4th October, 2010
The greatest salesman is not the â€œexpertâ€ who sells a good and high quality product toÂ his clientele but he who re-brands and repackages a bad product and gives it anÂ attractive exterior for (at least) a temporary admiration and patronage of the consumers.Â But when you have a bad product and a bad salesman, it is undoubtedly a double tragedy.
The foregoing aptly describes the ridiculous pair of Gen. Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida andÂ the Director-General of his 2011 Presidential Campaign Orgnisation â€“ Dr. Raymond Dokpesi.Â By choosing Dokpesi as the DG of his campaign organization, IBB has ab-initio lost theÂ race for the presidency. I am not querying IBB for not procuring the services of DavidÂ Axelrod â€“ President Barack Obamaâ€™s campaign strategist and miracle-man or even our homeÂ grown Senator Joseph Zwingina who was Director of MKO Abiolaâ€™s campaign organization inÂ 1993. But Dr. Raymond Dokpesi is a billion miles off what a campaign strategist shouldÂ be. Apart from the pecuniary attraction in billions of the peopleâ€™s naira, there is noÂ reason in the world why Dr. Dokpesi should even accept this highly professional job meantÂ for political analysts and strategists. I am aware that Raymond Dokpesi got a mastersÂ degree in shipping in communist Poland and came home to take command of the African OceanÂ Line which he ran aground. I do not know how financially buoyant DAAR Communications is,Â but I know Dr. Raymond Dokpesiâ€™s greatest attraction for the job is based strictly on theÂ financial package and remunerations.
And so the â€œgreat salesmanâ€ stands on the podium and with a microphone to his mouth,Â blares â€œPresident Goodluck Jonathan is after my life, he wants to kill me. A vote forÂ Jonathan is a vote for anarchy. It is a call for (the) disintegration of Nigeriaâ€¦.â€ ForÂ the â€œMaster strategistâ€ and the DG of the IBB 2011 Presidential Campaign organization,Â what a bizarre and counter-productive strategy to flag off a campaign of suchÂ presidential magnitude!
Dr. Raymond Dokpesi should return to the drawing board, abandon his 18th centuryÂ strategies and embrace modern political campaign strategies. The American ElectoralÂ process is a beauty to behold. With energy sapping party primaries spanning over 18Â months including pre-primary campaigns, the American Democratic process is but one stepÂ short from perfection, and that is just the human factor.
The 1st televised Presidential debate between Senators Barack Obama and John McCain ofÂ America took place on 26 September 2008, and was enormously impressive with McCain takingÂ the lead in International Affairs and Obama making his opponent look like a rooky onÂ matters like National Security, Iraq and Afghanistan- areas hitherto referred to as JohnÂ McCainâ€™s strongholds.
While McCain vilified and demonised Obama even calling the later â€œnaÃ¯veâ€, Obama on theÂ other hand showed so much discipline and respect to John McCain. Obamaâ€™s courteousÂ reverence to John McCain proved very effective while McCainâ€™s aggressive insolenceÂ towards Obama only showed a deep internal frustration in himself and the entireÂ Republican Party Campaign Organization. The post-debate polls showed 53% for Barack ObamaÂ and 46% for McCain.
It was very clear from the foregoing that Senator John McCain and his team used a wrongÂ strategy. The 2nd presidential debate on 8 October 2008 at Belmont University Campus inÂ Nashville-Tennessee, finally decided the American Presidential Election in favour of theÂ eventual winner- Barack Obama who had a wide CNN poll lead of 54% to McCainâ€™s 30%.
Senator John McCain lost the 2008 American election to bad strategy and even lost votesÂ in the traditional Republican states of Montana, North Carolina, Nevada, West Virginia,Â etc.
Dr. Raymond Dokpesi should know that such speculation and conjecturally fabricatedÂ fable-oriented fantasies are a figment of a self imposed schizophrenic mind. It is theÂ symptom of a deep seated frustration and fear of impending defeat and disaster. To sayÂ that President Goodluck Jonathan wants to kill him, I think is the height of frustrationÂ and wild propaganda to hoodwink the peace loving Nigerian populace. Even Sigmund Freud,Â the worldâ€™s greatest Austrian psychologist/psychoanalyst would not have been able toÂ glean a strain of violence from the genes of the gentle president, let alone less of aÂ murderous instinct in the President.
