By Nnamdi Odumody
All Politics as they say is local. Politicians in Nigeria have mastered this principle, and used it greatly to build dynasties, applying seduction and charisma to maintain cult followership among their followers.
In Lagos State, the Centre Of Excellence, an Africa top-ten economy, and most populated megacity, the ruling All Progressives Governorship Candidate Babajide Sanwo-Olu defeated his main rival of the People’s Democratic Party Jimi Agbaje with 739,445 votes to 206,141. The APC National Leader Bola Tinubu is the Capo Di Tutti who has dominated the politics of Lagos for 20 years since emerging as its governor in 1999, to 2007 when his second tenure ended, surviving an onslaught against the then ruling PDP led Federal Government.
Tinubu devised financial engineering to increase the Internal General Revenue of the state as its federal allocation was seized by the national ruling party for years. Ever since, the former governor has installed his successors who have improved on the state’s revenue generation and infrastructural development till date. His political structure is deeply entrenched across all the nooks and crannies of Lagos State, from the civil service, traditional institution as all the monarchs in the city of aquatic splendor are party loyalists, businessmen, transport union, etc.
His oratory and benevolence which many have hailed as his key selling points, among his supporters, who number in millions, across the state, and who besiege his residence daily for their different needs, have become symbols of leadership. Tinubu’s ability to spot and groom visionary leaders have led to many calling him the next Awolowo, the former Premier of the defunct Western Region of the first Republic who transformed it with various pioneering feats.
Beyond Lagos, Tinubu is revered as the Yoruba’s political kingmaker and has successfully installed his candidates which include the current Vice President of Nigeria Prof Yemi Osinbajo, former Governor Rauf Aregbesola and his successor Alh Gboyega Oyetola of Osun State, Dapo Abiodun who won the recently held Ogun State governorship election against the preferred candidate of the outgoing governor Senator Ibikunle Amosun, among others.
Up northern Nigeria which is conservative but politically conscious in comparison to their southern part, President Muhammadu Buhari draws his key support from millions of youths across the region, who love him for his strict Islamic beliefs, and frugal lifestyle in comparison to other elite that they feel have impoverished them. A key number of governors from the zone used his name as a brand to sell themselves to the electorate and get into power.
In Kano State, Senator Rabiu Kwankwanso who governed the state for two terms created a brand ‘’Kwankwansiya’’ movement across the state with millions of members. With its trademark red cap, the talakawas (masses) see him as a demigod and the second coming of the legendary Mallam Aminu Kano who created the talakawa politics. Kwankwaso ability to understand the needs of the masses and respond was key in helping to deliver millions of votes for President Buhari’s victory in 2015. When he defected back to PDP on the floor of the Senate, the Deputy Governor, a loyalist of his, and majority members of the State House Of Assembly, followed suit.
Across several states of the federation like Delta State where the former Governor James Ibori has established a political structure that made him install his successors, the word on the streets is that it is a one party state and others are just spectators.
Nigerian businesses need to think like politicians by creating and dominating their local markets just like Aliko Dangote who understands the average consumer, and creates products which have made him attain market leadership in most sectors he plays in.