IBB: Bad Product, Bad Salesman


The greatest salesman is not the “expert” who sells a good and high quality product to  his clientele but he who re-brands and repackages a bad product and gives it an  attractive exterior for (at least) a temporary admiration and patronage of the consumers.  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 and  the Director-General of his 2011 Presidential Campaign Orgnisation – Dr. Raymond Dokpesi.  By choosing Dokpesi as the DG of his campaign organization, IBB has ab-initio lost the  race for the presidency. I am not querying IBB for not procuring the services of David  Axelrod – President Barack Obama’s campaign strategist and miracle-man or even our home  grown Senator Joseph Zwingina who was Director of MKO Abiola’s campaign organization in  1993. But Dr. Raymond Dokpesi is a billion miles off what a campaign strategist should  be. Apart from the pecuniary attraction in billions of the people’s naira, there is no  reason in the world why Dr. Dokpesi should even accept this highly professional job meant  for political analysts and strategists. I am aware that Raymond Dokpesi got a masters  degree in shipping in communist Poland and came home to take command of the African Ocean  Line which he ran aground. I do not know how financially buoyant DAAR Communications is,  but I know Dr. Raymond Dokpesi’s greatest attraction for the job is based strictly on the  financial package and remunerations.

And so the “great salesman” stands on the podium and with a microphone to his mouth,  blares “President Goodluck Jonathan is after my life, he wants to kill me. A vote for  Jonathan is a vote for anarchy. It is a call for (the) disintegration of Nigeria….” For  the “Master strategist” and the DG of the IBB 2011 Presidential Campaign organization,  what a bizarre and counter-productive strategy to flag off a campaign of such  presidential magnitude!

Dr. Raymond Dokpesi should return to the drawing board, abandon his 18th century  strategies and embrace modern political campaign strategies. The American Electoral  process is a beauty to behold. With energy sapping party primaries spanning over 18  months including pre-primary campaigns, the American Democratic process is but one step  short from perfection, and that is just the human factor.

The 1st televised Presidential debate between Senators Barack Obama and John McCain of  America took place on 26 September 2008, and was enormously impressive with McCain taking  the lead in International Affairs and Obama making his opponent look like a rooky on  matters like National Security, Iraq and Afghanistan- areas hitherto referred to as John  McCain’s strongholds.

While McCain vilified and demonised Obama even calling the later “naïve”, Obama on the  other hand showed so much discipline and respect to John McCain. Obama’s courteous  reverence to John McCain proved very effective while McCain’s aggressive insolence  towards Obama only showed a deep internal frustration in himself and the entire  Republican Party Campaign Organization. The post-debate polls showed 53% for Barack Obama  and 46% for McCain.

It was very clear from the foregoing that Senator John McCain and his team used a wrong  strategy. The 2nd presidential debate on 8 October 2008 at Belmont University Campus in  Nashville-Tennessee, finally decided the American Presidential Election in favour of the  eventual winner- Barack Obama who had a wide CNN poll lead of 54% to McCain’s 30%.

Senator John McCain lost the 2008 American election to bad strategy and even lost votes  in the traditional Republican states of Montana, North Carolina, Nevada, West Virginia,  etc.

Dr. Raymond Dokpesi should know that such speculation and conjecturally fabricated  fable-oriented fantasies are a figment of a self imposed schizophrenic mind. It is the  symptom of a deep seated frustration and fear of impending defeat and disaster. To say  that President Goodluck Jonathan wants to kill him, I think is the height of frustration  and wild propaganda to hoodwink the peace loving Nigerian populace. Even Sigmund Freud,  the world’s greatest Austrian psychologist/psychoanalyst would not have been able to  glean a strain of violence from the genes of the gentle president, let alone less of a  murderous instinct in the President.

