how can the common man get quality health care within Africa when the leaders use their taxes to go for checkups elsewhere?

African countries seldom go to war with each other, but there’s hardly an African country that has not had either a civil war or a large scale internal insurgency within the last 60 years. Whether it’s the Biafran war, Rwandan genocide, apartheid, Liberian civil wars or Sudanese civil war Africans always find new ways to allow the political elite fights their battles for them. 

As the civil war in South Sudan erupts like a volcano that has been longing for expression, and insurgency and terrorism threaten to ravage Nigeria, Kenya and North Africa, we must not become numb and where we have, we must revive our conscience. 
Black lives need to matter in this continent once again and we need to do it ourselves. More problems are coming and we need to get our act in order. We need to have the difficult conversations so we can learn the lessons of history. Africans need to be able to know how to disagree, to learn that each African, has a right to live whether they are from our tribe or not, whether they are West African or East African, francophone, luxophone or Anglophone. 
We need to grow up and demand more from our leaders and our institutions. We must no longer reward incompetence with prolonged tenures in office and we must not over-adulate either. The time for sit tight leaders is long gone, we shouldn’t watch our nations go through it and we shouldn’t allow our neighbours go through it either. We must put back the ‘proud’ in ‘black and proud’ because no matter where in the world your are, Black Lives Matter. 

Numb To The Bomb

Feature image from 123rf.com 
When I was five years old, I returned from school one Tuesday afternoon and I was ecstatic after I realized that my frenemy, NEPA had given us electricity. I turned on the TV for my usual Channels TV afternoon cartoon digest (as I usually did whenever NEPA gave us light). That afternoon there was no cartoon, no kiddies show, there weren’t even Nigerians on the TV. They were showing smoke coming out of gigantic buildings and I wasn’t in the mood for smoke coming out of gigantic buildings, I wanted smoke from Voltron in space not aeroplanes on the earth. I was angry but what could I do. I sat I front of the TV not understanding the impact of what it was I was watching. The fallout of that day would spur the US into a decade long war in the Middle East and open the gates of hell for the entire world. Osama bin Laden had crashed planes into the heart of America and the America wanted his head on a pike and now the movement bin Laden catalysed want all our heads, preferably in tiny bits.  

That was a time when one terror attack slowed down the earths rotation, attacks were fewer and far between but claiming a lot of lives with each strike. Wars were started and many of those wars haven’t ended while some just changed weapons from bullets to ideology. You felt a terror attack like you were a citizen of that country, we were all global citizens then. But the bullets kept spewing out from the chambers, the bombs kept detonating, planes kept falling out of the sky and we keep losing people like its the rapture.

Then Boko Haram came to my home country of Nigeria. We thought we crushed it, we massacred the leadership, showed the carcass on national television, we thought we had won till another bomb went off and we realised we only cut of the snakes tail. Explosion after explosion, gunfight after gunfight, my country men and the brave soldiers in the front lines couldn’t hide it anymore, we were losing. We lost our towns in the north, many of them only need a tumble weed to look like scenes from abandoned Wild West towns in the movies. Now we’re losing the south too, fighting one war on multiple fronts.

I became scared of Christmas bangers, something I had loved as a child. The loud exploding sounds were no longer joyous and my fear grew to dread and now disgust. I hate the sounds of balloons popping and every loud bang has me looking for the nearest table to duck under. I anoint myself every morning before I leave the house, not even because I’m looking for divine favour but just I want to hire Gods private security team. This is normal to me, not as normal as those living in war zones, but it’s something I no longer get surprised by.

Bombs now go off everyday.

Suicide bombers now sit beside us.

I have grown numb, I’m no longer as grief stricken by the loss of life after terror attacks, I now concern myself with the political fallout and military reaction. What’s that saying, “people die everyday and it’s only when it’s someone close to you that you care”.

I know this is wrong but what can I do, I’d be clinically depressed if I took every terror attack personal, unfortunately sometimes I have to unlook.

I dream of a world were terrorists didn’t mislead people with religion and dogma, where bombs didn’t go off and bullets were not shared like pure water, where people weren’t blown to smithereens or perforated by bullets. But then I wake up, and boy oh boy am I wide awake. But I still pray that my dreams will come true. They have to.

God keeps us all safe.

Father Thank You For The Grace To Be Nigerian 

Dear sweet Jesus, thank you for giving me the grace to be a Nigerian. I know this grace is not something you give out anyhow, that’s why I’m grateful that of the 7 billion people on earth you considered me one of the worthy 170 million people with reinforced thick skin that could survive this country. 

