EDITORIAL: Of elections campaign promises and the realities on ground


We often elect political leaders who promise the moon thinking that they have the answer to all our problems and that they would deliver us the necessary outcomes. We also fall for their visions that are hopeful and believe that they have a magic wand with which they can wish away our woes (economic and social).

However, when the realities of governing nations clash against the hopes and the visions, followers, and voters often direct their anger at the leaders and blame them for not delivering the goods. But, how much of this blame can be rightfully directed towards the leaders and how much responsibility must followers adopt or even, how much blame must they take?

As the saying goes, as are the people, so are the leaders, and as are the leaders, so are the people, there is a two way relationship between leaders and their followers and hence, it is our view that this compact between the leaders and their followers must be maintained in such a manner that it does not lead to disappointment or dashed hopes when the high sounding rhetoric meets reality.

Should Leaders Over promise?

Having said that, it is also the case that political leaders must be circumspect in what they promise. More often than not, leaders, and especially politicians, get carried away during election times and promise everything under the sun and everything under the moon to their followers.

For instance, the case of President Muhammadu Buhari is a prime example of what happens when leaders belie the aspirations of voters once they are elected and realize the potential implications of their poll promises.

Indeed, the contemporary history of Nigeria after Independence is rife with examples of prospective politicians who promised the electorate with high sounding poll slogans and visions that are often found wanting once the realities of the governance of a complex country like Nigeria kick in.

The Zamfara state Governor, Matawalle took another dimension with his style of leadership when few days after assuming office, he met with the President, and Inspector General of Police in order to grab the bull by the horn in tackling the menace of kidnapping and banditry ravaging his community. The bold step he takes has earned him a two police mobile squard to aid strengthen his security and bring succor to his people.

Likewise, Borno state Governor, Prof Zullum departed to crisis spots within his community to show his commitment in bringing an end to insecurity when his neighbor is adding a third wife. These kind of robust act is what Nigerians are hoping for when they cast their votes.

The current President also known as Mr. Integrity promised good days during 2015 elections is now faced with the daunting prospect of fulfilling the poll promises as the very real nuts and bolts execution needed to actualize such dreams and hopes is now driving the agenda rather than the lofty hopes and the catchy slogans.

Indeed, much like the Biblical character, Moses, leading his people into the Promised Land, most of the newly elected officials and President Buhari included, often show the way ahead, but, when the time comes, the waters do not part and the bridge to redemption is not built.

What these examples reveal is that Nigeria needs a leader who can not only walk the talk but also talk the walk wherein he should sustain the momentum once elected. What we are not saying is that he must not have a vision and a mission, but, instead, he must have a practical and practicable plan to lead Nigeria and not simply, play with words and slogans.