There are certain traits voters look out for in a potential president: a strong vision for the future, the ability to get things done, some swag, and effective communication skills.
On top of all that, it’s also crucial that a potential president isn’t so much of an introvert to the point of shying away from engaging the people whose votes he needs to get into office.
Nigerians already have experience with shy presidents who don’t engage enough with the public — one of them is still sitting in Aso Rock Villa communicating with press statements and pre-recorded video broadcasts.
To avoid history repeating itself, Nigerians must start to question the dodging pattern of the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Bola Tinubu.
Here’s a quick rundown of his public engagement record since he won his party’s ticket.
The annual conference of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) was the first public gathering of presidential candidates after political parties concluded their primary elections in June.
The NBA offered its platform to six candidates, including Tinubu, to address Nigerians on their big plans. Everyone showed up, except Tinubu who sent his running mate, Kashim Shettima, to represent him. Shettima himself raised some eyebrows for showing up like this:
Shettima further goofed by implying he would be in charge of the armed forces as the vice president. Tinubu’s failure to attend the conference predictably caused some backlash and possibly even made it more likely he’ll miss future public gatherings with his opponents.
The National Peace Committee (NPC) invited all the presidential candidates to sign a peace accord in Abuja on September 29th, 2022. As you can already guess, Tinubu failed to show up there. He sent his running mate one more time to represent him. Shettima’s fashion didn’t ruffle any feathers this time around.
Tinubu missed the signing because he was away in the United Kingdom “resting”. This rest period stretched into two weeks and prompted rumours that he was sick and receiving medical treatment.
To keep everyone’s mouth shut, he released a short video of himself riding a gym bicycle:
Back to Nigeria
After his gym bicycle stunt met widespread mockery online, Tinubu made what we imagine he considers a triumphant return to the country, fully energised to start his campaign.
He thinks he’s James Bond
When he launched the APC’s Women Presidential Campaign Council in Abuja, he said whoever’s demanding a change of party at the national level should keep their dirty mouths shut.
Finally, the presidential candidate was well and truly ready to kick things off and engage with Nigerians, right?
On October 12th, 2022, presidential candidates appeared at the 52nd Annual Accountants’ Conference of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) in their third public gathering since August. Guess who didn’t show up again? Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
He didn’t even send Shettima to represent him this time. A moderator of the event mentioned that Tinubu’s team promised he’d be at the event before it ended, but he never showed up.
What’s Bola Tinibu hiding?
Out of three high-profile public engagements Tinubu has been invited to share his plans with Nigerians, he’s not shown up once. He’s also the only one of the three yet to sit down for a TV interview, whether live or pre-recorded. And he also doesn’t have a campaign manifesto for a comprehensive discussion of his plans.
Tinubu’s pattern of behaviour has raised concerns that he also won’t turn up for the presidential debate when it’s time for that. We’d hate to speculate the reasons for his dodgy behaviour but it should worry voters.
Tinubu’s claim to Nigeria’s Iron Throne is that it’s his turn to become president but every time he gets a chance to make his point, he turns up missing. It’s up to Nigerians to decide in 2023 if they want to reward that kind of behaviour.