Dear Mr. President
I voted for you during the general elections of 2010. Therefore I sincerely hope and trust that you will take this letter / document in good faith. It is not a criticism of yourself or your government.
Actually, to be honest, it is.
But I do so with respect and love. More importantly this is a document of advice.
I believe that the three of the most important elements of governance are;
Love – For the people
Service – Serve the people
Communicate – With and to the people
Everything – all policies and decisions that a government makes must always stem from the three elements above.
A government must always be seen to be compassionate towards the people it is governing. It must not be seen to be aloof or contemptuous towards the people.
Unfortunately the words and general attitude that flowed from ministers and governors during the week beginning 9th January 2012 were not only cold hearted in nature but also displayed an awful arrogance and an almost wicked contempt for the people of Nigeria.
Government must be sensitive to the plight and the financial welfare of the people at all times. When government negates to do this it is simply alienating itself from the very people who elected it into office.
The large turn-out of the 2010 elections was the beginning of the re-awakening of the Nigerian polity. The fact that so many people turned out to vote was a clear sign that the Nigerian populace is now becoming more determined to vote into office those that they believe can best serve the interest of Nigerians.
The recent protests we witnessed across the country is simply the next step in the re-awakening of the Nigerian polity. The Nigerian people are now finally beginning to recognise that democracy means ‘power by the people, for the people’. Your government needs to take serious note of this development in the maturity of the Nigerian electorate. No longer will the public tolerate governments that are insensitive to their needs and their plight; not to talk of the governments that harbour or accept excessive expenditure by its’ dignitaries.
Government must show its love for the people by;
- Governing in their best interest
- Reducing excessive government expenditure by at least 50%
- Communicating with the people and to the people in a manner that is humble and respectful
The biggest lesson that all serving governors and ministers must learn from the past few days is that they are only in their various posts because the people put them there. You are only president because the people elected you to be president. Senators and House members are only in their posts because the people put them there. Hence, you and the members of your executive council are not our ‘masters’ but are in fact our ‘servants’ – you are there to serve the people.
Your Excellency – Please be assured that the Nigerian electorate finally understands this. You will need to take this very seriously if you are to fulfil your true potential.
A government is there to serve the people. Unfortunately in Nigeria this notion seems to be entirely upside down. Ministers and governors roam around the country with their various displays or largess and arrogance as if they are the masters and we are the servants. This is WRONG.
As long as this attitude continues, Nigeria will never make any real and sustained progress. As long as this continues the Nigerian populace will never trust or feel any kind of care or compassion towards its government. In short, your government is largely seen to be one that treats its electorate with disdain and contempt.
The whole of government needs to be re-programmed in the following as follows;
- Who am I
- Why am I here
- Who and where is my constituent
- How can I help my constituent
Government needs to be thoroughly mentally re-programmed so that it starts serving the people rather than itself.
The mentality and attitude of most government officials is completely wrong. The biggest threat you face right now is the fact that the Nigerian polity has finally woken up. Therefore the status quo will no longer be tolerated.
Communication is key Mr. President.
Communication between the government and the people was poor in the months preceding the implementation of the removal of fuel subsidy and even worse during the strike.
The greatest show of respect a government can give its people is to communicate with them.
Communication is key. Interestingly the most important and powerful way to communicate is to listen – both with your eyes and with your ears. The man that does not listen is the worst kind of communicator. I coach and train members of staff of large corporates’ and multinationals. The courses I facilitate include Effective Sales, Communications Skills and Negotiation Skills. Before commencing the actual training I like to spend at least 45 minutes chatting with the delegates in order to ascertain exactly what their roles are, whether they like what they do and what they hope to be doing in the future. By doing this I am able to discern the levels of the competences as well as their mind-set; how they see themselves; what they think of their current job and position, and also what they want to be doing in the future. I must point out that this first one hour is probably one the most important parts of the course. Why?
- It enables me to show them that I care about them
- It enables me to gain their trust
- It enables them to feel free with me
- It enables me to discern where they are week and where they are strong in terms of the various competencies
- It enables me to know which sector of the course I should focus on more
Communication is Key: Listening is Key
There are some key points that a government should always communicate to the people.
- Vision – Vision of the government for Nigeria
- Mission – what the government wants to achieve
- Policies – policies that will help to achieve the mission and the vision
- Methodology – the methods that will be used to ensure that the policies work
- Results – the desired results as well as interim, yearly and on-going results
Yes – it does sound a little like running a corporate entity. But this in effect, is what running a country is all about – being the CEO of a major blue chip organisation.
You need a Communications / PR Minister. The person will effectively be your ears on the ground as well as the people’s voice within government. He or she will communicate government’s vision and policies to the public. Remember – the most important aspect of communication is ‘listening’. Therefore the Communications / PR Minister must continuously find ways to listen intently to the mood and views of the public. He or she must be their trusted friend as well as your voice and ears on the ground. The person cannot be arrogant or proud. He or she must be humble – a man / woman of the people.
In short, the Communications / PR Minister will be the ‘go between’ – the connection between the government and the people. What will this do for your government?
- Keep it in tune with what’s going on
- Enable it to relate with all segments of the public
- Endear the government to the people
- Create and develop trust
- Enable it to implement policies effectively
The commercial / PR Minister will also be the main point-man during times of crisis.
During the past few decades the electorate has slowly but steadily lost trust in Nigerian Governments.
Credibility has been lost. Confidence is saturated, and trust no longer exists.
Finally Mr. President, I urge you to read through this document again, and if nothing else simply remember these three key words.
LOVE SERVICE COMMUNICATION