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The Obama Movement: Lessons For Gov. Akpabio February 20, 2008

Posted by Ibompulpit in Opinion.
1 comment so far


 Sen. Barack Obama 

US Prez Cand: Sen. Obama

 Gov. Akpabio 

AKS Gov. Obong Akpabio

Up to what is called the “Super Tuesday” in US Presidential politics, I could wager that Barack Obama’s destiny child image and hype was a just a passing inconvenience that the Mrs. Hilary Clinton machine would dismantle and crush with least effort. I am not a Democratic Party supporter by nature, and should care less – perhaps, just a little – about what happens in the liberals’ nest; that is, about who is the Presidential candidate coming out of the Democratic Party Convention in Denver, Colorado.

The little I should care about is to wish that Mrs. Hilary Clinton is the nominee… then, I would fasten up for the intellectual fun of following some deep politics and masterful campaign strategies between two certified liberals (Senator McCain of the Republican Party is the other ultra liberal and maverick) slugging out for the White House. I won’t even mind Mrs. Hilary Clinton beating Senator McCain to become the President; who cares about the liberal called Sen. McCain?

But, a contest between Sen. McCain and Barack Obama can turn out to be very long and boring, especially when the Republican Party focuses its notorious attack machine against Obama. One breakout of a major scandal…. Obama may have no leg to stand upon; a pin hole assault to deflate Obama’s hyped campaign also means the game is over against the Democrats. That is not how an election year should turn out.

I just don’t like Obama’s multi-level marketing and syndication of political hype without impressive and novel proposals to address real issues. It is just as frustrating to watch as it is to read about the rigging of elections in Nigeria, or as one is forced to tolerate Prof. Maurice Iwu – the INEC Chairman. That is why I care the least about the so-called Obamarama.

But, the so-called Obama Movement does not want to go away. It is like a slow moving hurricane and nightmare. It is not that I have any thing against the Movement riding waves of popular support; Obama is a charismatic man to watch and listen to, and he is like listening to endless replays of fancy political poetry, waxing eloquent with electrifying rhetoric rendered with just the right pitch calibrated to serenade a stressed out nation. The guy is a talk machine and stress reliever – he is a soothing therapist audaciously dealing fleeting hope, as it seems, to a gullible audience.

One thing I give to him is that he has carefully studied and mastered the US socio-entertainment politics of glitz and bait; he has upped the notch levels above Jesse Ventura – a former pro-wrestler and hype-master turned Minnesota Governor, who was four full years of lousy leadership that Americans have quickly forgotten. If Obama pulls through to win the Dem Parties nomination, and survives the unforgiving Republican attack machine… then I’ll give him credit for a star studded performance fit for a Hollywood movie role. And, I will clock the timer to see how long he will last in the Box Office.

It appears most Americans don’t like to think, although thinking is very much legal: Should Obama be elected President, what happens after the last guest departs from the January 2009 Inaugural Ball, leaving Obama alone in the Oval Office with the stark reality of simultaneously occurring flashpoints across the world: Vladimir Putin stoking war between Serbia and Kosovo, or menacing the old former Soviet Union; Hezbollah carrying out threat of “radiation therapy” against Israel? Neither the “the audacity of hope” rhetoric, nor a knee-jerk reaction arising from inexperience, nor an emotional “Obama in his own words” with dangerous leaders will cut it.

The serious minded world is afraid that Obama’s leadership capacities can easily wither on the vine when faced with a tempestuous Middle East flagged with some fringe leaders running berserk with nuke materials alongside self-destroying fanatics; or, with HIV/AIDS rampaging Africa and Asia; or, with the force of globalization threatening to smother the weak while piling debts against struggling African economies that Obama hates to forgive; or, with Niger Delta militants driving up oil prices that closed yesterday at $100.50 and creating a regional security nightmare in a major global economic hotbed; or with the US economy fixing to plunge into a debilitating recession.

This Obama wildfire now engulfing the US had better burn out quickly, like yesterday, for us to see who and what is left standing. Presidential politics can hype up all it wants, but foreign policy and the US or world economies do not. If they do, it leads to war with an upper case “W” – whether among nations, within the homeland, or as trickled down warfare in some households. What has Obama prepared for the world in those areas? Can someone cut through the hype to tell us, please?

And, I am asking as a citizen of the world that has the US at center stage of security, economy and foreign policies. Look, this man had better speed up to catch up with experience… talk experience and talk intelligently about issues as it appears opponents are afraid of unmasking the real Obama and intercepting his hype train.

Sen. Obama | Gov. Akpabio: Common Guts

There is one thing I admire about Obama – guts. That is the strongest asset of the Obama campaign. How can a candidate so green and with so little tucked under his belt survive this long in a very sophisticated and brutal field of US Presidential campaign politics? It has to be a leap of guts!

Gov. Akpabio has some too! When all odds were against Chief Godswill Akpabio shortly before the PDP guber primaries last year, the underdog ex-Commissioner for Local Government demonstrated rare guts against the then head honcho; he charged and rammed against stonewalls and political strongholds to emerge victorious. Guts!

Before long, a groundswell of AKS youths rallied to give him the needed push and help. The overtly declared message was “change”. Just like the Obama Movement, Akpabio rode the waves of overwhelming popular support. But, there was an added advantage – the message of “change” by Obong Akpabio was buoyed by his thorough and frank understanding of real issues affecting the people of the state.

His agenda for change was explained to become well understood and accepted. Plus, his methods for going about the change remains above averagely sound. But, the Governor, perhaps through sub par advice, has occasionally stepped upon visible mines that could have been easily avoided, thus taking for granted the overwhelming popular support given him upon a golden platter.

Gov. Akpabio can learn a few things from the various US Presidential Campaign Organizations as he prepares for a long haul in AKS and national politics. For example, he can learn how to put in place a contemporary and effective organizational structure able to package and professionally implement strategies; he can learn how to fine tune leadership and charismatic potentials in such ways that appeal to the various interest groups and cross-sections of the country; and he can also learn how to work the political hype machine to the max – just like Obama; etc, etc. But, never should he lose grip of real socio-economic issues that doubly endears him, or any leader, to the people.

Gov. Akpabio has a long way to go toward designing and maintaining a model political machine. If serious at all, his strategists and political advisers should be understudying the ongoing US Presidential politics to identify and adopt only the best strategies from each of the campaign organizations. That way, adopted organizational and political strategies can be adapted into to a homegrown improved and unique model that is best suited for future applications.

Starting with upcoming local government elections in the state, Gov. Akpabio can launch a re-definition process for politics Nigeriana. As the State PDP leader wielding great political muscle, having an equally youthful and progressive Party Chairman – Engr. Ita Toyo – to boot,  this is the best chance yet in the AKS for driving a pilot political reform process designed to blend popular or consensus support for candidates with strong ideological orientations and issues driven politics devoid of violence and culture of mediocrity. What Gov. Akpabio can pull through at the AKS level, he can do at the national level.

Given his charisma, intellectual and leadership capacities combo that can dwarf many, even when compared to the issues oriented Prof. Pat Utomi, Governor Akpabio has a developing national leadership profile to watch and support. His is well suited for greater heights and should be encouraged. His potentials can be further harnessed, professionally developed, and packaged for Nigeria politics in such a way that can match and substantially best the ongoing Obama hype. 

AKS people will be greatly disappointed if such potentials and chances for an excellent leadership are squandered or left underdeveloped because of the brute force of prevailing Nigeria politics.