When it comes to the leadership of Nigeria, a lot of us have spent the last eight years shaking our heads in disappointment rather than celebrating the expected change and growth of such a resilient country.The promised change is still pending!
From terrorism, increase in crime, COVID-19, suicides, increase in domestic abuse, interstate fighting, End Sars issue, escaped convicts, escaped terrorist convicts; to fuel crisis, increase in food prices (see, at this rate I need to start growing my own vegetables and watching more sustainable/saving food type shows because this is getting out of hand) to products being so expensive I now tell myself if I can’t afford them (now, I wonder how the Big Guy in the sky is coping with Nigeria’s current list of problems, or has the heavenly customer care service centre shut down due to the overwhelming needs, prayers, curses and pleadings); to the incredulous change of money colour, fighting in banks, buying naira like it is the dollar, Nigerians have been so traumatized by the notion of leadership because, be it the words being said to rally votes, or the inactions of the supposed options, Nigerians are at the brink of spewing torrents of prayers to Japa one way or simply settle in the unfortunate bosom of suffering and just make due with whatever options are available.
Ahh, Deola the table shaker, your favourite writer is back again, laced with sarcasm, a very divergent way of seeing things, yet you have to admit it is relatable on some level. Now, let’s get to it, shall we?
After having a bunch of pocket discussions with very diverse people, these are my top three picks that were most emphasized by everyone at one point in time.
i. Security: Actions, not Words
For the sake of everyone’s sanity and my limited space, I shall write bullet points under security. Like I said, it’s opinions of many, it may not be what you feel directly, but on some level relatable.
*Rebranding, restructuring and re-training of security forces to be more emphatic when dealing with fellow citizens.
*Curbing discrimination based on locale a.k.a. state of origin a.k.a. your village, looks, dressing and accent.
*Ending gender-based violence.
*Ending any type of violence against fellow citizens especially without cause or effect within police custody.
*Listening and mediating between security forces and citizens.
*Protection against external forces that constantly threaten the safety and sanity of its people.
*Swift and timely response in search and rescue of any kind.
*Listening and engaging the youth on issues of security concerning them.
*Releasing press statements/updates on matters of security that involve the public at various levels. (I do understand certain levels of national security must be kept confidential, but pacifying the public with information avoids panic and assumptions by the masses. Communication is of the utmost importance).
ii. Money in the actual system
Look, if we go into this, I will be subjected to possible writing sanctions, due to trying to restrain myself from saying unprintable words provoked by the money madness issues that have overwhelmed Nigeria in the past few weeks. Like I actually cried at some point: is it the money hanging issue, the no-contact issue, the inaccess to the apps issue, the inaccess to the physical banks issue, the malfunctioning of P.O.S. machines, the insults from suppliers for projects (yes, I brand as well, I might as well sell a bit of my market to balance things out), the annoyance from delayed projects via client tantrums issue (which I totally understand – a lot of it wasn’t aimed at me. I just happened to be in the line of fire), inability to pay for items, medical services issue or the buying of naira as if I was travelling abroad to spend it, or the no-cash issue…pick one, it is a lot.
Ahh, the River Styx is currently gearing up for all the insults the government, unfortunately, has to take, especially with the impending cross over or change in power as it may be.
*Never repeat the unexpected drastic change of money colour ever again, without having sufficient backup’s backup up backing each other up. For goodness’s sake, why are Nigerians buying Naira in Nigeria like it’s euros, pounds or dollars?
*Make sufficient contingency plans for public relations and media awareness concerning any negative effect of money issues – from the smallest banks to the giants and the institutions that guide them. Now as a public relations and media consultant, I say this all the time: Nigeria’s biggest problem – from the small to large businesses, including the institutions that should definitely do better… they unfortunately focus on the buildings, the staff, the machinery, the products, but never the messages, the service (training) and the consistency of verbal, writing and even brail warnings – communication must be prioritized. Call me if help is needed.
iii. Medical Japa
Ah! Japa (to leave a place of birth or residence for greener, saner pastures), the current national anthem and motto of every Nigerian (read previous article written by my humble self: “Japa or not to Japa”). I know it is on everyone’s mind; in fact, a lot of people are already packing their bags and catching flights regardless of the availability of starting life cash or not… the goal is escape, especially for medical reasons. Look, anyone in their right mind will choose life and settling in their country for cheaper yet beneficial medical needs, but what happens when the doctors and nurses are leaving? The equipment are not working? There is no empathy for one’s physical and mental anguish, the bills are ridiculous and never explained (turning a lot of us into medical and financial detectives) and a bunch of other chaos that comes with the medical facilities here (please understand that there are very good hospitals who give you A+ service in Nigeria. A lot of them do not advertise, or do a lot of marketing; some only work based on referral. So yeah, they get lost in the unknown files prompting people to catch flights and spend more). Here I am more concerned with the unruly, unbothered and unavailable ones. Make no mistake about it: Nigerian medical personnel are renowned around the world! You have to literally give them a standing, resounding loud ovation for the hard work they put in. These guys are not here just to play; they play to win! Now here is the thing: a good player is only as good as the team, coach and environment they are placed in.
For this (Japa) to be either drastically reduced or eliminated, here are a few suggestions/expectations:
*Actual medical benefits
*Support from the government,
* Scholarships, housing, bonuses, incentives, medical collaborative funding, cross border collaborations, security, salaries paid on time …
*And, as always, an open line of effective and direct communication from and for all parties.
The list is endless. Help them help us!
So, yes, these are a few of the expectations Nigerians expect from the incoming leaders at all levels. For me, the most important thing will be communication. It is so essential, yet so undervalued. Let’s seek to do better and, as always, call me if you need help. Read you next time. Bye.
Written by Adeola Ademokoya