Coalition Or Coopetition: How Sowore, Durotoye, Moghalu, And Co. Could Have Won The 2019 Elections -By Badejoko Adewale

Filed under: Political Issues |

Never have we in our existence as a democratic nation seen so many fresh hands vying for the office of the presidency as the 2019 elections, with many of these new leaders hoping to lead Africa’s obese giant, Nigeria out of captivity. Suffice to note is the fact that many of these hopefuls are ‘technocrats’, unfortunately; what could have been their technocratic strength is turning out to be their biggest political gaffe. There’s an adversary these young gladiators all share in common to defeat, gerontocracy it is called, and while this adversary isn’t exactly a concern of the aspirants alone, nearly every Nigerian long for days when ineffective leadership will become history; but for the strategy (or rather no strategy) these younger aspirants have chosen to employ, they have only succeeded in showing themselves as nothing but wannabes and solidifying more the stands of the aged-in-power instead.

The proposed merger of the younger aspirants under the code name ‘PACT’ while it sounds cool and almost lovable surfacially as a strategy is only cynical when looked at more closely, and no, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with men (and women) of same coalescing together to form an alliance, only that these younger aspirants other than the sheer fact that they are younger and with a common enemy do not share the same inclination, how then is a true consensus expected to be produced; and it is rather wrong to perceive some or any of them as selfish and unpatriotic for not agreeing to the compaction, for even if they do agree to coalesce, what is imminent is nothing more than a tumultuous rancor that will end in bitterness, resentment, anger, factionalization and ultimately breakage, leaving Nigerians in the same vicious cycle and with the same problems just as the outdated leaders they are trying to discard. By now one would have thought we’ve learnt from history the difference between unity and harmony- Touché.

Adewale Badejoko

How then could young men and women with equal thirst and great belief in their individual ambitions of becoming president surrender for another, more so demolish gerontocracy. With what qualification will the new leader of the coalition be picked. Intelligence? Eloquence? Manifesto maybe? Funding? Sheer doggedness? Or social media following? Not to mention that these newer candidates all represent different political parties and regions whose interest must also be served, and I dare to ask, if these prizefighters eventually do come together, who exactly conducts the grading? And boy will I be kayoed if such a room of experts is only reduced to a ‘if you’re in support of me say aye’ type of referendum. One thing clear as day is that none of these younger messiahs have alone the structure, influence and resources (especially financial) to earn victory necessitating still the need for a cooperation, and with the growing emphasis on ‘ecosystem’ as the new-school way of thinking, it’s only a matter of shrewdness if these younger aspirants must at all work cooperatively yet with their individual motivations to achieve their common goal, the only ground tenable for such relationship is a coopetition strategy rather than a coalition.

Giovanni Dagnino, an Italian business and management expert once conceptualized competition as an “incomplete interest congruence” between two or more parties, but coopetition in lay terms is rather a portmanteau word encompassing the two traditionally countervailing forces of ‘cooperation’ and ‘competition’, and the New York fashion show is a classic and successful example of this. At the NYFS, different fashion brands collaboratively compete on the same runway to win the attention of the market with equal opportunity and a level playing field for all the brands to showcase their latest creations yet leaving the purchasing decision to the people whom through their trusted representatives (Fashion bloggers, Retail chain merchandisers, boutique owners, stylists & wardrobe consultants, celebrities, social media influencers) make the ultimate buying decisions. Individually and rather a matter of fact, neither Fela Durotoye, nor Kingsley Moghalu nor Omoyele Sowore and the many others of their kind can win the Presidential seat alone, and in a country of 180 million people largely suffering from frustrated expectations, it will require more than an “I have a dream” speech to win the vote and confidence of the electorates.

However since this newer breed of leaders share a basic and common task, first to overthrow the aged-in-power recycled from times immemorial, a task mainly on which their individual chances at presidency and leadership rest and can truly trump with greater effects; it is therefore sensible that they first cooperatively build a single and credible platform that will capture (with physical proof) every Nigerian class, group and sector from every part of the country in support of the new Nigeria, on which they, the aspirants, can now showcase competitively their individual ideas for the new Nigeria, only this time the people through their trusted and selected representatives will be the umpire, unanimously selecting whose idea of the new Nigeria is most feasible, doable and impactful and this chosen candidate fielded for the general elections. With this, the aspirants can measure with near-precision the mass of people and resources at their disposal against the adversary. With this, their meager individual resources is collaborated to produce resounding and impactful results, yet leaving none of the coopetition participants disgruntled or shut out; with this, the power and confidence not just to choose a leader but to build their nation is placed back in the hands of the people; with this display of forthrightness to take back the reins of their future by the younger generation and her supporters, the adversary camps can truly be made to panic and or crumble; and finally with this, maybe a new Nigeria can truly begin.

Badejoko Adewale is a Mandela Washington Fellow, a business consultant with expertise in strategic innovation, marketing and business development. He can be reached at [email protected]

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