Failed leadership: Getting caught up in fanfare | © Fola Daniel Adelesi

Governance is a process and the entire process involves the governed and those that are governing. To a great extent, those governing operate, bearing in mind how the governed think, talk and react to the things they are doing. One of those processes leading to having good governance is the campaign before the elections. Through the campaigns, the people who are to be governed ought to take the pulse of the aspiring leaders and decide what they want.
Campaigns ought to be tough. They are usually tight in nations where the people are serious about who governs them and the people who want to govern are serious about it. It’s a hard time for speech writers and only the best are engaged. That’s because you will come out with a proposition for the people and the possibility of that proposition will be tackled. There will be multiple rounds of debates and when you are not ready for leadership, the people themselves can tell. These are not debates where the people are told who the winner is or not. The people themselves have listened in between the lines and can tell who knows what.
Unfortunately, I think that many of us have missed it and we already know that. As if that is not enough, our apathy has been added to the issue and that’s making the matters worse. We don’t have real campaigns anymore in Nigeria and that’s one of the real reasons it’s hard to choose a great leader.
Our campaigns have been overtaken by fanfare. Politicians go from one state to the other distributing food items to the people and giving cash in some places. Once so many people have been given a bag of rice, they are ready to stand in the sun for hours to vote. They vote, not for the person they think will do the job but for the person who has given them a bag of rice. They are also quick to forget that they only get the bag once and that’s the end of it. Even if you are given cash, you would have spent the money before the election day.
Leaders at the grassroot are also involved in this mess. Most local chiefs would have been bribed before the elections. These chiefs persuade or even influence the voter’s minds. I know someone who was in this but has turned a new leaf. He said the money was always distributed at night to so many of the people considered key players. That’s what so many people call campaigns – distribute money, food, play loud music, make so much noise and claim that the party in power is doing nothing.
If we don’t change this process we will continue to have failed leadership. Anyone who buys the people food just once has shut their mouth permanently – at least for the next four years. He will no longer give you food and also has the power to commit atrocities. For those who claim their votes don’t count, they need to stop deceiving themselves. Your votes will only count when you vote. Those whose votes have counted are those that probably have been bribed with peanuts!
We should not think that leadership failed after the election. It started failing from the beginning. We are part of that beginning and until we change our role and play it differently, we will continue to have failed leadership, like the one we seem to be stuck with now.

Fola Daniel Adelesi
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Edible Pen.
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