OLD LEADERSHIP STYLE, has long transited to modern unique leadership. Good relationships, stand out, as the foundation for achievements in modern leadership. Talents, skills and abilities are, often, given priority. But improving existing relationships, cultivating strong, exciting new ones, wins leaders to the hearts of the people they are leading. Abandoning, or neglecting existing relationships, slants leadership, negatively.
“Who personifies the leader of today? Being in charge doesn’t necessarily have the same connotations of ‘absolute power’ that it used to have. In fact, today’s leaders find themselves benefiting from a more collaborative approach to management. By checking their egos at the door, so to speak, leaders will find that they can tap into endless sources of potential from the people they lead” —– [Warren G Bennis and Robert Townsend]
Nigerian President Buhari, often, do not, personally, speak to Nigerians within the country on critical issues. He had demonstrated this on occasions. If the president had been opportune to travel out of the country, in the wake of covid-19 pandemic, he would prefer to speak to Nigerians from abroad, on the effects of covid-19 in his country.
Brother African president of Ghana, Kenya, South African, amongst others, showed Nigerian President Buhari the way of patriotism, nationalism, commitment, shared value with their people, and good relationships, by personally addressing their peoples on covid-19.
Believing president Buhari will follow suit, Nigerians – in high and low places, raised voices, calling on the president to break his silence and, personally, address the nation, specifically, on covid-19 outbreak in the country. The president remained silent on the global pandemic, despite pressure from the citizens. Except the routine update and media briefings by the minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire.
Some Nigerian States Governors, took the lead, in the absence of the president’s proactive leadership, in combating the outbreak and spread of covid-19. Lagos state government, for instance, took positive measures and actions – including putting structures in place to handle cases of affected persons, suspending large gatherings, among others. The country’s president, still, remained silent.
Nigerian Senate and House of Representatives, Wednesday, moved motions, directing President Buhari to, urgently, address the nation on the coronavirus outbreak. Both chambers requested the Nigerian leader to tell Nigerians efforts the government is making to contain the virus. They were piqued that other presidents around the world are addressing their citizens. But President Buhari has remained quiet — booming silence.
Senator Danjuma Goje’s motion lead to the debate. He stated: “There is a need for President Muhammadu Buhari to address the issue of coronavirus and assure Nigerians of government effort. Other Presidents in other nations are doing it and there is a need for Mr. President to address Nigerians.” And Senator Barau Jibril, stated the urgent need for the government “to stimulate the economy”.
Thursday, Nigerian government, through the education ministry, announced closure of tertiary institutions, secondary and primary schools, nationwide, over the spread of covid-19 in the country. Press statement by President Buhari’s media adviser, Garba Shehu, same Thursday, stated that the president has directed the repositioning of economy. The 2020 budget should be reviewed to reflect realities in the oil sector. Priority should be given to the health sector to respond to the threats posed by covid-19.
Garba’s statement said Buhari’s directive came after the second regular meeting of the Presidential Economic Advisory Council, PEAC, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja. The president directives included other economic measures government will be taking to stabilise the economy in the face of challenging global economic situation as a result of the effects of covid-19.
The questions Nigerians are asking remain: Will President Buhari not speak to Nigerians, especially, on covid-19? Is the president and his ruling All Progressive Congress, APC, government reinventing leadership in Nigerian polity – for better, or, for the worse for Nigerian people?
This saying is unique: “Good relationships are more than just the icing on the cake in life. They are the cake.” Leadership in governance is about people! people!! and the people!!