The Middle-Man Politics


If you go to Balogun market, Lagos Island, right now, you will meet boys volunteering to take you to the best place to buy your clothes. If you were a novice, you’d tag along and be thankful for the kind gesture.

What you don’t know is that these boys have established business relationships as middle-men for the owners of those shops. Their job is to get potential customers in exchange for commission.

They also get a few naira notes as ‘thank you’ from the unsuspecting customers they have ‘helped’.

This system is called Oso-Ahia. [The middle-man hustle]

Political economists have designed the supply and demand framework to explain how government works. The office of the citizen which is touted as the highest office in a democracy makes a demand of good governance. Thus, it is the job of the elected to supply it.

However, I find that the suppliers maneuver the choice of demand to suit the inventory that they are willing to offer. Consequently, this is where the middle-man comes in. And do they do a fine job!

President Jonathan could not win his second tenure because Nigerians voted for Buhari. The veil of what transpired only started to fall off after President Buhari plunged Nigeria’s economy. In fact, recent statement made by fmr. Gov. Kayode Fayemi points to the fact that Nigerians were deceived into rejecting Goodluck Jonathan at the 2015 polls.

News of insecurity happening in the North was amplified. The 2012 mass protests, led by actors, influencers and people who hitherto hadn’t commented on Nigeria’s political situation was the climax. The PR was turbo-charged against fuel subsidy and the economy. Even though, Nigeria’s GDP grew by over 7% during the time- the best we have witnessed till date. Yet, even the educated were swayed and deceived by these PR stunts.

Nigeria’s young, 60% of its population was indirectly engaged through ‘Youths Arising’ taglines, concerts, celebrity protest walks, political assemblage cloaked in youth awards and events- all to engineer the social media population to align with their political bloc. Ironically, an ill septuagenarian and former dictator was pushed as the saviour of Nigeria and these youths somehow believed it.

There was a machinery influencing public opinion. Backed by fat accounts, they leveraged the media, rallied protesters, amplified bad news and pumped lies in the faces of Nigerians.

This is the job of the middle-man. The most dangerous chain in the political-economic framework of a democracy.

Red Media shipped a strategy called ‘Reputation Management’ to pacify Nigerians into believing that a military dictator was reformed and what Nigeria needed was a strict disciplinarian who would tackle corruption. It worked. Even educated Nigerians forgot that Nigeria in Buhari’s military regime of ‘84/85, faced the worst economic downturn.

This time around, with a fraudulent election and unjust judgment delivery by PEPT, the OsoAhia agenda was to influence Nigerians to ‘move on’, ‘appeal the judgement at the Supreme Court’, ‘prepare for 2027 elections’. They perfectly do the mind bending work of turning the minds of Nigerians against protests. They claim there are better strategies than protests. Strategies that haven’t worked for 63 years now.

They run justifications for Nigerians who choose to work directly with a President from a fraudulent election as being ‘pragmatic’. That the only way to achieve success in sub-sectors is to ‘pretend’ to kiss the ring. And that people should ‘put the interest of Nigeria above emotional sentiments’.

Only that this is false as usual. That people who compromise on character, truth and principle do not, as a matter of fact, have any noble intentions. They perform the political-social climbing in the full glare of the gullible citizens who clap for their bravery to work (even when there’s no evidence) with the corrupt lot, to achieve results- tangible results that never come.

Twist, bend, turn the truth. The truth is the truth. But, it appears that the office of the citizen is yet to become fully aware of the operations of the benders of truth. What makes them the most dangerous is that they look, dine, speak, live with the citizens but in fact, work with the government.

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