This Thing Called Structure…..

Source: Anthony Chuka Konwea, PhD, P.E.

This thing called structure! You will learn right here what they will not tell you about structure. When Nigeria’s leading political parties, thePeoples’ Democratic Party, PDP and the All Progressives Congress, APC talk about structures, they are really referring to two intertwined facets of the exact mechanism by which they attain and retain power. One is the rigging machinery, which is a true organically living structure all by itself. The other is the ambition of their members at various levels. Call it structural ambition if you may.

Every Nigerian politician wants to attain higher political levels. There is nothing unusual about this. All politicians the world over are like this. But what is nearly unique to Nigeria is that due to physical and mental poverty, most Nigerian politicians are never about giving service in return for occupying lofty positions. They are fully out to make unrequited money from the system, especially when they can get re-elected simply by activating the rigging facet of their structures.

The ambitious party loyalist at the grassroots, be he ward chairperson, ward councilor, party delegate, local government chairperson, party local government chairperson, aspiring Member of the House of Assembly, or House of Representatives, aspiring Senator, aspiring Governor, aspiring Party apparatchik etc.depends on the Presidential candidate as much as the Presidential candidate depends on him or her.

Their political ambitions are symbiotic and intertwined. In fact, they may be considered fused into one living entity. This fused ambition is a pact of convenience. Deliver me votes from below, and I will deliver you money and party recognition from above. So, a presidential candidate who is alien to a particular locality, rides on the personal ambition of the party man at the grassroots, just as the latter rides on his coattails to power.

The common denominator in both the rigging and fused ambition facets is monetarization. Riggers services must be paid for, and in return they too must supply the votes. Party henchmen and henchwomen whose ambitions are fused,with those of the presidential candidate must be financially mobilized, and empowered to turn out the supporters at rallies, as well professional riggers on election day.

Party hench-people occupying official positions are encouraged, indeed expected, to deploy the assets and resources under their official authority in furtherance of the fused ambition. Depending on the level, this includes such rigging assets as the Independent National Electoral Commission, the Judiciary, the Police, the Army, the Directorate of Security Services, the Central Bank of Nigeria, all deployable for rigging. This thing called structure is therefore a pyramidal fusion of ambitions, spanning from the grassroots to the very top, including everything in between, prosecuted in an unethical manner.

Nigerians got a foretaste of the classical deployment of structure in Ebonyi State, this last week, when the APC government may have allowed the police to suppress the “one million - person’ march of the Labor Party’s Peter Obi/Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed presidential ticket supporters in Abakaliki. It bears to reiterate that a fused pyramidal ambition, a.k.a. structure can never yield the expected turnaround of Nigeria. Only structureless person like Peter Obi and Yusuf Datti Bab-Ahmed, coming in from the cold can do it. So, Nigerians should not lose them both, or they would lose Nigeria itself.

The problem the APC and the PDP face presently, is that Peter Obi is a different animal. They are yet to figure out how to contain him without facing an insurrection of Nigerian youths. Much like Donald Trump, his name brand is so strong that he does not really need party hench people to turn out supporters. His supporters tired of poverty, joblessness, and insecurity in Nigeria, turn out by themselves, of their own accord to champion his national regeneration agenda.

Peter Obi's compact with Nigerians is to turn the fortunes of the country around. He does not really need to be at the campaign ground. He should spend the time harnessing his turnaround strategies. The Buhari cum APC Maladministration and memories of national exploitation under the PDP, all campaign for him.

If Peter Obi and Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed on assuming office, renege and fail to run an inclusive, merit-driven, corruption-suppressing Administration, that secures Nigeria’s spacewithin 1 year, and guarantees 24/7 power supply within 4 years, Nigerians will lynch them both.Expectations for a national rebirth and turnaround are that high.

Pretty much, like a lass would lynch a lad that seduces her to climb Mount Armor but cannot help her scale its peak. Just as much as she instinctively knows that once she reaches the peak, she can find her way down all by herself,at her own pace. So too, Nigerians know that once their country is led meritoriously by an inclusive, corruption - suppressing, and insecurity – eradicating, Administration that provides constant power supply, they can find their own ways out of poverty.

That said, until their election and swearing into office, Peter Obi and Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed's sole duty to their supporters is to manage to stay alive. That is the current state of play in Nigeria.

We are watching 👀.
Anthony Chuka Konwea, Ph.D., P.E., M.ASCE, MNSE, FNIStructE, MNICE.

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