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Five books to keep you in perspective as we prepare to go to the polls

Again Nigeria prepares for her general elections kicking off this week with the Presidential and National Assembly elections. All eyes are focused on Africa’s largest…

Again Nigeria prepares for her general elections kicking off this week with the Presidential and National Assembly elections. All eyes are focused on Africa’s largest and most populous nation. For someone who has kept a close eye on recent elections in Mali, Ghana, Sierra Leone and Ghana as a West African Media consultant facilitating on Media and peacebuilding and meeting with stakeholders including the Media and politicians, I am very much interested in my own country’s election.

As a board member of the respected Professor Gambari led Savannah center travelling across the nation to preach violence free election, I am privileged to be hearing what Nigerians and their leaders are saying what they are concerned about, now and post the elections. I therefore believe that we must go to the polls with our eyes wide open, temperate language, a true heart and the fervor of service. That, my compatriots are what we need and deserve at the very least. Good governance and accountability are key factors as we enter the polling booths and followers must exercise restraint in and around the polls and at gatherings. Leaders must rise up to the occasion and learn what we teach 7-14 year olds at our 11-year-old summer writing boot camp,

The Treasured Writers. A true leader wins graciously and loses gallantly. Nothing is worth destroying our nation for. Time to put Nigeria on the map in a positive way that reflects our humanity and define our collective nationhood. Let’s do it right. In the meantime, here are books to keep you in a good and entertained state of mind but allows you to focus on the serious issues of such an election. Because Nigerians are not writing enough, we would have a sprinkling of Nigerian authors and the benefit of American experience. This is also a clarion call to our leaders of thought, politicians and top flight technocrats and captains of industry to write about their journeys. Here are the selected books. Enjoy!

1) How to win an Election by Quintus Cicero. I am completely intrigued by this historical piece which having been written in 64 BC still resonates over 3,00 year later. This is a letter written by the great Greek philosopher Cicero to his elder brother who was running for consul. This letter was his piece of advice and it could have been written today by a political adviser who has a skin in the game anywhere in the world. Some of the advice includes the art of making a sale, how to attack your opponent by accusing him of sexual misconduct and financial impropriety, and how to play the common man to the ground while secretly assuring the elite that you are with them. Sounds familiar? Yeah right! The book has been reprinted and revised many times with Prefaces by some landmark politicians across the world. If you cannot get hold of the copy right away, amuse yourself by going to google and read excerpts. It could have been Nigeria in the last couple of weeks or Trump’s America. Lol

2) Love does not win elections by Ayesha Osori. This book published by an aspiring politician and gender activist who attempted to get the primaries of her party shows how politics is tied to many amazing bottlenecks and is expatiated across party hierarchies and beyond your locality. A good book, if you are looking at understanding the underbelly of Nigerian politics.

3) The outrageous barriers to democracy in America by John Macarthur. The author who is an investigative reporter and publisher of Harpers magazine writes a delicious book on the back story of American politics which shapes American democracy. He opines that while everyone from Obama to Rubio tells how it is through American democracy that they all actualized their dreams, no one tells you the backstory of the forces shaping this dream that is claimed. No one talks about the pressure of party politics, influence of large donors and the influence of the Mass Media. Quite like Ayesha Osori’s book, but with an American context.

4) The Prince by Nicholo Machiaveli. A book that has been out there on maintenance of political power for so long since it was written in 1532. Brutal but remains the greatest most cynical manual for keeping political power and how a leader is better feared than loved. And how leaders rule with iron fist inside a velvet glove.

5) Any book on politics by the Chairman, This Day Editorial board, columnist and brother, Olusegun Adeniyi. Having worked closely in the corridors of power during the President Yar’adua’s presidency, Segun is well placed to talk about the intrigues in the inner room and with his last but one book, Against the run of play, on how the 2015 election was won and lost, Segun’s books are a wonderful collection to keep by your bedside at this time.


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