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Richard Azuakola: How the Game of Thrones explains the political tide in Nigeria (1)


Richard Azuakola: How the Game of Thrones explains the political tide in Nigeria (1)

by Richard Azuakola

For those uninitiated, the Game of Thrones is a fantasy TV show about 7 royal kingdoms fighting for the Iron Chair – the right to rule all 7 kingdoms. Nigeria is in a similar situation right now as lots of politicians are fighting for relevance in the political arena. So in this 4 piece series, I will explain how the  Nigerian political arena could be likened to the 7 kingdoms and what to expect.

(Caveat: Spoilers ahead for those who still intend to watch the series.)

It only gets easier to understand when you know that Goodluck Ebele Jonathan is like Tywin Lannister.

Some Game of Thrones’ fans and fanatics might be furious and ask why GEJ would be likened to unarguably the most powerful man in all of the 7 kingdoms; the cool, calm and calculated Tywin Lannister. But my answer to them is, why not?

Tywin Lannister always chose his battles carefully. When Lord Reyne of Castamere, the second richest lord at the time, acted like Tywin’s equal, he (Tywin) destroyed the whole House of Castamere, killing all men, women and children and letting their body hang in the gates for all to see what happens to whoever dares the Lannisters. When his daughter Caeser Lannister could not prevent King Joffrey, her son, from acting  like a mad king, it was Tywin who went to Kings Landing (the seat of power) to be the hand of the king and tamed the petulant king. When Robb Stark declared himself the King of the North, it was Tywin again who masterminded his demise, using close aides of Stark to betray him by promising them wealth and power.

The Lannisters  have a motto “Family, Duty and Honour”.  Tywin Lannister does anything and everything to make sure his family is both respected and feared. When his youngest son, Tyrion Lannister, was kidnapped by Lady Stark, Tywin gave his beloved son, Jamie the go ahead to lead an army and rescue him. When Stanis Baratheon tried to take over King’s Landing, it was Tywin again that came to the rescue.

Tywin Lannister

Tywin Lannister

Why compare such a cool, calm and calculated warrior to GEJ? Well Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has fought many battles in his own way, and the last time we checked, he had lost none.

When he was the deputy  governor in Bayelsa  State and the governor was about to be impeached, GEJ kept his composure, he didn’t lobby for any position, he stayed calm believing that what will be will be. In 2011 elections when the then president handpicked Yaradua and governors like James Ibori and Peter Odili were plotting and planning how to get the VP slot, GEJ again kept his composure. Just like Tywin he knew there were different ways of fighting a war and lobbying openly was not the way to win that particular one. Again he maintained his composure and got the VP slot.

When the late Pres. Umaru Yaradua was sick and the PDP chairman, and most northerners did not want him as acting president. GEJ was silent – however, this time he did something. Behind the scene he met with legislators and explained to them that posterity won’t forgive them if they didn’t do the right thing and save the country from a crisis by making him the acting president.This war lingered for a while, but when all was said and done GEJ won this battle again and was declared acting president. It was long before he was declared president.

When the 2007 elections drew close, most prominent Northern politicians reminded him of the zoning agreement and told him not to contest. Even the best dribbler in the game of succession – IBB – was against him this time, but Jonathan fought his way out. No sooner had the PDP chairman declared that Jonathan would not contest the election because the PDP zoned it to the North than his corruption case file appeared. It didn’t take long for that PDP chairman – Vincent Ogbulafor – to quit. He knew he needed the support of the governors, so GEJ brokered a deal with them that those in the PDP seeking re-election would be re-elected if they back him. In addition he promised to seek just one term in office; a promise he is set to break now without remorse. Again GEJ won this battle but this time, he wasn’t silent he played dirty.

When the governor of Rivers State had a disagreement with his wife, Goodluck Jonathan, showed us a side that most Nigerians, apart from Bayelsans, had ever seen. Just like Tywin Lannister, no one messes with his family and gets away with it. He unleashed ammunition we had no idea he had in his armoury. Despite the denials and the alibis (like he’s away in China in this ongoing round of crisis), it is clear that he has gone all out against his Gov. Amaechi, fighting him in every thing he does. Even his godfather OBJ wasn’t excluded from his wrath. When OBJ declared himself the King maker and  wanted too much glory for the role he played in his election, he reminded OBJ that there can only be one king at a time and the mighty OBJ (3 time ruler in Nigeria) now lives in his Ota farm quietly – almost.

I heard there is one more battle he wants to fight – the battle for the 2015 PDP ticket. If there is anything I have learnt, it is that I should never bet against Tywin Jonathan.

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