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Lessons From The UK Elections
Keir Starmer

Lessons From The UK Elections


By Lasisi Olagunju

Number 10, Downing Street has been home to Britainā€™s prime ministers since 1735 AD. Why would a hugely popular new prime minister move into a 289-year-old mansion without spending good pounds on it to buff it up to todayā€™s taste? Keir Starmer, the new British prime minister, moved into that official residence soon after he was appointed last Friday. There was neither a renovation of the building nor a sanctification of the rooms by clerics and priests. Red candles, white tapers were not lit; neither was turari (incense) assigned a role.


You would think that the British who always hailed the way we elected our leaders would copy our ways. This past weekend, the teacher didnā€™t do the nonsense they taught their students. Their dog refused to follow our monkey to do what locusts do to grain farms. They chose those they wanted as leaders without our usual fireworks and water cannons.

For the winner, it was straight from the polling booth to the Government House; there was no interlude, no respite, no recess. There was even no transition committee; neither was there a budget for new furniture and new cars for the prime ministerā€™s family. The Prime Minister took over almost immediately after the sun set for the man whose party lost in spectacular detail.

Ministers were appointed the same day and portfolios assigned them on the spot, leaving us to wonder why the haste. We didnā€™t hear of the parliament grilling the appointees and asking them to sing ā€˜God save the Kingā€™ ā€“ their national anthem. Was the head of government even sworn in? Who did?


here is nothing they do in the husbandā€™s bedroom that does not happen in the concubineā€™s bedchamber. We have rats here that eat vital documents and get presidents sick. The British have over there too. But the PMā€™s residence in London has a simple solution to the problem: a mouser, a celebrity cat is in firm control of the rodent issues there. The catā€™s name is Larry; for the past 13 years, it has been helping heads of government in that country to fix what our cowardly presidents run away from here. Weā€™ve not heard that Labourā€™s Starmer aims at sacking the cat from the residence because the conservatives took it there.

Since his appointment on Friday last week, Starmer, with his family, has settled in properly in 10 Downing Street.

Our own President Muhammadu Buhari moved into our Presidential Villa late in June 2015 ā€“ three weeks after he was sworn in. The old man needed to be sure that the residence was properly fumigated of the sacked party and be rid of rodents and cockroaches ā€“ visible and invisible. Despite all his carefulness, impudent rats still ran the ramrod General out of the building and out of the country. He was away in London for months suffering from what could be anything.

He came back and, again, got run out of the office part of the building by the same rats. We forget things here. Seven years ago (August 2017), one of Buhariā€™s spokespersons announced (with uncommon sensation) that rodents had damaged furniture and air conditioning fittings in the presidentā€™s ā€œofficialā€ office while he was in London receiving treatment. The gentleman said our leader wouldnā€™t, therefore, be seen working in the presidentā€™s office until the damage was undone. And that was it. The big boss stayed off work until the rats accepted his sacrifice and said he should come in.


In his own case, President Bola Tinubu has been more attentive to details. The Yoruba man is well acquainted with the functional relationship between the rolling eyes of the crab and its delicate head. He was sworn in on May 29, 2023, made a rash of careless policy pronouncements but was careful about where he would be accommodated. Unlike Starmer who rushed into the PMā€™s mansion like a hungry cat, Tinubu rushed nothing and overlooked nothing.

Sixty-three days after he took over power, a reluctant Tinubu gingerly detoured into a villa building called the Glass House on Sunday, July 31, 2023. It was there he hibernated until the main residence begged him to come and occupy it. Perhaps because he is the Capone, we have not heard stories about ratty encounters in the nationā€™s most secure edifice.”

~ Lasisi Olagunju,Tribune



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