The Smart Kids.


Okay, lets talk politics.

It doesn’t matter if you don’t take an interest in politics; politics will take an interest in you.

For about 3 months, I’ve listened to (and made) various comments on all the politics going on in the country (Nigeria) at the moment. Twitter has a way of making people seem learned including the serial retweeters, the band-wagoners, the people who like to always have a differing opinion et all. Every Emeka, Tunde and Ibro has an opinion. This is a good thing. I won’t lie, its been fun. Especially with all the debates and monologues. From all the registration drama to the various campaign ads and strategies, to the nodding episode to the various debates and then to the postponement. 

It seems to me like there are about three schools of thought that have emerged. 

The first, are the ones who believe that Nigeria is a hopeless cause, and that nothing can be done about it. The second, believe that even though the situation seems bleak, they should not give up and still perform their civic duty. To fulfill all righteousness. The third, like the first, believe that its a hopeless cause but will still go ahead and vote anyway. These are the ones that make statements like “At the end of the day, Jonathan will still win and we all know it. Vote for him so that your vote won’t be wasted.” These are the ones that irk me the most. 

I listened to all the presidential candidates during the debates. Did i see the perfect candidate? No.

I think Ribadu is a tad too proud.
I think Buhari may be a bit too rigid and set in his ways.
Shekarau sounds good but i wonder if that’s all there is to it, ‘Sound’
Dele Momdu? Too much of a business man and nearly not as knowledgeable as I’d like.
Goodluck Jonathan? I will get to that in a minute.
Pat Utomi, Dr Dara and Mrs Ndok (I like to call them The Smart Kids): Intelligent but will they withstand the enormous pressure that goes with The Office?
Chris Okotie -_-

So no, no perfect candidate. Will I vote one of them? Definitely.

I believe every one has the right to chose whom they vote for. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. However, some people need to be guided in the right direction. I’m not here to tell you who to vote. I myself haven’t even made that decision yet. However, i can tell you who i’m not voting. Mr Jonathan. Not because i think he hasn’t performed up to par since he stepped into office, which i think he hasnt. Not because innocent people are being slaughtered on the regular in Jos and he refuses to do anything decisive about it. Not because i think he belongs to a party that has overstayed its welcome. Not because he doesn’t have any tangible substantial plan to move this country forward, which was obvious from his debate/monologue/soliloquy. No, despite all of these, i may still have added him to my list of ‘considerables’

It was when he chose to not attend two of the three debates he was invited for that he lost any chance of winning my vote. Yes, not all the candidates attended all the debates, but he is the incumbent president. When the president of a country looks at an invitation by the youth of that nation to come and tell them his plans and decides not to honour it without any reason or apology? Flagrant disregard, no? And then to explain it away in a self ‘debate’ as a “communication gap”??? Seriously??? Come on!

But he’s wise. He has the average masses in his pocket. The ones who don’t have access to forums like facebook and twitter and the rest where they can sample various opinions and ideas. The one’s who’ve never heard of Governor Shekarau. The one’s who think “that Pat Utomi man speaks too much grammar”. The one’s who don’t have access to watch the debates. The ones who watch but cannot understand half of what is going on. The one’s who line up while the First lady doles out sleeping mats and provisions, while making statements like “I decided to share from the little i have” (Excuse me ma, but if your husband was doing his job properly you wouldn’t have to share your ‘little’) These are the one’s he’s got. And they are the majority.

So what do we, the enlightened minority do about it? The ones who know better? Or should know better? We either shake our heads at their ignorance and our seeming helplessness. Afterall, they are smarter and better off than us with our fancy shmancy education…right? They have more power, even though Knowledge is supposedly power…yes? Some not only shake their heads but go as far as joining them. Afterall, if u can’t beat them, join them. Like there’s some prize for being with the majority. Like if you vote for someone and the person doesn’t win, something bad’ll happen so you better not ‘waste your vote’. “Don’t waste your vote voting for him, he can’t win.” <—–That statement right there makes me see red. I wonder how many people said that of President Obama of the USA.

I used to be part of the ‘head shakers’. I remember when the laundry lady Iya Tope (Mama Tee, as i like to call her) came to iron one day during the registration period and she decided to register at a booth close to my house in Ikeja. She was frantically calling one of her friends to come quickly and register that she’d picked a tally number for her. I was quite impressed at her eagerness. Knowing that she lived at Otta, i asked her if she was planning to stay over at my house during the voting period to enable her vote. She said, rather offhandedly, that she wasn’t planning on voting. I asked why and she said there was no point, that the person that was going to win was going to win. I asked her why she bothered to register and she said she just wanted to have the card. Awww, Precious simple Mama Tee, i thought. I shook my head.
I also remember how one Twitterian recounted his experience with a cleaner in his office. I remember laughing as he talked about how the guy said he was voting for Jonathan and not Ribadu because Ribadu was too thin and didn’t look like a president. That the rest spoke too much grammar. I remember commenting and saying that while it was funny, it was also sad because that’s probably what the average Nigerian was thinking. I shook my head.

