Nigerian Politics: Real Life Game of Thrones

Today I intend to take a brief detour from the usual, kind of very serious tones of the articles and just do something different. Why? Well, because Game of Thrones!

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*roll opening sequence*

So Game of thrones has returned for its seventh season and so far (it’s at episode three now) I’d say it has not disappointed. I still hold that there is something off or perhaps hidden in episode three that ive not been able to place a finger on but from the end of Episode One and Khaleesi arriving at Dragonstone – her birthplace and seat of power of her fathers – with her entourage and telling Tyrion “shall we begin” to her losing both the Greyjoys and the Martells on the way to Kingslanding after they got ambushed by Aeron Greyjoy’s armadas in episode two and the much awaited but kind of anticlimactic meeting of Daenerys Stormborn– First of her name; Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea; rightful heir to the Iron Throne; Queen of the Seven Kingdoms; Queen of the Andals and the First-men; Protector of the Realms; Mother of Dragons; the Unburnt; Breaker of Chains, *clears throat* pardon me, and Jon Snow – King of the North – in episode three.

While the tenacious but pathologically paranoid and power drunk Cersei, sits on the Iron throne turning almost all of her allies into bitter enemies, murdering some the way she watched her children get murdered and imprisoning the rest or just planning to murder and/or imprison them anyway while doing all she can to make sure she still remains on the throne. And not to leave out our satellite of characters: Jamie, Tyrion, the Stark kids – especially the girl that has no name, Melisandre, The Eunuch, Mr. Little-finger, Sir Davos, Greyworm (who I think is dead) and so on. The shifts in loyalties, the fear of the impending long night and the invasion of the white-walkers, the strategy in play and how alliances are forged and destroyed – jeez. If you’ve never taken a class in political science, begin at season 6 of GOT but this time take notes. I mean, write on a notepad what you see the characters doing as they go about trying to survive.

Game of Thrones is one of the hottest shows out today and their ability to sustain that air of mystery around it while keeping the story so complex, compact and immersive has been without doubt part of the reasons for the show’s success. That trademark “winter is coming” slogan that has been chanted since the first season is a personal favourite of mine because the gravity that has been attached to it as well as in the context of the satire, reflects that issue of global warming like we are dealing with today.

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when the white-walkers come, it won’t matter whose bones sit on the Iron Throne” – Sir Davos.

This is one very popular contemporary example of art imitating life as the above sentiment is what we tell to corporations and governments who think that climate action is an issue for another day and that their short-term profit margins are more important than the long-term sustenance of life on the planet.

What got me thinking however, was still very much GOT-centric, but in this case having a Nigerian political theme. Yes. How would feel if I told you that at this point, Nasir El Rufai is more or less Jon Snow? It does make some sense. He’s king in the North where even though he has his inability to protect his people from things like hunger, poverty and herdsmen – the white-walkers, he still boasts a fanatic followership who wouldn’t mind having him as king of the seven kingdoms while the people in the south see him more or less as a possibly unqualified and undeserving figure whose proximity to power spells more of doom for the Realm than it means well. Seven kingdoms, it’s the sweetest ironies here when you think of it that Nigeria is divided into 7 geopolitical zones. Are you buying it yet? By virtue of his incumbency, I’d say Buhari was Cersei with his armed brigands ready to do his bidding and I mean any kind of bidding, more or less like Sir Gregor – The Mountain *cough* DSS *cough*. We know someone like Atiku who is switching sides so often – first in the PDP, then to AC, then back again to PDP and now again to APC and looking very likely that he is in fact going to defect to the PDP once more as the party begins its search for a personality that would be fitting to carry the tricoloured Umbrella cum 2019 – Atiku is Petyr Baelish – Little Finger who will ally with anyone as long as it gets his bottom that much closer to the Iron Throne – he will even dab. Ag.P Osinbajo would no doubt be Jamie Lannister who currently finds himself on the wrong side of the war but determined to do things right, pledges his unwavering allegiance to his queen and sister, fighting her wars and bringing victory where the queen is otherwise indisposed, while he strives to be the voice of common sense and reason in a world of madness. Now is it entirely possible to think that Jamie might one day leave Kingslanding for good the same way Jorah Mormont did and possibly end up marrying Khaleesi and legitimately being a Lannister king beside our dear old Daenerys? My answer to that is that is that this man has killed a king because he, after being given a direct order from the king himself, thought it to be crazy and that prompted a “sword through the heart of the king earning him the title ‘Kingslayer’…” response, if that doesn’t exemplify Osinbajo seeming apathy towards party politics, well take another. Does the severed right hand of Jamie Lannister in any way bear a similarity to Osinbajo’s plight in battling an institutionalised cabal that has left him not exactly helpless but at best limited in his ability to take control of affairs?

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Funny thing about Cersei and Daenerys is that they’re more or less different sides of the same coin. They both want the same things – to keep the seven kingdoms together and to be in power. Daenerys claim to throne is that it originally belonged to her father Aerys Targaryen II, the mad king who Jamie killed for Robert Baratheon to be king. However, Robert married Cersei (Jamie’s sister) and had children who would succeed their father in the event of his passing, you remember Geoffrey and Tommen who may or may not have actually been Robert’s… see let’s go back. Geoffrey and Tommen died with the crown on their heads and so eventually the crown passed from the children to the mother, Cersei. Some would argue that Cersei actually killed Tommen. If anything else, the amount of blood that has been spilled on both sides would suggest that Cersei has as much claim to the throne as Daenerys does. What Cersei doesn’t have is a strong enough army and three dragons, those belong to Daenerys. If the fight eventually comes to it, before Daenerys loses all her allies but Jon Snow, the Iron Throne is within her grasps. In the sense of Nigeria anyway, the difference between Cersei and Daenerys would be the people that hang around them. While Buhari Cersei has people like the devious Maester Qyburn and Sir Gregor – which would be people like the DSS, Lie Mohammed and Femi Adeshina; Buhari Daenerys has others like Tyrion (again AgP. Osinbajo) and the Eunuch (quite possibly Saraki) with the possibility of a Buhari backed el Rufai for president cum 2019 and a parallel between the calls for restructuring and Daenerys’ willingness to let her allies be more independent.

 

While the spectrum of characters is way too broad and too copious for me to possibly touch all, let me conclude by saying the Stark Kids, from Arya: the aggrieved girl who has no name and no face, to Brandon: the three eyed raven who sees all of space and time, is perceptive about the past and careful about the future so past mistakes are not repeated; to Sansa who life has forced to grow up fast that she may fill the void of power’s responsibilities; then Theon Greyjoy who grew up with the Starks but lost his way in pursuit of power, became irresponsible, turning around to bite the hands that fed him, became emasculated – literally and figuratively, losing the moral standing and the courage to speak or fight for himself or anyone else. And last but not least, Jon – el Rufai, sadly. These characters bear a marked similarity to Nigerian “Youths” as we see today. Stronger, more educated, more exposed than at any other time in the country’s history but also more divided, more self-serving, more suspicious of each other of which the latter few being more strongly expressed has only worked to keep them down.

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Fix your characters in as you like and are familiar with their Nigerian Political parallels but you guys, we weren’t only watching Game of Thrones; we have been living in it all along!

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