Many pieces have been written on the sure-bet ways of winning elections on campus. Some of these writings are exaggeratedly didactic; and are very impressive that one, who needs a god-like yes-nod or sign for running for a post, can be forgiven for holding on to the ‘magic’ of the prescriptions of these write-ups for success at the polls. Meanwhile, while there has been surfeit of how-to-win-election write-ups; however, the reverse has not been paid much attention to. Who wants to learn how to fail?
Nevertheless, dear one, do you want to lose when you contest any election on campus? You are good to go with some, if not all of this advice
Keep your ambition to yourself for long. It sounds very awkwardly strange. Yes. How can a serious politician keep his ambition to his own heart alone? But, remember you set out to lose. You have every thinkable chance of losing if you fail to recreate and reduplicate your ambitions in the hearts of your trusted allies first; and then, having had your allies on your ambitious sides, you start courting the hearts of others through every means possible. Do not let your friends and other people know so soon that you are interested in your coveted post. And the die is cast. You lose. Plain. Simple.
Do not care about your reputation. Why should you in the first place? Give no damn about what people think about you. You own them no dime for their thoughts. You are cocky, they say? Well cocks need to prance to keep being cocks. Really, losing election does not mean an end of the world. It may only sound pathetic to those who see winning as the only option in life. There are more gains to losing sometimes. You keep your reputation. Or you want to change because you want to be in people’s good books? You do not have to be since you care to lose.
As much as you can, keep away from courtesy. Self-explanatory, I guess. Be known as that person who never greets, nor ever returns greetings. Is it not sickening when heaven-knows stranger just accosts you on your way to class in order to exchange pleasantries or greet you? It is, you see. So, you should avoid being what you preach against. Greet only when it is necessary and required. Leave everybody’s kind of greetings to those who care so much on winning.
You alone are your team. How student politicians care so much for numbers in their ranks! Then you start hearing, team-this, team-that. You definitely do not need that wahala to lose. A one-man team will do. Know what you want to run for. Get your form when it is time. Then, rest assured, you are good to go.
Please, be plainspoken. This is very important. Politicians are known for being deliberately evasive and ambiguous. This is because they like to cloud their meanings in such a way that 100 people can get 100 different meanings from what they say. They could use meanings that suit different people at different times. This is bad, fellow. Speak directly. Promise if you can; do not promise if you cannot. Why should you promise twenty things because your rival promised fifteen when you know you can only promise one! You do not have to join the bandwagon since you care to lose.
Never compromise, especially on your principles. Politics is a strange field where strange things happen. It is a field where people who are known for some admirable principles soon lose such lofty ideals in the name of political compromise. How bad! Fellow, you do not have to be. There is no two ways about. Some deluded folks would insist they can still keep their hands clean while playing politics; well, keep shielding your rumps from the wind because it will sooner be exposed! Anyways, since it is all about losing, be hard on your strong principles.
Never join those ones who lie on posters, please. It is said a lot of the folks on campus vote based not on the ideas politicians present to them, but on some flimsy things like appearance, etc. Too bad, these folks will soon leave the campus to continue the flimsiness-based politicking. Most times, it is hardly easy to match the faces of politicians whom you have seen with the pictures on their posters. Still, people vote for the politicians with the best pictures. SAD. But, fellow, do not join them. Lose in a good way for one. Note that many people will still lose out in the over-edited poster crazed race.
Those recipes for failure at the poll will go along a way to sealing your fate in the election you are participating in. However, there are still many other recipes which may be visited in subsequent pieces. Till then, keep winning. No, losing.
Tobi Idowu studies English at University of Ibadan