Saul Alinsky in his Rules for Radicals began his writing with a quotation from Job7:1, which states, “The life of man upon earth is a warfare…” He continued, “What follows is for those who want to change the world from what it is to what they believe it should be. The Prince was written by Machiavelli for the Haves on how to hold power. Rules for Radicals is written for the Have-Nots on how to take it away.”
The last election was an unprecedented election in the sense that a lot of political watchers did not fathom the direction it took.
In the previous elections, it was always between two parties. The outcome was easily projected and predicted. The presidential election saw a wave; a new wave that was never in equation. All along, Nigerians preaching good governance and citizens’ participation argued that the two dominant political parties have become hegemonic while entrenching aristocratic governance to the detriment of the people. It was in the last election that a third force emerged and the full participation of the citizens, especially the youths, was experimented.
At the outset, the third force was derided and characterised as structureless and a movement that lacked the force to confront the established politicians. Although during the course of campaigns, with the background that who led the campaign may not be whom they would like to take over power, the establishment could not contain the disdain for Mr. Peter Obi both on ethnic and religious grounds.
The people are already fed up with the system; both the supporters of the establishment and non-supporters. Mr. Obi brought a message of hope and patriotism and belief that the system will work if only the people cherish and imbibe integrity rather than ‘cash and carry’ governance. He stressed that Nigeria should grow from being a consuming country to a producing country which will take care of the ailing economy, high unemployment that leads to crime and insecurity.
His message awakened the people who trooped out on Election Day to cast their votes under the rain and in the sun. He won many states and in some; there was blatant manipulation of results and cutting away of his votes and awarding them to the declared president-elect.
There has been an onslaught of campaign of calumny including accusing Mr. Obi of stoking ethnic and religious politics and labelling the Obidient movement, populist and fascist. Mr. Obi was on record and at several fora asked the voters not to vote for him based on religion and ethnicity but on character, competence, capacity, credibility, commitment and compassion.
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While they try to sustain such a false narrative of stoking ethnic and religious politics, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Bola Ahmed Tinubu campaign, released an obvious fake and doctored audio conversation that they claim to yield to their set narrative. There is nothing more comical and absurd for the campaign and a party that introduced a Muslim-Muslim ticket in a secular and multi-religious country and used fake bishops in mockery of the Christians, went to Mosques to curry the favour of the Imams, turn around to accuse Mr. Obi on what they actually did.
There is no surprise about the tactics. During campaigns, the narrative was that Mr. Obi’s Obidients were unruly, mob-like, and intolerant of others. One of Alinsky’s rules is, ‘If you push a negative hard and deep enough it will break through into its counterside.’ They got many people to believe that Mr. Obi and his supporters were uncivil which prompted Mr. Obi to issue appeals to his supporters.
The realisation that pushing a negative narrative did not work following the manner of voting in the presidential election caused the established politicians to go all out in open display of voter suppression and applaud an election decided by the thugs during the gubernatorial election.
The establishment and the ruling party and in support of the presidency, have picked Mr. Obi as the target. Yet again, falling back to Alinsky, he said in one of his rules, “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it. Cut off the support network and isolate the target from sympathy. Go after people and not institutions; people hurt faster than institutions.” Obi and Obidients must be singled out as the target and “frozen.”
While Mr. Obi is not the only candidate in the election who went to court to peacefully and legally seek redress, he was alleged to commit treason. The measure of power is money or the people. It is seen that Mr. Obi is with the people and that should be taken away from him so that he can be frozen.
The Minister of Information, Mr. Lai Mohammed engaged with some American media organisations. he said, “Obi and his Vice, Datti-Ahmed cannot be threatening Nigerians that if the President-elect, Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) is sworn in on May 29, it will be the end of democracy in Nigeria. This is treason. You cannot be inviting insurrection, and this is what they are doing.”
Before the election, foreign media were positive of Mr. Obi winning the election. Polls after polls had him in a good position. Mr. Mohammed’s mission is to drive a wedge and to change the narrative. The federal government did not focus on other candidates but only on Mr. Obi who has the power of the people.
Labelling Mr. Obi, ‘treason and inviting insurrection’ is to take away the towering image he has garnered both in Nigeria and on the International stage.
The establishment is utilising both the Machiavelli’s The Prince and Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals to entrench themselves and it is important that the Nigerian people and in particular the Obidients to not yield to such tactics and power politics.
The power of the people must be established in the country, otherwise, while sowing multidimensional poverty, the establishment inflates project sum to have enough to continue the aristocratic governance and consumption economy.
The life of man upon earth is warfare. Power politics is warfare. Information is warfare. Which side of the warfare are you; people or establishment?