"The moment we [Africans] lost our languages was also the moment we lost our bodies, our gold, diamonds, copper, coffee, tea." - Ngugi wa Thiong'o

The Consequences of Neglecting The Power Given By The People - Leadership Lesson To President Buhari


In his book, The Prince, Niccolò Machiavelli described two kinds of power – power given by the nobles and power given by the people. Machiavelli believed that the power given by the people is better because the people only ask for their taxes not to be raised. They also ask not to be oppressed. 

But the nobles are insatiable. They always want to share the booty with the Prince. They see themselves as equals to the Prince. Thus, any promise renege from the prince may bring conflict, and so the prince will continue to indulge them.

Even if the power was given by the nobles, Machiavelli advised that the Prince must ensure that the people are on his side as they will serve as a protection from hostile nobles. 

Machiavelli also noted that there are usually difficulties in a principality that switches from a perceived weak government to a new government that assumes absolute power. 

I believe Nigeria has become that principality Machiavelli described in his book – The Prince. 

In the 2015 presidential election in Nigeria, a rare occurrence happened. The people and the nobles came together to elect president Buhari. They rejected president Jonathan. 

Although the lies perpetrated against Mr Jonathan prior to 2015 are unravelling, in my opinion, Jonathan was rejected because he was the nearest an Igbo person has gotten to the presidency of Nigeria. 

Igbo people are endangered species in Nigeria’s politics. Any position against Igbo nation are usually a rallying point for the rest of the nationalities that make up Nigeria. And that was why Mr Jonathan lost the 2015 presidential election. 

However, as soon as Mr Buhari was sworn in as president of Nigeria, he decided to fight the nobles, in the name of fighting corruption. But he made a fundamental error, he equally neglected the people. 

Today, the people are hungry. Their taxes have been raised. They are being oppressed and killed daily – those are the things Machiavelli warned The Prince against. 

Some of the people have started regretting why they got rid of Mr Jonathan. Some have confessed that they were better-off when they had the so called corrupt government than what Mr integrity president is offering them. 

Moreover, the people have realised the difference between a supposed weak president in a democracy and a president with absolute power in a democracy. They have been denied of their liberty. And they are unhappy. 

As for the nobles, The Prince (Buhari) has refused to share the booty with them. Buhari is even trying to take away their properties through his presidential executive order #6. 

And thus, the people and the nobles have again aligned to get rid of Buhari. When the nobles and the people join to fight The Prince, who will save him? Perhaps he is relying on Bola Tinubu. 

But Tinubu is among the over 200 ‘corrupt’ people marked to be jailed during the second term of The Prince. And Tinubu is aware of this list. Therefore, the Jagaban of Lagos will remain in APC to ensure that he drives the final nail that will seal Buhari’s political coffin. 

If only Buhari had read 'The Prince', perhaps he would have known the consequences of neglecting the power given by the people.