So far, it has become obvious that Nigerians are now divided into three groups of political supporters/followers/fans.
The first group are the kind of people who would support a politician not really because he has performed or he will perform but because he is simply just their man; probably their tribesman. Other people in this group believe their man has performed, therefore their affinity with him is justified. Apart from the fact that he is of their tribe or region or shares an ideology with them, this class of supporters are just too intimate and dogmatic with whoever they choose to support to the extent that even if this their so called politician brazenly tells them that he doesn’t care about them by his deed and performance, they still wouldn’t change their loyalty. He is simply their man, they will support him! With or without lobby or any form of financial inducement, these set of people will always stand by this man they have choose to support, their man. They don’t just stop at liking who they support, they can hate and dislike whoever tries to oppose whoever they have decided to support. Some of them are in misery caused by the hardship of this this their man’s government, but it doesn’t matter, they like him and there is nothing you can do about their choice. He is simply their man. They are most times blinded by the fear of the unknown. Some people in this group simply like who they support because of personal convictions and principles they believe their man possesses. To some persons in this group, the very fact that this politician that they have chose to support is an enemy of their enemy, that is enough reason for him to get their support.Many people in this group have benefited from the man they choose to support and they believe they will get more if they continue with the support.
Politicians do not spend too much energy on this group of people since they are already perceived as loyal supporters. People in this category do not need to be lobbied that much. They are a very loyal set of supporters. Their loyalty is unflinching. They are not necessarily the biggest benefactors of this politician’s administration, yet, their support for him is unflinching.
The second group of supporters comprises of different types. The first type are political jobbers; with the right kind of cash, any politician can have their support and votes. They can switch loyalty and support at the sight of a higher pay, their loyalty is for sale. The second type in this group are the skeptics; they are open minded and always willing to change their opinion and choice based on new facts and information. Many people in this group can easily be referred to as sitting on the fence. Others in this group even end up not supporting anybody at the end after coming to discover that a no-choice is preferable to a wrong choice. Many other people who seem to be in this category are actually for the first and third group, but for the sake of trying to seem non-bias, they will remain on the fence for the main time till the eleventh hour. The people in this group are always asking, why, why, why should I support you? What have you done, what will you do?
The third group of supporters are die hard haters. If they don’t like, they don’t like you. Whether you build the finest of schools for these people, or spend the bulk of your government’s effort on this group; it’s a waste, that is if you did that with the hope of winning their hearts. They don’t like you, they don’t like you, and there is nothing you might be able to do about it.Those in this category tend to get more favour from inexperienced politicians who end up thinking concentrating on this class will do a lot good for their return. Many people in this group do not even have a reason why they don’t like you. They don’t just like you and there is nothing you will do to make them like you! People in this group might accuse you of been incompetent, clueless or whatever they can think of to justify their hatred. But the truth is that, they don’t just like you and you can’t change that. To them, you have failed and there is need for a change of government. Most people in this group are mostly right about their choice. They don’t like you because they believe you have failed, therefore your opponent is their choice! You can’t buy them over, don’t even bother trying.
Holistically, those in the first and third group are made up of the same stuff, they are like the same kind of supporters but for the sake of clarity, I have decided to separate them!
Every politician needs at least two of the three groups to succeed; be it at the national or local level, be it at the party level or general election level.
Experienced and intelligent politicians do not spend their energy trying to convince people in the third and first group these days. It’s a waste of time. They already have one of them, so the guys on the fence become the determining factor, that is, if the politics is well structured. They just focus their energy on getting the group of fence sitters into their fold, whoever succeeds in getting this group, hits the jackpot! However, it all depends on the percentage each of this group holds. If a majority of the entire needed votes/support already falls into the first group, then such a politician is lucky, he can win his election with just one group (this is rare in a country like Nigeria), but if the population is shared equally between the three groups, then he has a lot of work to do. He needs at least, two groups to succeed.
Inexperienced politicians will do all they can to appease the whole groups, and even do all humanly possible to appease the third group more, although it is the right thing to do; but in an abnormal political setting like Nigeria’s, it is a waste of time. Inexperienced politicians will spend most of their energy appeasing the third group, only to end up giving them the best of their government and yet losing their support and vote for a return.
Every politician needs at least two of the three groups to succeed.