By Akin Ojumu

It has become common practice in modern-day American politics to find political campaigns resort to political brinkmanship in order to gain advantage. Very often, politicians and their supporters fall back on crass shenanigans just so they can win. This is particularly true for a political campaign about to lose.

One of the weapons you find such campaigns deploy is the “Kitchen-Sink Strategy.” Very often, you find a campaign on the brink of defeat unleashing a ‘kitchen sink’ fusillade against the opponent in order to regain any leverage they can. They throw everything at the opponent until there’s nothing else but the kitchen sink.

Originally deployed by the Hillary Clinton campaign against Barack Obama in the 2008 Democratic Party presidential primaries, the “kitchen-sink” strategy was subsequently adopted by the Republican Party against Obama in subsequent elections.

This kitchen-sink strategy involved attacking Barack Obama with everything and on everything imaginable. They accused him of policy flip-flops and previous bloopers. His Church affiliation was called into question and was accused of palling around with terrorists. Pictures of Obama wearing African witch doctor costumes went viral. 

Years into his presidency, Obama’s American citizenship was questioned. In polls after polls, as many as fifty percent of Republicans believed Obama was not an American and thus not qualified to be POTUS. 

The man was harangued to produce his birth certificate to prove he was born in America and not Kenya, as some maliciously claimed. Even after producing the birth certificate showing he was born in Hawaii, the accusers still said it was fake.

Some of the most ferocious attacks against Obama was his exotic family background. His biological father was a Kenyan Muslim. Obama was born to white mother from Kansas. 

Because his middle name is Hussein, some said he was a closet Muslim and not really a Christian as he professed to be. Also, as a boy, he lived briefly with his mum in Indonesia, where they alleged he attended a madrassa.

The name Hussein was a particularly potent target for Obama’s political enemies. Whenever bigots want to call attention to his African ancestry, they call him by his full name, Barack Hussein Obama. It’s their way of calling him a nigger without actually saying the N-word. Hussein became the racial dog whistle of white supremacists.

By calling him Hussein, the goal was to delegitimize Obama’s candidacy and presidency. It was an attempt to make him unacceptable to White America. The weaponization of Barack Hussein Obama was intended to paint him as a scary not-to-be-trusted outsider.

Since they’ve tried everything else under the sun unsuccessfully, Obama’s enemies believed that calling him Barack Hussein Obama was the one thing that would turn people against him and make them not vote for him. 

In their bigoted minds, they thought the name Barack Hussein Obama would invoke Osama bin Laden and the 911 terrorist attack in white Americans’ minds.

Well, they failed woefully. The kitchen-sink strategy was a dud. Obama not only beat Hillary Clinton for the nomination, he went on to become a two-term president of the United States, prevailing over two white opponents, John McCain and Mitt Romney in 2008 and 2012 respectively.

Fast forward 2023. It's the general election season in Nigeria. The same failed kitchen-sink strategy deployed by Obama’s political enemies has now been plagiarized by the opponents of Gbadebo Chinedu Rhodes-Vivour, the Labour Party candidate in the Lagos State governorship race. 

Following the embarrassing trouncing of their thieving godfather in the presidential election, they can see defeat barreling down their way too. Consequently, Sanwo-Olu and his minions on social media have resorted to detestable tactics to delegitimize Rhodes-Vivour. 

These despicable individuals plumb the depths of the political sewer in search of anything that’ll stick on Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour. Finding nothing, they’ve resorted to playing the same race card that American white supremacists tried against Obama. 

Whenever these clowns write or talk about Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour, they make sure to call him Chinedu Rhodes-Vivour. Likewise, they are quick to remind people that his mum is Nkechi and his wife Ifeyinwa. In demonstration of their desperation, theyve gone as far as labelling Gbadebo as an IPOB sympathizer, just as Obama was accused of palling around with terrorists.

All of this silliness is to deceive Lagosians. The cynical objective is to trick Lagosians into buying into the Satanic lie that Gbadebo is a complete outsider, a carpetbagger from Igboland, who should never be allowed to become governor of Lagos State.

This cheap attempt to whip up ethnic prejudices against a proper Omo Eko, whose Lagos lineage goes back more than 200 years, beggars belief. That the Lagos pedigree of the great-grandson of Steven Bankole Rhodes, the second indigenous judge appointed in Nigeria, will be questioned by a bunch of nobodies is insane.

Thankfully, Lagosians don’t suffer fools gladly. They know BS when they see it. This last-ditch effort by desperate political actors who’ll do anything to cling to power will fail. For even believing that Lagosians will fall for this nonsense, those who push it deserve nothing but scorn. 

Just as those who wield race as a political weapon in America are rightly called narrow-minded hate mongers, so shall their fellow travelers on the road of calumny in Nigeria be known. These crabs in the bucket are small-minded ethnic demagogues in black skin.

If all they’ve got left in their bag of political tomfoolery is “Chinedu Rhodes-Vivour,” they are of all political hacks the most miserable, deserving our pity.


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