Fela Durotoye and the the Obama Card at- The Platform

It was the 12th edition of- The Platform yesterday in Lagos, and as usual, there were brilliant presentations. By great people. I often think the problem has never been lack of great speeches, no, it has been lack of so much more. We over emphasize the problem with leadership, but we downplay the problem with followership. We have a twin problem, it is alright to face both once and for all- oh yeah Peer Obi was at the last edition I think, he failed to give us details of his earnings as Governor, failed to describe security votes that governors get using hard facts- but what did we do, we hailed him- that was not a leadership problem, that was us, we do not even know who or when to hail, but that is not the point I want to make here,, let me move on.

I remain a great fan of Kingsley Moghalu, his presentation was top notch, I did not watch his entire session but the part I watched was good, then Fela durotoye, I watched his session.. Fela is a speaker and give it to him, he structures his presentation, he picks how he starts, what to start with, when to up the tempo, when to bring in his audience- he is a great speaker. His presentation at the platform was somewhat different yesterday- as I watched him, I saw someone replicating an Obama’s style of presentation during an election. And considering how much of my life I have devoted to Obama’s speeches, I can pick his style anywhere.

Fela would pick on an individual whose story resonates with millions of other young Nigerians, then he gives the subject a name- so when you hear the story and the name, you feel he is talking about you. the other punch is, so you do not think the problem of the country does not affect him, he then picks a family member, describes how he is related to that person, in this case he picked an uncle- a pensioner, he picked his subject correctly, he picked an uncle who shares similar story with millions of other Nigerians- what he did yesterday was to create a bond with the voting population- more like are in this together, let us solve it together- I love Fela. He puts in a lot of hardwork into his craft, even as much as he is old in the game-

As he spoke, I kept wondering if same style that delivered America to Obama would do same for Fela Durotoye, but in all fairness, I honestly do not think so, it is not just about great speeches. Barack Obama understood this better than anyone. When he was going to contest, Obama did not contest under the Vermont Progressive Party, the Green Party, not the Libertarian Party which are all political parties in the USA, he contested under the Democratic Party, one of the two major parties in the United States with a national reach- you cannot over emphasize the place of structure in winning a Presidential election, it is a must!

I also think Oratory prowess does not do much in winning presidential elections in Nigeria where English is a second language, this is not America. , there is a problem if you are only fluent in English and not also in the native languages, the bulk of people who will vote for you don’t speak good English, I honestly do not know how eloquent Fela is with the country’s native languages, but he needs to hit the streets, get an Obesere of Pasuma to open the floor for him especially if he wants to campaign at Oje or Beere markets in Ibadan- he needs to identify with them- he may wish to change people’s thinking, but he needs to win first! To understand this better- he should listen to Bola Ige’s English and Yoruba languages, whichever he used, you would listen!

A classic example is Ambode and Jimi Agbaje in 2015, Jimi won every debate they had, every speech he gave was a hit, but in Isale Eko in Lagos where I participated in the voting exercise, no one there cared about anybody’s English- all I kept hearing was “Ambode ni won ni ki a di fun o…”. Apparently there was a baba in that area who decides who the people vote for- there are strongholds everywhere!.

The final point I will talk about is funding- it is expensive to win a presidential election all over the world, it is insanely expensive in Nigeria, and I do not know how Fela Durotoye, Kingsley Moghalu and others intend to bridge this gap, I can only hope gofundme like Sowore is not their plan too

I really would love to see a Fela Durotoye or Moghalu or any of the new guys who against all odds have come out to challenge the status quo as president, but the first stage is to come out, the second is to get it right. The way they are going, it just won’t happen, they need structures, they don’t have it yet. They only have the support of a fraction of the educated folks in Nigeria, even if they have the support of all the educated folks in the country, they would still lose a presidential election in Nigeria. Majority of the people who vote are in the slums, the villages and on the streets, these are the people they need to bring their support home!

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My life’s journey is that of many parts, every day I try to bring all the parts to an agreement, but I am yet to succeed at that, or maybe I shouldn’t even be trying to do it, I really don’t know yet- but while at it, I try to find how each part makes me better, and how each part can make the society better

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