President Goodluck Jonathan has an impeccable record of untainted humility, a sound andÂ balanced mind not easily ruffled and agitated by even a tumultuous environment. He is notÂ cast of a violent mould. His unique methods of handling Gov. Depreye Alamieyeseighaâ€™sÂ case in Bayelsa State and the late President Umaru Yarâ€™Adua are too recent to gloss over.Â Most Nigerians wanted the Vice President to edge out his boss by the variousÂ constitutional means available but Goodluck Jonathan was too full of the milk of humanÂ kindness to do so. Even when it was so obvious that the Chief of Army Staff was takingÂ direct orders from the late Presidentâ€™s wife, Jonathan refused to fire him. And NigeriansÂ know that Jonathan was hewed from the finest of human stock.
Dr. Raymond Dokpesi has so much explanation to make to Nigerians as Babangidaâ€™s salesman.Â He has to justify all the high profile assassinations that spanned Babangidaâ€™s eightÂ years of military misadventure. Dokpesi has to explain to 152.7 million Nigerians theÂ whereabouts of the $12.4 billion Gulf war oil windfall that accrued to Nigeria. He has toÂ explain to Nigerians why Babangida was the sole signatory to that dedicated account thatÂ wasted the money. Nigerians want to know why we embarked on the structural adjustmentÂ programme when Nigerian crude oil was selling at premium price in the world market.
Nigerians want to know why our naira became a pariah in the world financial market whenÂ the naira had more value than the dollar before Babangidaâ€™s arrival. Nigerians want toÂ know why a brand new peugeot selling for six thousand naira went for N2 millionÂ immediately on Babangidaâ€™s arrival.
Nigerians want to know why Babangida starved Nigerian universities of vital funds whichÂ led to a rot in the university system. This led to so many university dons relocatingÂ abroad for greener pastures.
Babangidaâ€™s snub of education led to the very low level of educational infrastructureÂ development especially in Northern Nigeria which is now the stronghold of BokoÂ Haram-enemies of Western education. Babangidaâ€™s refusal to commence an educationalÂ revolution in the North is to maintain the status quo, to justify the continuation of theÂ master-servant relationship.
Threats of Nigeriaâ€™s disintegration will not solve Dokpesiâ€™s problems, it will only addÂ to his burden because Nigerians are now wiser than they were ten years ago.Â Electioneering campaign is not by how powerful you are or how tough you are. It is aÂ matter of intellectual depth and diplomacy.
But ultimately the winner will be the candidate with a better strategy. Dokpesi hasÂ chosen the wrong strategy of blackmail, deceit and anger. A war commander must beÂ unperturbed by the enemyâ€™s tantrums. Once the general loses his temper he loses the war.Â The war General must have a larger picture of the war situation. In fact, he must be onÂ the mountain top and capture the whole scenario to be in complete command and control ofÂ his environment.
But our dear salesman is already threatening fire and brimstone even before theÂ commencement of battle. To be very frank with you, Dokpesi, you have already lost theÂ battle. But since you need Babangidaâ€™s billions to revive your ailing businesses, pleaseÂ do not quit yet. Like I earlier mentioned, the American electioneering system is almostÂ perfect. The tax dodger cannot play American politics. Even the slightest act ofÂ misdemeanor will disqualify a candidate in the American system. Senator Ted Kennedy couldÂ not become an American President because of the Mary Jo Kopechne incident on theÂ Chappaquiddick bridge on July 18 1969. Ted Kennedy swam to safety but his female partnerÂ was not so lucky. But in Nigeria a man can murder as many as a million people and if heÂ was a former general and Head of State, he was exempted by law from prosecution and soÂ could re-contest the Presidency after stepping aside for 17 years.
The Nigerian political system could take a cue from the American example. PoliticalÂ parties should be able to scrutinise and do extensive security and social checks on theirÂ candidates before presenting them for election.
The Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) should take up from thence and do a doubleÂ check on all party nominees before finally giving the nod for them to contest. All kindsÂ of crooks and defaulters including tax dodgers will surely be caught in this web.Â However, I did not know that Raymond Dokpesi was afraid of the taxman.
Dokpesi should advise his boss to call off this mad ambition to avoid the consequencesÂ of a massive bottled-up anger being unleashed by the Nigerian people on Babangida.Â Babangida is a poisonous material; bottled and marketed for sale. Nigerians should avoidÂ Babangida like the dreaded bubonic plague. Can Nigerians trust a maradona, an evil geniusÂ and a master dribbler?
Nigeria will surely remain one whether the evil genius and his salesman wish theÂ contrary. Nigeria will surely survive.Â A word is enough for the wise.
â€¢Ben Nanaghan writes from Lagos