By Abdul-Azeez Suleiman
In theory and in practice, political capital refers to the trust, goodwill, and influence a politician has with the public and other political figures. This goodwill is a type of invisible currency that politicians can use to mobilize the voting public.
In this context, one valuable asset that no serious political setting can afford to lose is reputational capital which refers to a politician’s credibility and reliability accumulated by maintaining consistent policy positions and ideological views.
Political capital can therefore be said to be the product of relationships between a politician’s public impressions and his personal political judgement.
Over time, effective politicians gain political capital by winning the hearts of the electorate through pursuing viewpoints that have public support, achieving success with constituency initiatives, and performing favours for the people and other politicians.
However, political capital must be spent wisely by those that have it in order for it to be useful, because it generally gets squandered with time, or if inappropriately managed.
More seriously, political capital can be wasted, typically by failed attempts to promote unpopular political allies or cronies that are not central to a politician’s agenda.
That’s why leadership qualities should include things like being a diplomatic person… characteristics like integrity and likability that help a person both campaign and lead a body of people.
In the build up to the 2015 general elections, the All Progressives Congress in Kaduna state was lucky to have had a stockpile of critical political players that played key roles in its subsequent success.
It had an abundance of committed personalities with character traits that make for good politicians such as integrity and optimism.
The APC went into that election with a huge stock of intelligent, loyal, and likable persons like Lawal Adamu Usman whose tremendous goodwill helped it to win elections on the state and national levels three years ago.
With tact and charisma in addition to specific traits that are critical when communicating with constituents, Lawal and others in his category constituted the bulk of the political capital that ensured victory for the APC in Kaduna state and beyond.
But along with that victory which saw the emergence of Nasir el-Rufai as governor of the state, also came those who ride on the “coattails”, without having contributed any value to the process.
The victory also came with hordes of undetermined politicians who belong in the category of negative characteristics for politics.
It came with people who do things based on whimsical obsessions rather than based on their own morality and sense of independence.
It came with a class of people affiliated with a brand of power play that is reputedly condescending, exclusive, and ultra-liberal that prevent them from ingratiating with the masses or establishing legitimacy in the eyes of voters.
These bankrupt power lickers that have infiltrated the APC ranks and are getting it to squander its initial capital have a rather inflated image of themselves, believing they deserve power over the more significant players who typically go to extraordinary lengths to avoid rocking the boat with their actions.
Ironically, the APC is about to lay to waste the immense political capital invested in it by the likes of Lawal in preference for a couple of attention-seeking, grandios non-investors who are better known for their tendency to scapegoat when things go wrong.
The once beloved party is ironically tending to stake its 2019 chances on these narcissists who are extremely convincing liars, and the ultimate users – demanding loyalty from others they seldom give in return.
The party is allowing its fortunes to be overrun by persons who are master manipulators that exploit the people’s personality weaknesses for personal and political gains.
These authoritarian personalities are sadly striping the APC of its political capital by being outwardly sycophantic toward the state governor in the delusion that might makes right. In so doing, they project their own flaws and insecurities onto the entire government structure.
Typically totalitarian, these people that are today fast sealing the fate of the APC in the state, tend to demand absolute obedience by bask in their own assumed infallibility which makes them wield power through a combination of awe, terror, and the gullibility of their uninformed supporters.
The negative consequences of their design have began to manifest and could attract serious backlash next year when the people shall rise to speak.
Suleiman, a Journalist writes from Abuja