Friday, November 16, 2012

The truth about Tunde Bakare

Let me quickly share one truth: anyone who believes, even for one second, that President Goodluck Jonathan won the 2011 elections because he rigged the polls will never win an election in this country. Let that sink in. Another truth: the above is the crucial distinction between the political operation of Bola Ahmed Tinubu and that of Muhammadu Buhari. The former counts his losses and gets back to work; the other spends the rest of the time blaming everyone but himself for his own incompetence. Indeed, there was no more fascinating spectacle in the run-up to the last presidential elections than President Jonathan canvassing votes with the intensity of an underdog, deploying his wife to woo low-information voters, amassing celebrities to reach out to the elite, employing the image of Yar’Adua to seduce the north, taking his plea for votes from every state and to every demographic. Humbly and lethally, Goodluck Ebele Jonthan made an ultimately winning case why he was the man for the job. His major opposition, however? They were busy turning up their noses at a merger they have now embraced with a whimper, arrogantly declaring that they were the Jesus to Nigeria’s Nazareth, and that all must bow down to their superiority of their message. This is the problem however: they did not have a superior message. Save for fire and brimstone, no one can distil in a nutshell what exactly Tunde Bakare and Buhari were going to do better than Jonathan and Sambo. In fact, when young people came together and asked Buhari to make his case directly through a national debate (and get crucial free airtime on television, where Jonathan was walloping him), his response was arrogant dismissal. Even on the question of character, neither Buhari, who led one of the several coups that crippled our nation, nor Bakare, who called him outdated before he decided he was the best thing since Abraham Lincoln, nor for that matter Nasir el-Rufai who left the government of Olusegun Obasanjo under a cloud of influence peddling and audacious manipulation of the PDP primaries have a superior record. This doesn’t mean they are not more qualified than Goodluck Jonathan or even more capable of transforming Nigeria in a way he has sadly fallen short of. But, as Pastor Tunde Bakare might want to read from the bible he masterfully preaches from, God resists the proud. Indeed, if the terrible arrogance from that party of righteous men that they have something of a God-given mandate to rule this nation because their cause is just will stop them from humbling themselves to do the hard work of convincing the electorate, then they will be better off planning a military coup. Because the currency of politics, of which they have a crippling deficit, is persuasion. It is not well-couched insults, petulant cynicism, or broken-record Sunday sermons. Indeed, it was easy to identify adherents of Pastor Bakare on Twitter and Facebook as he celebrated his birthday last Sunday (and indeed, the accomplished pastor deserved the felicitations). There was a sense of righteous indignation that surrounded them, an outrage identical to their shepherd’s that this country has fallen so short of its potential that has to be rescued from the clutches of mediocrity and corruption that has tightened upon Nigerians courtesy of the PDP. And they are probably right. Unfortunately, they are too few, much too few, to influence even a local government election. So, as they celebrate their hero’s birthday, it might be time for some sober reflection: time for them to take a break from attacking everyone and everything and begin the hard work of winning hearts and minds. They have already wasted the past year engaged in the equivalent of political masturbation. Guys, you now have barely two years to get your act together.

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