I’m just really thankful for all you’ve done for me in my time in this country. When there was fuel scarcity you didn’t allow my generator go off too often. Even when the generator did go off and was no light, father you were my rechargeable lamp, providing light so I wouldn’t hit my foot against a stone. 
When my phone and laptop batteries died and there was no one to talk to, Lord you spoke to me and kept me company. 
When DSTV increased their subscription and we had to enjoy terrestrial TV, Father, you were my entertainment.
When the price of tomato rose to the heavens in seeming adoration of you, you told me to fear not, that this too shall pass and that the stew in my household will return. 
When Lagos heat wanted to melt your children, father, you sent down the rain to cool the temperatures and I’m thankful for that. 
Even when the Lagos traffic vowed not to let me go, Lord, your voice thundered from heaven, “LET MY PEOOLE GO!” And I appreciate that too.
The government may have removed their fuel subsidy, but I know your subsidy over my life will never be subjected to shortage of forex. 
Father even as the devil is using those demonic Naija delta avengers to destroy our oil pipelines, I ask that just as Shield was destroyed, father finish them completely in the name of Jesus. 
Even those Fulani herdsmen killing people because of cows, father, just as Eitisalat data used to finish without warning, let them disappear from the face of the earth in Jesus name!
I can’t thank you enough sweet Jesus, I just ask that even as I go to the embassy to apply for visa, let it be given to me speedily in the precious name of Jesus. In fact, I know you can do much more, and even bless me with another passport because you are Jehovah-over-do. Thank you Lord, in Jesus name.
Amen. 

Nigeria Is Not Your Friend 

Nigeria is not your friend. She will not hold your hands and encourage you when you’re down. She’s not there for hugs or life advice. Nigeria doesn’t care if your relationship is on cloud nine or if fuel prices made the mainland-Island relationship more complicated, it’s really none of her business. Nigeria most certainly does not care if you cannot afford the living a comfortable life, after all when your mates were turning into Dangote what were you doing? Those that discovered oil well under their property do they have two heads?


Nigeria is more like your evil gym instructor. She’s here for the yelling, the trash talking, randomly adding weights and pushing you beyond your capacity. She doesn’t like you and she’s making it perfectly known that her only ‘concern’ with you is to build your endurance and tests the limits of your patience. She will push you to the very edge of the cliff and if you’re not careful, you will lose your mind. 


You could also say Nigeria is like that mean teacher, giving the syllabus and handouts and never teaching anything but expects you to write an exam, but of course you know nobody will get an A. 


Nigeria is like an angry judge, making a big deal out of every tiny infraction. 

Drove over the speed limit? “Life time in bad road prison!”

Ate too much rice and stew? “6 months in overpriced tomato penitentiary!”

Used your generator and disturbed the neighbours? “Indefinite time in fuel scarcity rehabilitation centre!”

Browse too much? “Life time community service in poor network town!”  
Nigeria isn’t for the faint of heart or the weak. She isn’t even for the strong willed or the strongest of the human race. She’s simply for Nigerians. Because only Nigerians will understand the madness of living in Nigeria. From its crazy citizens to its governments who never seem to get anything right except simplifying the procedures for the rich to become richer at the expense of the poor. 


Like I said, Nigeria isn’t your friend, but you should know that already. 
Are you interested in writing for UgoTalksAlot.com or do you want to advertise here? Mail us @ ugotalksalot@gmail.com. 

Why We Need To Keep NYSC

Let me start by saying that…

…In conclusion, I do hope with these few points of mine I’ve been able to convince you and not to confuse you that NYSC is still very useful. 

#BRINGBACKOURGIRLS…please?

I never expected it. Two years after, it’s still some kind of national dream that we all can’t seem to wake up from. Two bloody years!

I don’t even know what I want to say in this post that hasn’t been said, but I felt the need; the pull; the urgency; to let this digital ink flow to the screens to your phones, tablets and laptops.

I am disappointed and sad that it was in my life time that I witnessed one of the most embarrassing national flukes in Nigerian history.

 I can still vividly recall it like it was yesterday. Laying on my bed scrolling through my Twitter timeline and staring in horror at what I was reading, “Over 200 school girls kidnapped.”

I know better than to believe everything I see on Twitter and so I wait for the Federal government of Nigeria to address the issue. I wait for days and weeks and utter radio silence from the hallowed corridors of Aso Rock. The military reports wing my mind back and forth in unparalleled realms of confusion. Channels television is consistent in its reporting, “The Missing Chibok Girls”, Oby Ezekwesili is livid on social media, my Church Pulpit is dead silent and the rumour mill is working overtime.

Then CNN’s Isha Sesay lands in Abuja and heads begin to roll. She begins to ask the questions our local media is either too afraid to ask, to air or have failed to get any answers to. I remember one episode with Doyin Okupe when the only thing left for him to do was to throw her off the balcony that served as their make shift studio in Nigeria. I can still recall yelling my mums name, telling her to leave the kitchen and come see the drama when they practically both start yelling at each other.

They said the #BRINGBACKOURGIRLS movement died down, the reality is it should never have lasted this long
. It shouldn’t have taken us two years, no parent, no one should have to wait that long to have their loved ones to be returned to them.

This isn’t normal! At all! 

It’s been two years. New government, new progress in the fight against Boko haram, new fuel scarcities and economic woes, but the same news surrounding Chibok, the news that rings loud like a standing applause except that it’s silent. Nothing has changed, two years on our girls are still not home.
God help them…God help us all