“Whether we have seen eye-to-eye or rarely agreed at all, my conversations with you, the American people, in living rooms and in schools, at farms, on factory floors, at diners and on distant military outposts — those conversations are what have kept me honest, and kept me inspired, and kept me going. And every day, I have learned from you. You made me a better President, and you made me a better man.”–Obama
Leadership including the president must figure out a way to interact with ordinary people and hear from them on a candid basis. Relying on security reports and feed backs from lieutenants may be misleading as they see from a different set of eyes and judge the enemy differently. We also have a responsibility to speak to leadership using all the platforms and channels available. Like Obama said, it helps to encourage honesty, inspiration and courage.
As commander in chief alternative channels of communication must be established otherwise what we have will be a president under siege. If those who have the president’s ears are few and controlled, then it becomes possible to create national scenarios in the mind of the president where the president has no independent way of verifying. Those sincere feelings of the citizens the burdens that they carry may be far removed from the sensitivities of the president. Sometimes, what the people require to be happy may be far removed from the complexity associated with the elite and far easier to satisfy.
Lastly voices heard on media platforms may be orchestrated and largely influence. It is a powerful communication management strategy for the President to be in touch directly with truth and understand the paradigm of the led, this way the heart of the people can be won. To Understand the people help better communicate the programs of government in milestone languages that the ordinary people understand and can evaluate. Talking over their heard is unhelpful for change management. It also does not facilitate trust between the leadership and the ordinary man.
“This is where I learned that change only happens when ordinary people get involved and they get engaged, and they come together to demand it.”–Obama
We the citizens of Nigeria may appear as ordinary people, however we can bring real change if we get involved, get engaged and organize to demand it. The President and his men must also understand that on their part they must engage the citizen and mobilize them. Keeping quiet and expecting followership is not a form of leadership known to man. There is just nothing to follow in “quiet”. The power of a king is in his voice.
If the ordinary people are required for change then they must have a central unifying and rallying point or theme, which must be emphasised. Indeed most Nigerians are not tribal by nature; they do business across tribes and regions. They are just being conditioned to be so, without actual beneficial outcomes. Unfortunately the elite continue to use divisive means to rule and leverage for influence. They use innocent tools like religion, culture and tribe, together with all forms of conspiracy theories to divide us and make us afraid. Unfortunately, a lot of our leaders are innocent preys to this deception. While the few elite may have challenges with each other on account of who should share the bounty, they should not turn themselves into merchants of conflict bringing an entire population into conflict. Did you not notice during the carnage that preceded the civil war, it was our northern brothers that helped the Igbos to escape. While the criminals continued with the homicides. We fundamentally have no problems as citizens except the one being forced on us by those who want to bear rule over us
The way to speak to the masses is many times different from speaking to elites. So much needs to happen to galvanize their engagement and I am not sure our campaign strategy in terms of the message and the commitment we make. Shouldn’t parties undertake recruitment drive for voters coming of age to join political parties? Where are the town hall meeting organised to elicit people buy in and participation. In what language are we engaging peoples minds? I always believe that most people do not understand GDP and exchange rate. Except you speak the “language of the gate keeper, you will get no cooperation to enter the resident, no matter how legitimate your need to enter is. What group(s) are we deliberately working with and engaging to pursue an great outcomes at least.
“It’s the conviction that we are all created equal, endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights, among them life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It’s the insistence that these rights, while self-evident, have never been self-executing; that we, the People, through the instrument of our democracy, can form a more perfect union.”–Obama
It is our belief in certain rights and liberties especially our right to be happy and treated equally as citizens that allows us to take on the responsibility of engaging our democracy. We cannot give up our belief and our sense of entitlement of our rights, otherwise we would have given up our humanity and sense of responsibility.
We should not allow others give us the meaning of our circumstance beyond the definitions of our constitution. We should avoid stereotypes and generalization. There are good and bad people everywhere and in most cases more good than bad. Avoiding tribal labelling and limitations by themselves give opportunities to our people; inclusion rather than exclusion. We must break down the wall of distrust and grow more into our Nigerianess than our Urhoboness, Yorubaness or Fulaniness. The security that our tribes give is mostly delusionary. It is not the Igbo man at Alaba that cheated you; it was Chukwudi, the trader at Alaba that committed that crime. Lets mind our language.
Because our rights as citizens is ours to insist on, we will not stand down. Our voice will continue to be heard until our change comes. We will continue to push back on acts of discrimination against any citizen from any part of the country. We will insist that our best foot be put forward at all times. Our best scores will get our children into our best schools and because as soldiers we will not leave our own behind, we will take massive actions to develop the weaker in our midst.
What common rights do we insist on and ensure even our critics and enemies who are Nigerians enjoy the same. Our basic freedoms and rights must be protected for all, knowing that each of us may one day experience a change in circumstance