President Goodluck Jonathan has an impeccable record of untainted humility, a sound and  balanced mind not easily ruffled and agitated by even a tumultuous environment. He is not  cast of a violent mould. His unique methods of handling Gov. Depreye Alamieyeseigha’s  case in Bayelsa State and the late President Umaru Yar’Adua are too recent to gloss over.  Most Nigerians wanted the Vice President to edge out his boss by the various  constitutional means available but Goodluck Jonathan was too full of the milk of human  kindness to do so. Even when it was so obvious that the Chief of Army Staff was taking  direct orders from the late President’s wife, Jonathan refused to fire him. And Nigerians  know that Jonathan was hewed from the finest of human stock.

Dr. Raymond Dokpesi has so much explanation to make to Nigerians as Babangida’s salesman.  He has to justify all the high profile assassinations that spanned Babangida’s eight  years of military misadventure. Dokpesi has to explain to 152.7 million Nigerians the  whereabouts of the $12.4 billion Gulf war oil windfall that accrued to Nigeria. He has to  explain to Nigerians why Babangida was the sole signatory to that dedicated account that  wasted the money. Nigerians want to know why we embarked on the structural adjustment  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 when  the naira had more value than the dollar before Babangida’s arrival. Nigerians want to  know why a brand new peugeot selling for six thousand naira went for N2 million  immediately on Babangida’s arrival.

Nigerians want to know why Babangida starved Nigerian universities of vital funds which  led to a rot in the university system. This led to so many university dons relocating  abroad for greener pastures.

Babangida’s snub of education led to the very low level of educational infrastructure  development especially in Northern Nigeria which is now the stronghold of Boko  Haram-enemies of Western education. Babangida’s refusal to commence an educational  revolution in the North is to maintain the status quo, to justify the continuation of the  master-servant relationship.

Threats of Nigeria’s disintegration will not solve Dokpesi’s problems, it will only add  to his burden because Nigerians are now wiser than they were ten years ago.  Electioneering campaign is not by how powerful you are or how tough you are. It is a  matter of intellectual depth and diplomacy.

But ultimately the winner will be the candidate with a better strategy. Dokpesi has  chosen the wrong strategy of blackmail, deceit and anger. A war commander must be  unperturbed by the enemy’s tantrums. Once the general loses his temper he loses the war.  The war General must have a larger picture of the war situation. In fact, he must be on  the mountain top and capture the whole scenario to be in complete command and control of  his environment.

But our dear salesman is already threatening fire and brimstone even before the  commencement of battle. To be very frank with you, Dokpesi, you have already lost the  battle. But since you need Babangida’s billions to revive your ailing businesses, please  do not quit yet. Like I earlier mentioned, the American electioneering system is almost  perfect. The tax dodger cannot play American politics. Even the slightest act of  misdemeanor will disqualify a candidate in the American system. Senator Ted Kennedy could  not become an American President because of the Mary Jo Kopechne incident on the  Chappaquiddick bridge on July 18 1969. Ted Kennedy swam to safety but his female partner  was not so lucky. But in Nigeria a man can murder as many as a million people and if he  was a former general and Head of State, he was exempted by law from prosecution and so  could re-contest the Presidency after stepping aside for 17 years.

The Nigerian political system could take a cue from the American example. Political  parties should be able to scrutinise and do extensive security and social checks on their  candidates before presenting them for election.

The Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) should take up from thence and do a double  check on all party nominees before finally giving the nod for them to contest. All kinds  of crooks and defaulters including tax dodgers will surely be caught in this web.  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 consequences  of a massive bottled-up anger being unleashed by the Nigerian people on Babangida.  Babangida is a poisonous material; bottled and marketed for sale. Nigerians should avoid  Babangida like the dreaded bubonic plague. Can Nigerians trust a maradona, an evil genius  and a master dribbler?

Nigeria will surely remain one whether the evil genius and his salesman wish the  contrary. Nigeria will surely survive.  A word is enough for the wise.

•Ben Nanaghan writes from Lagos

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