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Stop Calling Every Politician A Leader-They Aren’t As They’ve Been Disappointing Us

Feature Article Stop Calling Every Politician A Leader-They Arent As Theyve Been Disappointing Us
FRI, 15 MAR 2024 LISTEN

Does being a politician automatically make anyone a leader? The foregoing question that prefaces this piece you are about to read has been a nagging and obsessive question posed to no one, in particular, by this writer. It is not an exaggeration to say that joining politics and thus becoming a politician in Nigeria seems to be comparatively easier than joining any other area of human endeavor as it offers free entry and free exit opportunities to many Nigerians; even as the minimum education required to be in the field is the West African School Certificate (WASC)

However, while it is not compulsory to possess a higher education requirement to become a politician, most successful politicians hold a minimum of a bachelor's degree, and some of them get their start at the lowest level of community politics and involvement, and this more often than not provides them with a useful experience that they can add to their political resume. There is no denying the fact that not a few politicians today got involved in politics through local initiatives by volunteering for a local campaign, even in rural areas, and joining a chapter of their chosen political parties. Thus, becoming an active member of their local political affairs has helped not a few of them to get noticed by politicians, and by that established their passion and willingness to put forth time and effort for the great good of society.

In fact, besides the foregoing requirements that can in this context be said to be virtuous, it is obvious enough for one to say that the cliche “Politics is a dirty game” is often used to describe how rugged the landscape of politics is. This expression often describes politics as a free-for-all fight where everything is considered fair game in the quest for power. In this part of the world, not a few politicians are known to be notorious for various shady practices. For instance, during campaigning and election season, politicians and their aides take to the streets to canvass votes using different tactics. Based on this, it is easy to conclude that politics is a dirty game.

Against the backdrop of the foregoing, it is germane to ask, “What Defines Good Political Leadership?” “Does Being A Politician Automatically Anyone A Leader?” The questions no doubt are crucial in this context as it is crystal clear that Nigeria, since 1999 when it transitioned to a democratic system of government, has been brimming with ambitious political leaders, but sadly very few matchups to the traits of good leadership. Many political leaders in the country appear to be severely lacking in some of the most essential qualities of a good leader, such as integrity and accountability. It is no coincidence that the word “politician” has many negative connotations. However, experience tells us that there is only a handful that comes near to the principles of leadership and shows strong indicators of a successful political leader.

Without a doubt, this view could not have been expressed at a better time than now, particularly as not a few politicians variously holding sway across local, state, and federal governments are clueless, and seem to lack the understanding of what governance entails. Again, this view could not have been expressed at a better time than now as political leaders are vital, particularly as they determine the allocation of power and money through governmental policies, establish partnerships with other stakeholders, and make decisions that can have a major impact on a nation’s well-being and its citizens.

Political leadership requires a leader to focus on a constituency’s long-term betterment, above and beyond any short-term personal gains. Thus, strong political leadership requires a mixture of charm and honesty, and the capacity to evaluate a circumstance and make a judgment based on what will be better for the majority. Above all, leadership in a democratic system needs statesmanship compared to just becoming a ‘politician’, which implies possessing the honesty and ability to stand up for what is fair, even though it means resigning from a government post or losing an election.

Then, “What makes a good political leader?” The answer to the foregoing question cannot be farfetched as a person with good political leadership skills will prove to be a successful leader who can easily distinguish between success and failure. A successful leader has a visionary dream and understands how to turn his visions into success stories in the modern world. Let’s look at some of the skills required to be successful in political leadership.

Also, given the fact that a leader is a good communicator, then, it is expedient to reiteratively ask, “Does being a politician automatically make anyone it to be a good communicator? Without resorting to denigrating our political elites, it is not an exaggeration to say that not a few of them lack what it takes to communicate their vision clearly to Nigerians and tell them where they are, and where they intend to go, in terms of governance. To put it simply, as most politicians have been unable to effectively communicate their message to the people, it is beginning to dawn on us that they are not good leaders. It is not erroneous to opine that words can get people motivated and make them do the unimaginable, and if our leaders supposedly called political leaders were making effective use of them, they would have been achieving better results

Another factor that distinguishes a politician from a leader is that a leader is honest. Honesty, no doubt, is an element that makes for a strong leader. How does a political leader demand integrity from his or her supporters when such quality is neglected? Without a doubt, leaders excel because they hold to their basic principles and convictions, and that would not be possible without ethics. Again, a leader is a decision-maker. A leader should be capable of making the right decision at the right time. Leaders take actions that have a huge effect on people. A leader should think long and hard before making a decision but stand by it once the decision is made. In a similar vein, it is expedient to opine that a leader must be able to inspire others Perhaps the toughest thing a leader to do is convince people to follow them. This will only be done by providing a clear example and encouraging the followers. We look up to them when the going gets tough and see how they. Leaders should think optimistically, and their positive attitude should be evident in their actions. A leader should keep cool under strain and retain a degree of encouragement. If he or she excels in inspiring the people, they will comfortably resolve every obstacle now and in the future. Given the fact that not all politicians are leaders, it is expedient we stop calling every politician a leader. The majority of them are not, they have at each passing political dispensation disappointed us.

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