• Thursday, December 07, 2023
businessday logo


Personality traits and political leadership in Nigeria

Personality traits and political leadership in Nigeria

During the campaigns gearing up for the February 25, 2023, General Elections, Nigerians witnessed a lot of traits and character displays. These were not stereotypes, prejudice or bias.

One of the presidential candidates never showed up for any media interview, organized conferences, or conventions. Nigerians were hoping to decide, and make the final judgment at the polls but many were taken unawares.

We may not go on to review the personality of past political leaders in Nigeria and how it aided their performance while in office. This write-up tends to give an overview of the present political climate in Nigeria.

Two things easily noticeable in an individual are a person’s strength of will or the beauty of his character. This would help you deduce why political, social, and psychological research, recommendations, committees, findings, discoveries and verdicts have never improved governance in Nigeria.

Policies are either poorly implemented or thrown to the trash bin and politicians play an important role in policy-making. We may not get into the euphoria of the good old days but things have kept becoming worse every year in Nigeria. It doesn’t just stop at personality; mindset, orientation and character play major roles.

The discriminating, discerning Nigerians found a lot of things improper in the academic records of one of the presidential candidates oblivious that even INEC was privy to such a sleaze. Nigerians were not surprised when Prof Mahmoud’s INEC announced the winner of a presidential election when over 18,000 result sheets were blurred and some uploads were images instead of figures.

Undoubtedly, individuals who have a strong desire for control and struggle to accommodate or tolerate others’ perspectives might exhibit traits associated with a dominant or assertive temperament.

Certainly, leadership is all about service. When leadership and governance fail due to incompetence, sycophants will always amend the proposition of philosophers like John Stuart Mill on Liberty with Niccolò Machiavelli’s instruction to politicians. Having high levels of dominance, low agreeableness or a need for power and control are the traits that have marred political power in Nigeria.

Among five basic personality traits, conscientiousness (discipline, responsibility, organization, dependability) is completely lacking in politicians in Nigeria. A personality style characterized by a strong desire for control, influence and leadership can benefit the masses if the individual has a good character.

Human behaviour is determined by individual differences; that is different individuals behave differently when facing similar situations.

Read also: Tinubu: Starting political leadership on a wrong footing amidst problems

Unbecomingly, APC has hinted that Nigerians suffer today for a better tomorrow. This is a lie from the pit of hell because suffering the poor masses has never produced any positive indication on the political leaders over the years.

The President has severally told Nigerians that he could do nothing to improve their condition. This is not surprising because since APC came to power in 2015 with Muhammadu Buhari, Nigerians have seen ‘shege’. It did not stop at hardship, innocent blood flowed due to high insecurity.

Moreover, being self-confident, proactive and comfortable taking charge of situations are needed to salvage the masses from social evils. But governors and presidents in Nigeria do not have a clear vision of what to do for their country nor are they even determined to achieve any goal.

Rather all they do is show off and expedite continuous bazaars in government houses as a reminder that they have arrived. Many governors and government officials in Nigeria make plans for a lifetime pension with humongous benefits as soon as they assume office. The wisdom and knowledge to rule the people is not by being wealthy or rich.

Being assertive, aggressive without any positive or effective transformation does not benefit anyone but the leader. A political leader without empathy (compassion) and consideration for others is a democratic tyrant.

Therefore, being wise and intelligent is a gift and grace lacking in Nigerian political leaders. You can be the most famous, richest, most powerful or influential but if you are not the wisest person; you can never do what the whole world will adore, acclaim and admire.

Thus, we see our leaders amassing wealth and taking the masses through the vicious circle of poverty and sorrow. The NLC president advised the president to lessen the cost of governance. A lot of critics have spoken on a bloated cabinet amidst hardship, and inflation but all fell on deaf ears. Many were hoping that after several agitations and outcry, the price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) would come down a bit. Conversely, the price of petrol kept rising. Not minding that Nigeria is an oil-rich country without any functional refinery. The government kept telling the poor masses that their petrol is the cheapest in the whole world.

Billions of Naira kept exchanging hands in the name of palliatives. And the president beckoned on Nigerians to make more sacrifices while the political class relished and ravished taxpayers’ money on extravagant, flamboyant lifestyles.

Furthermore, if someone has the desire for power and control without the intention to use their influence to drive innovation and positive change then the person is a thief.

Some individuals seek power and control as a way to protect themselves and their loved ones. Having control over a situation can provide a sense of security and reduce feelings of vulnerability. The “Emi lokans” may have seen power as a means to overcome challenges and obstacles. With power comes responsibility and accountability but every politician in Nigeria sees himself as a demigod, hiding under constitutional immunity. It’s important to acknowledge that an excessive need for power and control can have negative consequences. The desperation of one man to be the president could lead to authoritarian behaviour, disregard for others’ perspectives, and manipulation of situations for personal gain.

In addition, Nigerians should remember that in these challenging times, difficulties are temporary and we possess the strength to overcome them. Focus on small positive steps and maintain hope for a New Nigeria. You’re not alone, and seeking help is a sign of courage, not weakness.

To the citizens and supporters of a New Nigeria, your vision for positive change is inspiring. Your dedication to creating a better future shows the power of unity and determination. Keep advocating for justice, equality, and progress. The structure of criminality, the old order, wants to lampoon and compromise the judiciary.

We’re not looking away either from the Courts and Judgment. Your efforts will pave the way for a brighter tomorrow, where the aspirations of all can be realized.

Stay resilient, stay united, and continue to be the driving force behind the transformation you seek. Our enemies will turn out to be helpers. Do not fear! This country is our own and you are a significant part of the country.