One president to rule them all (Vol. 1)

by Ore Fakorede


The battle lines have been drawn (and re-drawn) and the contestants are emerging one after the other. There’s still a mad scramble for party tickets, but when the dust settles, the gatecrashers would have been separated from the invited guests. The question is a ‘wh’ one: not ‘whom’ Nigerians want as but ‘what’ we need in our president. Setting all ethnic sentiments aside (impossible, right?), what are the salient characteristics that will guide voters to select the best person for the job? Presidential aspirants, please take note.

1. Experience: The man (or woman) that will lead Nigeria with a measure of success must have done a lot of actual leading before aspiring for the highest office in the land. A résumé that chronicles a candidate’s history as an underling, serving others and taking orders (no matter how diligently), without demonstrating any ability to take the initiative, will just not do. Preferably, the ideal candidate should have held some political office in the upper echelons of government in the recent past. A political heritage won’t hurt either.

In The Footsteps Of: Winston Churchill. Britain’s greatest leader of the 20th century was: President Of The Board Of Trade, Home Secretary, First Lord Of The Admiralty, Commander Of The 6th Battalion Of The Royal Scots Fusiliers, Minister Of Munitions, Secretary Of State For War, Secretary Of State For Air, Chancellor Of The Exchequer, First Lord Of The Admiralty (again) after a ten-year hiatus from politics, and then….. Prime Minister, twice. Read that again.

2. Tech-Savvy: The key phrase here is ‘socially-aware networking’. Social media are fast becoming the information dissemination tools of choice. A technophile-president who uses Twitter, Facebook and a Blackberry phone consciously with average dexterity would be a dream come true for young Nigerians. Knowing that the ‘number one’ citizen can actually be reached and may even respond himself occasionally will bolster the confidence of the populace in the national government and may even attract a cult-like following.

In The Footsteps Of: Barack Obama. His presidential campaign utilized Facebook, Twitter, bulk sms and blogs to garner support. The man himself has a Twitter account (@BarackObama), created a Technology, Innovation and Government Reform Team (TIGR) and totes a Blackberry. Enough said.

3. Charisma: Defined simply as ‘personal magnetism’ or in more detail as the ability to inspire enthusiasm, interest, or affection in others by means of personal charm or influence; you either have it or you don’t. A charismatic person is able to feel emotions strongly and induce them in others.  The ideal leader should therefore be able to see life through the eyes of the average man, not deluded by the trappings of an elevated position, in order to project the vision of a better state of affairs which followers can easily understand and adopt fanatically. Definitely an essential trait for any candidate who wants to reach out effectively to the ‘masses’.

In The Footsteps Of: John F. Kennedy. The 35th U.S. President (12:00 p.m. on January 30, 1961 to 12:30 p.m. on November 22, 1963) is not just remembered for saying the famous line: “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.” More than anything else, JFK’s leadership epitomized Max Weber’s definition of charismatic authority: “…a certain quality of an individual personality, by virtue of which one is “set apart” from ordinary people and treated as endowed with supernatural, superhuman, or at least specifically exceptional powers or qualities. These as such are not accessible to the ordinary person, but are regarded as divine in origin or as exemplary, and on the basis of them the individual concerned is treated as a leader…”

What are your dream qualities?

Comments (4)

  1. @ Cheche. Then he put the wrong foot forward.

  2. He said it was part 1 jere!

  3. I appreciate your taking out time to point us toward criteria public office aspirants, especially for the presidency, should be measured against. But this comes across as extremely shallow. For one, experience in the dimension you have outlined is overrated. What were the public office credentials of Kennedy before he became president? How long was Lincoln on public office credentials. History is replete with men and women without robust public service experience who performed extremely well. Gov. Fashola was simply a Chief of Staff, for one term, before becoming governor. So i think experience shouldn't come on too strong. Now, this is not saying experience doesn't count, of course it does, but it hardly passes as a key criterion, at least not in the way you mention it.
    Then you go ahead to suggest social media awareness as a criterion. Quite disappointing. That has little to do with anything. How relevant has President Jonathan's seeming appreciation for social media communication, a la facebook, been to the nation under his watch? Indeed it is a necessary tool for accessing the opinions of the governed, but it doesn't a good president make.
    Then i wonder, of what use is a charismatic leader without a vision, without integrity, without a good grasp of the issues that affect Nigeria, without the depth needed to assembly a visionary team to move us out of the present quagmire. Charisma is only useful if it helps accentuate the foregoing criteria.
    You don't speak for us Ore. Nigerian youths want more than these superficial attributes from their candidates.
    You don't even mention integrity, you gloss over competence and vision, a good grasp of the issues, forward moving policies, and depth, all of which can be ascertained when these guys begin to speak and debate. None of these criteria suffices Ore. I think you hurriedly put this together. Go back, rethink, and come up with something more broad and relevant. Cheers.

  4. "A charismatic person is able to feel emotions strongly and induce them in others. The ideal leader should therefore be able to see life through the eyes of the average man, not deluded by the trappings of an elevated position"


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