Friday, November 30, 2018

On Michelle Obama's Becoming...


I finished Michelle Obama's Becoming earlier this morning, and I totally recommend it.

Among other things, she wrote about:

  1. Her professional journey that took her off a more traditional Law path in pursuit of work she loved.
  2. An enthralling ringside account of Barack Obama's meteoric rise to the US Presidency.
  3. A candid take on the difficulty of raising two young daughters in the public eye.

She also wrote powerfully about the challenges she faced in trying to balance career and family, and as I read those - I thought of the many choices men (traditionally) have not had to make. As an aside, I'm glad the conversation about gender roles is advancing. We must accept that humanity cannot achieve its full potential if half the population is held back by various 'norms'.

It's my most highlighted book this year. Again, I recommend it!

Sunday, November 25, 2018

2019 Elections: Why the Third Force Will Not Win, and What We Should Do After They Lose


Idea in Brief: The chances of a third-force candidate emerging President in 2019 are slim. Winning the presidency in Nigeria is expensive and the field is crowded. In the unlikely event of a third-force victory, governance would be near impossible. This does not mean we will be led by the current crop forever. We must support the brilliant new Presidential candidates and continue to engage with a view for the long term.
In 1992, Ross Perot, an independent candidate for President of the United States, won 18.9% of the popular vote. Despite winning no electoral votes, his campaign is described as one of the most successful third-force bids for presidency of the United States. No one has been elected to the US Presidency without running on the platform of one of the six major parties the US has had throughout its existence.

It is exciting that brilliant people like Oby Ezekwesili and Kingsley Moghalu are running for President and articulating a fresh vision for Nigeria. What is unexciting is the reality that the chances of a third-force victory in 2019 are infinitesimally slim. In the highly unlikely scenario of a third-force victory, it is difficult to see how they could successfully govern without representation in the National Assembly.

First, winning the Presidency in Nigeria requires machinery – lots of it. Candidates must campaign across the country, as they need to win the most votes and at least 25% of the votes in 24 of the 36 states. This requires a lot of money and resources. They must also solicit votes from the many Nigerians who don’t have Twitter and require engagement offline. This will require them to rent venues and audio equipment for campaigns, and run TV, radio, print, and billboard adverts in different languages.