Power of Ten; Adopting an effective GROUND GAME to get the leadership we deserve – Isma’il Lawal @ismaillawal

Power of Ten; Adopting an effective GROUND GAME to get the leadership we deserve – Isma’il Lawal @ismaillawal

Much (‘actually more than much’) has been written about the problems we face as a Nation, solutions proffered but we are still at ground zero. Unemployment is at record high, infrastructure still abysmal and corruption seems to be growing out of our control. There are solutions to the problems we face as a nation but if we are desirous about solving them we need to get our politics right as a matter of urgency.

Ngozi Okonjo Iweala told a story in her book ‘Reforming the Unreformable’ of how ex-President Obasanjo moved her from the Finance ministry post to the Foreign Affairs ministry to pave way for some politicians to get import waivers running into billions of Naira in order to finance the 2007 general election. We have also read about how the recently exposed fuel subsidy regime was used to finance the election of President Good-luck. The amount of money the PDP has at its disposal during elections has given it an extra edge over weak opposition parties in previous elections and we have suffered the consequences of a PDP led FG for 12, going 15 years. I am not naïve to think money is not important during electioneering but there is something which is more important than money during electioneering, it’s called the GROUND GAME.

The Ground Game is the ability to get ordinary Nigerians to the polls in record numbers. If we put our ‘hearts and minds’ to contribute our quota, and make it a success we would send a message to the political elite (Most especially the PDP) that stolen wealth is not enough to win elections. This effort/movement should start now because it has the potential of ensuring we get leaders with the political will to solve the numerous problems we face as ONE NATION and thus lay the foundations for a prosperous Nigeria.

To achieve the aforementioned, the process should start now with you, Yes YOU. This is how it works; you need to identify TEN voters (5 registered and 5 new voters that will be eligible to vote in 2015) or whatever formula works for you. Voters Education/Interaction should begin in earnest. One-two weeks of interaction and debate about crucial national issues should be followed by asking your first 10 friends/voters to identify 10 voters each bringing your team to 111. The next step is to start a 2hr Saturday campaign to uneducated voters within your localities, explaining critical national issues to them in the language they understand. Make them understand the dangers we face if the PDP remains in power for another four years beyond 2015. Let them know why you are doing this very early and the need for them to educate their peers on the need to get our country back. Scare tactics work during election in developed countries to get voters out but we don’t have to use scare tactics to educate voters in Nigeria as the prospect of another PDP term at the federal level is really scary.

Keep your voter network vibrant, organize town-halls in homes, and invite leaders of repute to discuss issues of national importance. The key is to ensure you have a network you can count on to change the nature of politics in your community. A network that can knock on doors, canvass voters who are reluctant to come out and vote because they have given up on the electoral process and the country. The goal is simple, just get people out to vote, vote en-masse because all power in a civil society is derived from the will of the people. Truth be told, the policies that will turn the fortunes of our economy and thus our living standards around will continue to elude us if we don’t get our politics and leaders right. We have to be willing to change the course of Nigeria by being active participant in the political process.

I am convinced that leaders with the political will to do the right thing is what we lack; I also believe that we as Nigerians should also be willing to commit to the power of ten as it is a strong tool that can defeat money politics, ask Sheldon Adelson.

The Presidency as an institution in Nigeria should be a great dynamo, producing fresh ideas. The force of those ideas as they resonate across the nation is a pretty safe gauge of an administration’s intention and vitality. Nothing has changed with 8 yrs of Obasanjo’s administration and the ongoing 8 years of Yar’adua and Jonathan combined. Without being too pessimistic, it doesn’t look like anything will except we demand/force change with our votes.

There is no one magic bullet that can turn the tide of Nigeria’s present economic woes, but we can collectively ensure we get ready to unleash our votes for a bold and sincere political leadership that will invest in; Human Capital – Education and Health; Infrastructures – Roads, Railroads and Power; Natural Capital – ecosystems, Public institutional Capital – effective judicial system and Police Force; and Knowledge Capital – Scientific research for health, energy and agriculture.


Let us know how your power of ten voter’s network is doing, the success, challenges and ideas.


– Isma’il Lawal

Follow @poweroften1 and @ismaillawal on twitter.

About the author

Managing Editor

Managing Editor