Matter of fact i kept shaking my head right up until 29th March, 2011. The day the Smart Kids debated. I listened to Prof. Utomi, Dr. Dara and Mrs Ndok wow me with their substantial tangible ideas. Even when they had differing opinions and approaches on issues, each made individual valid points. But i knew i couldn’t vote for any of them and it was frustrating. They didn’t stand a chance. I hadn’t even heard of two of them before that day. I shook my head. I kept shaking right up until the point Dr. Dara gave his closing statement. He specifically addressed the youth. He pointed out how he knew that he was the minority. He referred us back to Obama’s campaign and how the youth were largely responsible for his victory. Organising community action through various platforms, social media particularly. Something began to stir in me. Maybe i’m not as powerless as i thought. Maybe i should’ve taken time out to explain to Mama Tee, why it was important for her to vote. Maybe she’d have gone on to convince her friends and even her  husband who’d have told his friends. Maybe if the other guy had explained to the cleaner the error in his judgement, maybe he’d have convinced his fellow cleaners. Maybe if you’d actually volunteered your opinion when that cab driver was ranting…

We are not as powerless as we’d like to think.
You, privileged to have an education, a better understanding of things, you owe it to those who aren’t as fortunate as you are, to enlighten them. Tell them how their lives will get better if they vote wisely. Show them the way. Get up, get out and vote. Don’t just sit on your high chair, criticizing.

Is it too late? Will it be enough? Will we get it right this time? Maybe, maybe not. But you don’t stop trying. If not now, then maybe in 2015 when we have to elect again. But you just don’t stop.

“No one makes a bigger mistake than he who does nothing because he can do only a little.” – Edmund Burke

The national assembly elections got moved. I see a lot of disparaging comments about INEC and Nigeria. Yes we don’t like it. Yes, they should have been better organised. But we will still step out to vote. It may not be convenient, but we will do it. 

Bomb blast at INEC office in Suleja, Niger State. Youth Corpers killed. My friend’s cousin may or may not have been involved. I’m outraged. Does this mean we should cower and let them have their way? Should we sit at home and let them win? Hell No! We channel this anger. We get up and say enough is enough. That’s the only way we can honour those who lost their lives.

 You think it doesn’t affect you? Wait till they put in place policies that make your life hell. Wait till they don’t fix power and other infrastructure that can give you a higher standard of living. 
We pay the price now or we all pay a higher price later.

And it shouldn’t just end there. After they come into power lets monitor them; hold them accountable. Speak out when we see they’re not living up to their manifestos. Let them know that they cannot just do as they please.

As i write this, I’m witnessing my sister viciously take on my cousin on her wanting to vote Jonathan for presidency because “at least he’s not an Hausa man”. Apparently, she served in the North and she believes “Hausas are very tribalistic”

I’m proud of my sister. She’s showing her the way. What about you?

18 thoughts on “The Smart Kids.”

  1. >This post was very necessary and as usual you wrote brilliantly. My problem with Ribadu and Utomi who are my favourite candidates is their timing. You want to be President, u start campaigning at least a year before the next election. How else do you expect to throw out the incumbent and the "all-powerful" PDP.These parties don't even have youth arms. They also target touts and I swear down, I would not be rubbing minds with touts (sue me).The other political parties don't know how to get what they want. We might not make a change now but 2015 is definitely our year. Insha Allah


  2. >Took the words out of my head..the power is in our hands, whether we get it right or not through the vote results, we can still monitor the eventual winner and ensure that things are done rightly. 140 million nigerians to One president, the odds are in our favour..we are the majority!


  3. >Wow this is a masterpiece,U̶̲̥̅̊ just change my view about politics.I fink U̶̲̥̅̊ should publish this in every newspaper,magazines in the country.People need to know this fact.


  4. >Excellent piece. Just as Kevin said, you beat me to it but I'll still go ahead to do my bit.. it's the least we all can do. I agree with Damisola. I always felt it was such a pity my favourite candidates waited till this late to start their campaigns but then again, as I began to understand and learn more about the Nigerian political terrain, I saw reason with some of their decisions. I'm a decided voter but I'm not here to try to convince you to vote for my candidate. The message is simple. For any member of the opposition to stand a chance, we, the smart kids, need to assert our influence on the not-so-smart/less privileged people. The argument is, should we do it the right way and try to educate and convince our wash women, cleaners, drivers etc or should we adopt the methods of the umbrella wielding party and bribe, deceive or even impose?Some may say imposing may be a bit too desperate a measure at this point, well, maybe. Afterall, it's only been 11 years of the same crap from the incumbents party. Maybe after 4 more years, we'll see reason to resort to extreme (non-violent) measures. However, my point here is – DONT SIT ON THE FENCE OR ANYWHERE AT ALL – DO SOMETHING.Ps: Let me just say that cleaner she spoke about is no longer voting for Goodluck … :)


  5. >Thanks all, it's good to know we all have this point of view.@scarrena, Lol… That ad..@thetoolsman, Hmmmm. Interesting point. I'm not sure where I stand on the aggressive measures. You've definitely given me something to think about.I thought it was you that had that cleaner encounter! But I wasn't quite sure. Good to know.


