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Funmi Iyanda
Lagos, Nigeria
Funmi Iyanda is a multi award-winning producer and broadcast journalist. She is the CEO of Ignite Media and Executive Director of Creation Television
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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Between Power and Respect

The really interesting thing about these elections and its troublesome
fall out is that it was all completely unnecessary. It is my opinion
that Yar' Adua would have won the presidential elections without any
arm-twisting basically because the other top contenders had too much
baggage. My gut instinct is that the majority of Nigerians may have
nothing for him, but they have nothing against him either. The
roforofo fight between OBJ and Atiku had tarnished them both
irrevocably and Buhari does have the albatross of past human right
violations and accusations of religious intolerance. Yar' Adua on the
other hand is an unknown but unthreatening entity that with the deep
campaign pocket and support of the incumbent was almost certain to
win. What might have shifted the equation would have been a coalition
of all the other candidates and a pooling together of their resources,
political machinery and emotional capital. That would have been
strategic and perhaps effective but it would have required a subsuming
of personal ambitions and egos, something we are truly terrible at.
This was the case in 2003 when the elections were marred by massive
rigging and violence which have now been surpassed. It was true then
that Obasanjo would most likely have won and PDP would have had a
majority at the federal legislature as well as in the executive and
legislative arm in several states. It would not have affected their
majority if they had conceded a few states in a free and fair
election. 2003 landslide victory amidst blatant irregularities paved
the way for 2007's clean sweep in an election described as one of the
worst ever conducted on the continent. It is unnatural in any
political sphere especially one as diverse as Nigeria's is to have
such a monolithic power structure, it is untrue to life. If you look
closely however it is symptomatic of a deeper cultural phenomenon that
(as my wise friend Kwabena says) is rooted in our ego based

Our leaders, our men and by extension our society thinks that being in control is a complete annihilation of contrary thought, opinion, ideas, ideal, goals, religion and worldview. The most haunted people in Nigeria are the most rational, problem solving, questioning, individual, creative, systematic, process driven and non-religious. Even worse when any such accursed is female. So power and respect would mean a clean sweep of opposing viewpoints by any means necessary be it in the home, school, office or political office. This of course is a strategy that belongs firmly in the 16th century, which is where we insist on staying in many aspects of life.

A strategy that the majority of the world has found to be least effective in contemporary times, recently resuscitated by George Bush to colossal failure. In a world were the talk is about leadership based on skills that women are in particular suited to i.e. persuasion, negotiation, team building, adaptability and nuanced diplomacy based on deeper understanding of other cultures and people. Did you see Pelosi is Iran? It is that intolerance of difference (camouflaging fear and ignorance) which is often manifest as egoistic aggression and violence that is at the root of our gradual descent into a homogenous society polarized by religion
and money, with only one possible bleak outcome.


snazzy said...

as someone said, they can run the election 50 times, and Yar'adua would win every time. The perks of running in the only national party.

However I honestly don't think it was centrally planned, I think the individual state guys were the ones that pushed it and then when they collated the results from the various states the cental ended up with egg on their faces.

I mean look at Ondo, the PDP won a senatorial seat in a district they didn't even contest in. I'ma stop since this is almost as long as your post. Nice one.

lala said...

Well I'm not sure Yar'Adua would have even won the primaries what more the presidential elections so on that I disagree with you

ola said...

I have observed with keen interest the attitude of Nigerian political class and i must say Obasanjo legacy is that of "double standard".
In 1979 when he was head of state, he was all about "Green revolution" and the result was obasanjo farm. Now in 2007 it was all about "anti- corruption" and the result, worst election ever.
We as Nigerian needs to that thinking about liberating ourselves or we will forever leave our destiny in the hands of these rascals calling themselves leaders.
South Africa had a transition of civilian to civilian,just after independence and was fair so why should we settled for less as the so called big brother.
The younger generation has a lot of work to do because it`s our future and our country as well even though it doesn`t feel like it these days...

muyiwa said...

Of course you said it all that Yar'Adua would have won without this embarrassing falsification of result .Why are we doing this?what is wrong with us?

Anonymous said...

The question that begs to be asked is this: Would yaradua have won the primaries if OBJ hadn't manipulated the whole thing?

Tunde-on-the-road said...

Is it true that yar adua was once a lecturer? i cant believe my hears.how did he get employed? Sometimes i wonder how many days is first national broadcast will last cos dis una president cant read a page in 1hr talk little of 6 page of a national broadcast.I am sure by the time he finishes he will probably go back to germany for another medical check cos he aint gat strength.......Sorry Nigerians

Funmi Iyanda said...

@ lala and anonymous, you, l and our cats know he would not have won a scrabble round if the whole process had been free and fair and fela still dey sing for shrine but none of that is our present reality. Under this warped reality, with a combination of a selfish political and business elite as well as a populace with herd mentality, the die was cast. Snazzy is probabaly right in that each state was trying to outdo the other to curry favours at the centre but what kind of centre demands such unbridled idol worship?

@ Ola, l agree with your closing statements, until the youth (70%) of this country liberates herself, nothing will change. More on that later.