2013: A Year of Political Disappointments, A Season Of Reflections By Odusote Oluwakayode
Unfortunately change is rarely as swift as those who demand it might hope. Promises made during elections, even if made in good faith, are often riddled with challenges in implementation. All too often the resulting failure to bring about swift change and reparation for perceived ills is viewed as a flaw in Democracy rather than just a reality of governance.
These expectations and the gulf between campaign promises and political reality present real problems for those who would govern. Particularly once the realization sets in that not all that a politician promises on the campaign trail will ever come to fruition. There is the decision of whether it would be best to limit the goals set in advance and potentially loses an election, or push wild promises with the hope that the public will understand failures after election.
In the face of all these, we are left with a question. Is there a way to mitigate the expectations of the electorate without dampening faith and trust in the system? The sincere answer is yes.
Bunmi Oni explained that leadership is the capacity to influence others through inspiration, generated by passion and ignited by purpose. The tenets of the definition underline the critical roles leaders’ play in electoral fulfilling promises.
In politics therefore, leadership is the emotional dynamics of being in charge to serve, deliver as promised, be sincere to the governed and be responsible to them. Unfortunately, the disappointment has always been of some leader’s willing motive to fail on expectations of progress in a nation’s socio-political life.
In the face of challenges faced by a nation, the people will look up to a positive result provider and in the event of a champion’s emergence, the people will become ardent, true followers to the extent that they believe it’s safe to do everything possible to give their support with hope that they will get to share in the accomplishment and the rewards that come with success. That was how President Jonathan was perceived.
Unfortunately and in fairness to the president, most of our political leaders have failed woefully in creating a relationship with the electorates the moment they become elected and it has become harder than ever because of two major trends.
The first involves the spotlight the elected official occupy, and their related rise to fame. To some elected officials, they allow protocols disconnect them from the people they are supposed to be connected with. They allow the fame of being in office to erode a sense of commitment to the peoples’ agitations; they tend to stick to the affluence of prosperity that they suddenly forget the agitations that brought them to power.
In recent times, perhaps, we’ve never had a leader so committed that the spoils of office will not be an interference in the discharge of the necessary dividends of democracy, to the constitution sworn to protect and the people pledged to serve.
The second is the pronounced income that some elected and appointed officials enjoy at the detriment of the electorates. The inequality become extremely damaging that it breeds grave envy, anger and disappointment.
The disappointments become so glaring when such political leaders deliberately distance themselves too much from the electorates’ economic need, therefore, putting their ability to forge an internal and emotional trust into jeopardy.
Now, taken together, the two trends endanger the likelihood that electorates will see their elected and appointed leaders as taking advantage to invest in a shared struggle. In other words, the degree to which leaders are economically divorced from the governed places a premium on having the emotional reason to offset the disconnect.
Our elected and appointed leaders must understand that it’s the people that matter and not acquisition of material wealth. The people will become agitated when needs are not met or slowly delivered. The leaders are supposed to connect tightly to the people because they help a leader to connect with reality.
Leaders can’t continue using emotions to manipulate perceptions or reality of failure to perform. The leaders are expected to use emotional intelligence to understand where people are coming from and to promptly share in their pains, by such, leaders feel the need to deliver positively. The position occupied today is simply for a period of time but the policies pursued lasts for years, therefore, the need to lay good foundations and build on good policies that have instant effect on the governed
2013 is laden with disappointments. Instead of witnessing developments and growth, the nation witnessed the Political circus of corruption, political disagreements, accusations and counter accusations, open letters and re-open letters. In all of these, the governed are the sufferers. A nation cannot possibly boast of a better 2014 because of the dangerous political signal of 2013.
Maybe the leaders need to understand that honesty is key. The governed naturally want to know where a leader stands. The urge emerges from survival instincts, because, as followers, they rely on a leader’s ability to enhance their odds of staying alive and thriving. Nigeria is a sailing ship and the captain must be seen to be fit to stare.
Some recent scandals have shaken the Nigerian people’s faith in a government that will not look out for their interests and uphold their values. These scandals become more offensive when genuine legal actions are not taken by the government against the culprits. Such questionable gesture hurts the hardworking spirit of most Nigerians.
It hurts to reflect that big companies end up with billions of naira in tax or waiver breaks while Nigerians still struggle to enjoy the benefits such breaks are supposed to give.
It hurts to reflect that the people running the Villa are accountable only to the special interests that fund their campaigns and put them into power. That’s why we experience continuous rancor in political parties.
That is why most ministries are filled with politicians without a simple administrative knowledge required to head such portfolio they are appointed to head. They use such positions to recoup what must have been spent on elections. Political offices are sometimes seen as a means of compensation for support given or electoral positions lost.
The year ends today and we are where we are because of what we have allowed as a nation. While only some are to be blamed for the corruption and backwardness that has plagued our nation, it is important we reflect on how we all are responsible for permitting it.
I wish you all a happy new year.
I invite you to join me on twitter @Actionkay
Do not hesitate to leave your opinion in the comment section below.
To contact Abusidiqu.com for Article Submission and Advertisement or General inquiry, send a mail to firstname.lastname@example.org