  6. >I heard from Dr. Wale Okediran, former president, Association of Nigerian Authors that it is the job of an artist to be idealistic, to dream of a utopia that doesn't exits, to compare the status quo with the standard expected…There would come a time when the masses would mature, politics would mature and anti-PDP sentiments would be more than Fashola-related biases.Nobody deserves my vote even though I would vote, because i have to… support the kids who believe in a better future, the smart ones, by giving them a stronger hope… 250 thousand votes four years ago, a million votes next week, maybe fifty million in the next four years…Afro has said!


  7. >It is a good, idealistic piece & i cannot fault your conclusions. Hope is essential& we do have a role to play in sustaining that hope.I do feel however, that the people 'factor' is somewhat oversimplified. Is it ever a division btw the smart kids & the simple? for instance, an Obama would've wowed the smart, related with the simple & seduced the rest with his rock-star charisma.We do not have such an icon- someone or something, an idea which we respect way above ethnic (&other interest based) inclinations. Icons are borne of struggle (a la @thetoolsman's comment). This is something we lack, not because of ignorance or apathy or the acclaimed 'happiness' of the Nigerian, but b'cos we do not, & sadly may never believe in the project called Nigeria.


  8. >Ok. I tried but I cudn't resist.First off, you and your bloggerions are probably right.You do write well.On the subject, wrong.I dont differ just to differ. I differ because even an image has three sides.Now, I have never been a idealist. No castles in the sky utopia for me. Maybe I should have been born in an earlier century…Lets start with the smart kids(small caps well intended)Economics and Theoretics have never made good leaders. From Alexander to Genghi Khan to Sun Tsu to Roosevelt to Clinton, It has been proven that the key to leading a sagging economy/empire was not hidden in books hidden in libraries yonder.I have no doubt that the smart kids are smart but i am certain that they cannot rule Oji-River LGA where I come from.To succeed, I suggest that that one needs intellect, the charisma to carry people in the direction of your vision and the right political savvy and structure.Someone talked of Obama.He left Harvard for community work and later the Chicago Senate and Federal Senate as prep for where he is now.And he was Harvard educated.Back to our candidates.Ideally, I would not vote for anyone.Nuhu is arrogantly unawareBuhari is too unyielding…and he couldn't even win the NorthShekarau blows hot air.well.Now Jona Jona.Not because of the debates (i think thats a tad lame), but because he is indecisive and lacks the basic charisma needed to woo Nigeria.He hasnt done good. But in fairness, he hasnt done bad but I think Nigeria deserves better.He lost my vote at the Bode George party. After drinks.I voted PDP on saturday cos ACN has done nothing where i live. But because Fashola has done a good job on the whole, I will vote ACN during the GubersWho will I vote as President?That man from Kano. Hey, People built the flying balloon with hot air.Btw, did you know that after Lincoln no one who lost a poll on the Question "how presidential does the Candidate look" ever won an election. and 376 of the CEOs of Fortune 500 companies are 6ft or taller.


  9. >Excellent piece.I agree this should be in every newspaper not just in Nija but everywhere they care to read about Nija.You captured my thots so very well. Some reasons for voting certain candidates can not be more annoying than they get.someone tells me – wo, i dont beleieve in this electoral thingi' and feeling cool about it.some say Buhari will flush out corruption — ok after that, what next? No relevant blueprint or plan in keeping with our times to deploy…. some say they know who will kuku win so why vote. WHY NOT VOTE? Let us inteligently research these candidates and not vote on sentiments and tribalism and all such lame reasons. That's why we go school! I agree no perfect candidate but in the midst of it all choose the best you feel. your vote will be counted and that should count for something. And yes for Jona, i agree with Dibie, sincerely, Nigeria deserves better…totally love this piece….


  10. >nice post. the last paragraph hit home.i got into a huge argument with my mum dis morning because i told her i wont vote for Jonathan, she got upset and started arguing with me. Apparently she is voting for him because he is the closest thing we've had to an eastern president in years and she feels i am wrong for wanting to vote against him.the argument got so bad that she threatened not to let me go out to vote (jokingly sha),cos i'm sticking to my guns about not voting pdp back in.the funny thing is she knows these things, she knows a pdp government will leave this country stagnant for the next 4 years and even run it into bankruptcy but all she cares about is having a president who isnt a yoruba or hausa man… it is sad that you'll still hear this same tribalistic view from many of our people who really should know better.mediocrity runs high and its this kind of mindset thats running the country into the ground. it is often said that we nigerians are our own greatest problem..and i believe it..As for me, i'm still not sure if to vote for Buhari or Ribadu bt its a definite NO to Goodluck Jonathan. he is a wasteful president and he'll feed nigerians crumbs while his party and its members will keep eating huge chunks of the national cake and milking the coffers dry..Once again, No! to Goodluck Jonathan.. Death to PDP!




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