Reality checks in after race for office is won to serve a broader public

Saturday June 03 2023
bola tinubu

Nigeria's President Bola Tinubu (C) takes oath of office during during his inauguration ceremony at the Eagle Square in Abuja, Nigeria on May 29, 2023. PHOTO | KOLA SULAIMON | AFP


In February, Nigerians went to the polls, and elected a new president. On May 29, the new president, Bola Tinubu, was sworn in.

Before elections, not just in Nigeria and the rest of Africa, but all over the world, there are expectations on both sides: The elected and the electors.

The elected have made promises based on ideal situations, what they felt the people wanted to hear and the prevailing mood.

However, when they get there, they must face reality of the situation. They discover that many of their promises and timeframes they pledged for delivering them could not be implemented. They realise there is more to some things than mere saying you will get it done. The truth is that the reality from the outside is very different from the reality on the inside of power.

Expectations of the electors lie in the hope that finally the change they have prayed about, the change they hoped for, has come to stay.

However, when they realise things are not going to happen the way they were promised, they are likely to get upset and disillusioned to the point of giving up and vowing never to vote again.


So, how can these expectations be managed from both sides?

Let us start with the elected. It is important for President Tinubu to realise that some of the things he promised were easier said than done, and how well he and his team manage this is crucial as it will determine how long they can sustain the goodwill that got them elected.

Read: AKINYEMI: Competence over tribe except in Nigerian polls

It is important that the communication from the side of the elected to the electors is clear. Ironically, people who are very good at winning elections are not always very good when it comes to running the nation. They are fantastic storytellers and connect with people, but then when they have to deal with the realities of incumbency, they will discover that decisions are not just made in black and white, they go beyond.

President Tinubu is going to have to think differently. He is going to discover that some of the decisions he has said he was going to make will not happen. He will have to consult with a wider spectrum of people.

There are more interests to deal with. These interests may have to do with historical factors, deep-seated issues that spread across the country. So, he will discover that the fact that you know what to do does not mean you can do it.

Spectator ‘experts’

This applies in the corporate space as well. When you are outside an office, it is very easy to complain, fling suggestions about and just as easy to get upset about certain actions. This is exactly what happens in football matches.

The spectators all “know” what ought to have been done, how he should have played the ball, what the manager ought to do. But the truth is, they are not faced with the data that the people on the pitch are faced with. They are not faced with the pressure that the people on the pitch face. And so, it is easier to say what we are going to do and easier to criticize, but it’s never the same.

So, how do we manage this? It is important that there is communication at every level.

The view from the top is strategic; the view from the bottom is emotional. The view from the top is where you see all the different dynamics that have to be considered before a decision is made. The view from the bottom is emotional. All the guy wants is someone to deal with his personal needs.

Leadership must be able to make decisions from a strategic position with an emotional connection. Something they know how to do when they are campaigning. Once they assume office, they now see a bigger, more strategic picture.

Read: AKINYEMI: True leadership entails capture of hearts, minds

Emotional connection

Great leadership is a one that has honed skills to communicate the strategic with an. So before you get upset with President Tinubu, let us give him a chance. The president and his team must communicate with Nigerians in real time.

There is a level of vulnerability that when shown by leadership endears them to the people and brings a high level of understanding and compassion from those who are led. This is when you know you have made the emotional connection.

Wale Akinyemi is the founder of The Street University; Email: [email protected]