Understanding Nigerian politics requires a grasp of the following:

  1. Almost every power play is executed through proxies, many times without the direct knowledge of the Principal.
  2. Proxies are supremely powerful; getting away with murder in the name of the Presidency, ex-Presidents, Ministers, Wives of Officials and so on.
  3. Politics is mostly about power and how much of the resources of the nation you can personally appropriate. It is rarely about people or development.
  4. You cannot escape tribal and religious colouration in Nigerian politics. Accept it and work with what you can.
  5. Money is an inescapable force. It is virulently ingrained into every aspect of our polity. It has been known to make otherwise rational Nigerians, lay aside logic and humanity.
  6. He who controls the distribution channels of information controls the political conversation.
  7. Many news stories are sponsored and full of agenda. Mere citizens are scarcely deemed worthy of the full story or the truth.
  8. Morality hangs by a thread. There are many grey areas in an arena characterised by iniquity, inequity and impunity.
  9. Political fights and party cross carpeting are the norm. Pull up a chair. They are always rather interesting.
  10. To succeed in Nigerian politics, you must be exceedingly wise and crafty. True intelligence is not a strict requirement. We have technocrats for that.
  11. You need informants everywhere, as well as a comprehensive political intervention structure; attack dogs included.
  12. To ensure you don’t die young from frustration, you must be willing to accept what is possible, as opposed to what is ideal.
  13. You must have the capacity to sleep well at night having heard plenty of bullshit and witnessed unimaginable evil.
  14. You must have the patience of a snail, the resilience of a caterpillar and the doggedness of a bull.
  15. The Nigerian citizen can be likened to a daughter who has been imprisoned by her father in a dark basement, with barely enough to eat, and has been repeatedly raped.  That should help you to appreciate the trauma, malfunction, split personality and self-preservation of the average Nigerian.
  16. In a country of mass illiterates, where ladders to wealth barely exist for professionals, the easiest route to prosperity is political patronage.
  17. Many Nigerians will claim any tribe, swear any oath and sleep with anyone to get a piece of the national cake.
  18. Access to power is not by merit. It’s based on who you know, where you come from and who owes you.
  19. In Nigerian politics, idealism must be tempered by reality and pragmatism.
  20. Beware of violence in politics. It is often a ready tool in the hands of those who seek to take all, keep all and protect all.

Now that you know the “rules”, you can comprehend the depth of character, wisdom and power that is required to do what is right in Nigerian politics. I wish you success on your political journey, dear youth.

In Nigerian politics, idealism must be tempered by reality and pragmatism. Click To Tweet He who controls the distribution of information controls the political conversation. Click To Tweet

2 Thoughts to “The 20 Laws of Nigerian Politics”

  1. 11, 12 and 19 I believe can be the bedrock or catalyst for the ’20 Laws of Working With Politicians…For The Greater Good’.
    Otherwise to concede the higher ground in the near feeble struggle for sanity, leadership and development is the greater of the problems we face.

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