21 January 2019
President Muhammadu Buhari’s two completely inept performances on television in the space of a month have left his handlers and spin-doctors scrambling for excuses with the presidential (s)election less than a month away.
Buhari is seeking a second term and his incoherence, inability to answer simple questions and general cluelessness about what is going on around him have been laid to bare in those two television appearances. Many Nigerians are questioning his fitness for the job and it has forced the likes of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, a lawyer by trade, to mount a defence that seems like an exercise in futility, considering the evidence before the eyes of many Nigerian viewers.
Osinbajo claimed that: “President Buhari is not an orator. My business [Law] is oratory.”
Many Nigerians wouldn’t complain if Buhari’s only problem was oratory. He has difficulties hearing, difficulties understanding and difficulties staying focused. Those difficulties that manifested themselves clearly in the interviews he faced suggest that he can’t cope with the more complex and more rigorous challenges involved with running Nigeria.
So Osinbajo was being disingenuous to show this as a simple matter of oratorical flourish. That said, communication skills are a basic requirement of leadership. The Centre for Creative Leadership states: “Communication is a core leadership function. Effective communication and effective leadership are closely intertwined. Leaders need to be skilled communicators in countless relationships at the organizational level, in communities and groups, and sometimes on a global scale.
“You need to think with clarity, express ideas, and share information with a multitude of audiences. You must learn to handle the rapid flows of information within the organization, and among customers, partners, and other stakeholders and influencers.”
Buhari falls down flat on his face on this score and it is clearly not about oratory. He is unable to think with clarity, unable to express ideas and can’t share even basis information with the people he wants to vote for him. The evidence is right before the eyes of Nigerians. And they would rather believe their eyes than lying lawyers that specialise in deception.