Who Among The Presidential Aspirants Own The Street? By Dr Mutiat Oladejo

Listening to a radio program during the week, I heard the analyst saying Shina Peller was planning to take presidential nomination form. The analyst were in doubt and could not figure out his chances to win. He is calling on his support group to finance the process of obtaining the form. Yes, it may be funny that how does he intend to win? The fact is that politics seems like a career, if you want to become a governor of a state or a minister, you must have been in the path for at least ten years. In the case of Shina Peller, obtaining the form is part of the game of relevance, having studied his moves from bagging a chieftaincy to organizing birthday colloquium and others. Being a politician in Nigeria is a deep and long game.

Bolanle Sarumi, the only female gubernatorial aspirant in Oyo State in 2019, was rejected constantly by the major political parties. She adopted a less functional political party as a platform to run. I listened to her debate at ICC UI, she was fierce! However, I realized something different when I saw her in a picture with the governor and Aare Musulumi. And boom there was an appointment to serve as a SA on diaspora in Oyo State. That proves how politics has been a process and daunting pathway to governance. I can see she is gunning for House of Representatives.

All said, how will the youth get the funds to participate in politics, I was involved in a funded campaign finance tracking in 2018. We realized that for PMB to emerge about 5 billion naira was spent and goes down states and local governments.

For an average youth of 25 – 40, that is unemployed or underemployed, where will such funds and audacity come from and in a society that is widely classed between the rich and the poor with a shrunk and struggling middle class. The rich have the wherewithal to finance political participation. That is why you will see the children of the likes of Ajimobi, Okorocha, KolaDaisi, Sumonu, Obasanjo, Abiola, Alaafin Adeyemi, and several others across Nigeria, having the boldness and support to run for political offices or get political appointments. It is recycling! Only few professionals get the opportunity to be nominated to serve in government and even those few have been silently on the pathway.

Such political recycling have pushed the likes of Sowore to constantly use a different approach. His approach is to deconstruct the power structure in place through a revolutionary appeal.

Back to the issue of the streets, the streets in Nigeria is the informal sector and that is where the power lies. That is why you will see Asiwaju Tinubu’s daughter serving as the Iyaloja of Lagos to coordinate tax remittance and manage the political ideology of an average market trader. That is why McOluomo can’t be toiled with in the transport sector, K1 is constantly important because he has a strong network with most big business men and women and kings through his music. Same thing replicates in Oyo State where Auxiliary’s leadership in the transport sector and Taye currency in the music industry have become an important system to the government and Taye currency’s son is a member of the state house of Assembly.

In my research and that of other scholars, we have seen how powerful the informal sector is to winning elections. If there is any political ideology in Nigeria, that is where it lies. Perhaps, no wonder the current vice president used a different approach by ensuring different credit schemes for the businesses in the informal sector across Nigeria. It is also a way of shaping their political thinking process.

The streets in Nigeria is a complex space to understand, but one thing is constant, poverty will always breed criminality and perpetual insecurity.

Dr. Mutiat Oladejo writes from Akinyele Local Government. She can be reached via oladejomuti@gmail.com.

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