You have done well. Fought gallantly in the dense, dangerous, unpredictable forest that is Nigerian politics. You have grappled with wild animals trying to take you down, been bitten by poisonous snakes within your camp betraying your cause, and tried to cut through the thick vegetation of prejudice, sentiments and bias. And although you gave it your best, your party lost the elections. It is painful, especially if the winners gloat when you are down. But you are only down. Not out. This is how to make sure you do not recede into political oblivion or worse, ignominy.
Especially as outgoing president, you need to deal with the emotional turmoil that comes with defeat. You do not want to be driving through the streets seeing your smile and campaign pose in all the billboards around town. Your campaign billboard that says Vote For Me, standing after you have lost, is like a man who, upon being turned down by a woman goes to camp outside her house, even when he can see that she has chosen and married another man. You are not that desperate. Order the removal of all your campaign billboards and posters. Not just for your peace of mind. For the people. Your love for the people will not allow you to subject them to the perpetual guilt that comes from constantly staring at the face they rejected at the polls. Many people will look at your face and regret the fact that they either didn't go out to vote or voted for the other, lesser candidate. Who knows what that guilt can lead to. You do not want to be the cause of depression and suicides. Also, because you love the country so much, you do not want the incoming government to bear the cost of taking down your awesome billboards. They will all ultimately regret the mistake of not electing you but in due time, your absence in their lives will make their hearts grow fond of you.
However, this magnanimity does not extend to the idiots from your own camp who contributed to your downfall. Animals. Those ones must be dealt with. Sack the ones you can sack and ask those who took money from you without delivering to return the money. No need to be ashamed of this. The Hausa people say, “jin kunyan mara kunya asara ne". Meaning, feeling shame in dealing with a shameless person is a waste [of time].
As a presidential aide whose principal has lost power, life can be tough. You have spent years insulting the evil enemies of your boss. You have called some people children of Satan and likened your boss to Jesus. Because let’s face it, some people need to be identified as children of the devil. You have confirmed time and time again that indeed God was personally involved in the campaigns and your boss was surely going to win and shame all his detractors. But somehow, it didn't quite happen the way God had prophesied to you and your boss lost the elections. God works in mysterious ways.
Do not let your heart be troubled. Although it is hard for an aide to get a similar position in a new government after all those insults, all hope is not lost. Use the new freedom you have to better yourself. Go to Harvard and do one of those short courses they design for people who can and want to pay lots of money for a paper with Harvard written on it. Write a book about all the good things you did while you were in government while exposing all the bad people. When you return to the country in one or two years, Nigerians will have forgotten how strongly they felt about you and you will just be an ex-presidential aide. Organise a book launch and invite all the people you used to know in government and let them all donate to offset the cost of printing 1,000 copies of the book in Dubai or China or India. If you are lucky you may even make a huge profit.
If you are in the big league and somehow a lot of money went through your hands while you were in government as a Minister of head of some parastatal, and your party is no longer in power, someone in the new government may accuse you of theft. That is what victory sometimes does to small people. It makes them see everyone as a thief. But you are not a thief. God knows and your supporters know. However, to prevent anyone soiling your name, quickly hold meetings with the new people and try to reach a deal. Let me be clear here. The fact that you are trying to make a deal to return some money in no way implies that you are guilty of any crime. It is like a marriage. Sometimes you concede or apologise in an argument with your spouse not because you agree or were wrong but because you want peace in the home. Being at peace is better than being right. You want peace in Nigeria. So if the need arises, return vast sums from your personal savings. The idea is to prevent a situation where, one day while you relax in your mansion, having champagne and watching the new season of Game of Thrones, some rude EFCC people will be sent to harass you. You know the worst part about those EFCC people? They do not take their shoes off when they enter your house to arrest you. I mean, do your arrest, but show some respect for the rug.
If you did not contest elections at all, it may just be easier to look for an opportune time to decamp from your party to the new ruling party. People may scream, but you know that Nigerian political parties are like restaurants. Sometimes, the restaurant you always eat at may suddenly stop getting the snails you love eating and you may have to try another restaurant. Someday when the first restaurant resumes selling snails you can go back there. No one will judge you for changing restaurants just like no one should judge you for changing political parties.
It is my hope that after your political sabbatical, you return energised and ready to reclaim your spot in the limelight again. God bless your hustle.