Garba Shehu Urges Nigerians to Moderate Expectations of Political Leaders

by David Okoye

Garba Shehu, a former presidential assistant, counselled Nigerians to temper their expectations for political leaders’ performance, particularly that of President Bola Tinubu. Shehu brought up President Muhammadu Buhari’s “crisis of expectations” while speaking at the 21st Daily Trust Annual Dialogue in Abuja.

Shehu emphasised that it is unreasonable to expect politicians to satiate every request and he asked Nigerians to reconsider their expectations. He cited the significant reduction in journey time for travellers from three days to six hours for the Eastern Region as evidence of the transformative impact on infrastructure, drawing on the Buhari era.

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The former media aide emphasized that while leaders can achieve much, expecting them to fulfill every desire is “simply inhuman.” He pointed to Buhari’s effective policy on rice importation, leading to increased domestic production and surplus for West Africa.

Shehu’s remarks emphasise the significance of objectively evaluating a leader’s aptitude. He urged everyone to recognise that, despite their best efforts, leaders are only capable of doing so much. Reflecting on the positive outcomes of certain efforts, Shehu emphasised the need to recognise progress while bearing in mind the limitations imposed by governance.

Given Nigeria’s political environment, Shehu’s call for moderate expectations makes sense given that being a leader comes with challenges and compromises. Lowering public expectations can promote a more reasonable evaluation of leaders’ performance and a deliberate and fruitful discussion about governance. The message resonates because it provides a pertinent reminder that, even if leaders have a have a significant impact, sustained advancement and national development nevertheless require teamwork and reasonable expectations.

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