While the echoes of the past semester still float about sonically in our minds, due to such depressing (or otherwise uplifting) realities as the arrival of the famed Book of Life, it is necessary to bask in the glory of what this new half of the session has to offer us. Apart from the numerous dinners and recklessly fun extra-curricular activities available to engage in this semester, a phenomenon at the crux of campus life is the infamous electoral period.
People often wonder if there is a secret omnipotent formula for winning elections on campus. As expected, most people have assumed that it is impossible to crack the code for sure; that winning is never guaranteed. However, I would like to assert the lack of truism in that preposterous assumption. Of course, there are ways to win elections on campus and never have to fear losing.
DEFACE THE WALLS
Yes. That is a requirement. Apparently, breaking the law helps you become an enforcer of the law. So many of the candidates that contested in the union’s elections last session were guilty of this and most of those that eventually won did this. Forget about the moral wrongness of this action and just plaster overtly-edited posters with cornily-phrased quotes all over the walls. You might go to SDC for this or be disqualified (if the Electoral Commission is effective, which is not common) but who cares? At least you would win, right?
LOSE YOUR DIGNITY
You must delete that ugly word “dignity” from your dictionary. You must be ready to shred your personal pride and do whatever it takes to win. In fact, you must be ready to tie the shoelaces of voters if you want to win. They must see you as humble; the kind of person that they can boss around. You can wash their clothes. Most voters are so shallow like that, yours faithfully inclusive. If you can buy me Jay for one night, you have my vote. No kidding. Do you really think the current SU President did not do some supposedly demeaning things in order to win? Please, do not be naïve.
Okay, hold up. Now, I do not mean juju, though that is not a completely terrible idea. You need to be charming and warm. Talk to strangers like they are your best friends. Make them wonder if an amnesiac attack had made them forget how close you had been to them. Let them feel like you have got their back, even though we both know all you want is their votes. Be sweet and complimentary. Smile. Smile a lot. Hire a smiling coach if necessary. If you are contesting for a non-hall related position for instance, be sure to charm the opposite sex in every way possible. Groom yourself properly. Pretend to be more than you are. Fake it till you make it.
BE FINE (OR DO PLASTIC SURGERY)
You must be very handsome or beautiful before you can win that election. On campus, every election is a beauty pageant. I know you are wondering why I have not contested yet but we both know it would be unfair to the other candidates. I mean, look at my picture below. Anyway, back to the matter at hand, you have to look very good. In order to enhance your looks, you should apply powder and use lip gloss in your poster like a certain Students’ Union president did during his campaign. If you are not easy on the eyes, people will be repelled. If all else fails, rob a bank and do plastic surgery. You might get shot or arrested. The surgery might leave you looking like a cross between Shrek and Gollum, but you’d at least know you gave it a shot. And that is all that truly matters, right? Right?
JOIN BAD GANG
Maybe that sub-title was an exaggeration. By bad gang, I mean that clandestine cult-like institution called godfatherism. You need to prostrate before egotistical, pretentious and delusional fellow students who feel they have the minds of the electorate in their hands. They are not gods, neither are they fathers. But you have to play along with the sickening charade on campus and act like you really need to stroke the ego of a handful of stooges calling themselves godfathers. Lick their boots and you will win the election. Ask anyone who has ever won an election…really, anyone!
FABRICATE PAST ACHIEVEMENTS
Everyone loves an over-achiever. Start writing about how you were deputy assistant to the vice class captain in primary 1 B. Write about how you were the head-boy in your school, even though you were not even considered for toilet prefect. Write about how you were a very active member of the Intra-Campus Transport Committee despite never going for a single meeting. Write about how you have the aluta spirit burning in you even though any time there is a protest, you hide under your bunk and pray to your grandmother’s spirit to save you.
LIE! LIE!! AND LIE!!!
This is the crème de la crème. The most important of your diabolical steps to the over-glorified seat of power. You must lie about everything. Albeit not having any plans, you must promise the heavens. You must swear that gold will rise from the womb of oceans, that barks of trees shall birth naira notes that a shower of seven-points will rain down on the students. You know what they say about all politicians lying? Well, it is true. You must promise to deliver a great Students’ Union Week, only to flop and compensate with the debatably-motived KunleAdepeju statue. You must promise to provide a proper souvenir, only to complain about insufficient funds but waste a fortune on hundreds of flyers explaining your “achievement” at the end of your tenure. You must promise a great hall administration, only to rob your hall of its account and manage to clinch a FOPA nomination for Outstanding Hall Management. Merely speaking hypothetically, of course. All resemblance to real-life situations is purely factual co-incidental.
You need to be a bad student during the period of elections. You must stab classes repeatedly. Not necessarily because you are doing important things like campaigning but because it is bad for business for people to see you attending classes as much as before. It is bad for optics. It would seem as if you do not care enough about the elections. When you are missing in class, everyone assumes that you are diligently sourcing for votes. In the end, even if your CGPA drops from 6.8 to 2.5, it would all be worth it.
BE READY TO PAINT THE CAMPUS RED
So, when you eventually win, the first thing to do is throw a bash. Forget that winning an election is a responsibility, not a victorious affair. It is not a personal milestone but a huge appointment given to you. But who cares about that? You must party hard and pint Unibadan red.
So, friends, that is how to win any election ever. After all, winning elections on this campus is no longer an intellectual-cum-dignified affair, the only way to do so is by ding all of these things listed above. And to those who think I use too much reverse psychology in my articles, I have changed now. Haven’t I?