The recent Nigerian presidential election has once again highlighted the importance of not underestimating your opponent, a concept that is supported by one of the laws in the book, The 48 Laws of Power. During the campaign, the former chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomole, dismissed the supporters of the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi, as insignificant. He went as far as describing them as “eight persons in a room creating social media noise.”
However, as the election unfolded on February 25th, it became clear that Oshiomole had underestimated the impact that Obi’s supporters could have. Despite not winning the election, the Labour Party performed better than expected, with Obi winning over lots of the votes cast.
This is not the first time that underestimating an opponent has proven to be detrimental in Nigerian politics. In 2015, many believed that then-incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan was a shoo-in for re-election. However, Muhammadu Buhari, the candidate of the opposition All Progressives Congress, proved to be a formidable opponent and won the election.
The same was true in the 2019 governorship election in Lagos State. The incumbent governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, was widely expected to win re-election, but he was defeated in the party primary by Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who was considered an underdog at the time. Sanwo-Olu went on to win the general election and became the governor of Lagos State.
The lesson here is clear: underestimating an opponent can have severe consequences in any field, not just politics. The 48 Laws of Power backs up this notion with Law 29, which advises that it is a mistake to assume that your opponent is weak or incapable of challenging you. In fact, assuming that your opponent is weaker than you can lead to complacency and ultimately, defeat.
Now with so many issues coming up as a result of the recent election, it’s worth asking whether Oshiomole should continue underestimating Peter Obi and his supporters. It’s essential to take your competition seriously and give them the respect they deserve, even if you believe you have the upper hand. Only then can you plan all the way to the end and make informed decisions that will help you achieve success in whatever endeavor you are undertaking.
In Nigerian politics, after massive irregularities in an election, it’s not uncommon for all parties involved to take the matter to court. However, this does not always solve the problem or address the underlying issues. The key takeaway here is that underestimating your opponent can lead to disastrous consequences, regardless of whether or not there are irregularities in the election.
It’s crucial to recognize that in any competitive field, the competition is fierce, and you must always be on guard. Don’t assume that you are better than your opponent or that they are incapable of winning. Doing so can lead to complacency, and ultimately, defeat. Instead, focus on your strengths, shore up your weaknesses, and always give your competition the respect they deserve.
In conclusion, underestimating your opponent is a mistake that can have severe consequences in any field, not just politics. As the saying goes, “never underestimate your opponent.” This is a lesson that Adams Oshiomole and anyone else involved in Nigerian politics would do well to remember.