But nowadays, protest results show the public is angry, really angry, about a host of issues – recession, unemployment, insecurity, stall in economy, rising food prices, insensitive leaders,ballooning school fee debt, the gap between the rich and everyone else and the overwhelming sums of money influencing the electoral process and a government that just does not seem to work.
The public remains deeply divided on solutions to these vexing issues but shares a common feeling of being angry.
Many have lost faith in the capacity of the political process to produce desired results, creating an exasperating feeling of powerlessness. Political leaders speak to the public’s fears and tap into its frustration but cannot allay those fears, calm the agitation or resolve the issues that give rise to the anger.
Addressing Nigerians Monday afternoon after the anti Buhari administration protest across the nation, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, in a response filled with empathy provided insights that might help our leaders address this anger.
"WE HEAR YOU loud and clear, those who are on the streets protesting the economic situation and even those who are are not, but feel the pain of economic hardship. We hear you loud and clear. You deserve a decent life and and we are working night and day to make life easier."
"I know that uppermost in your minds today is the economic crisis, the recession for many individuals and families is real. For some it means not being able to pay school fees, for others it is not being able to afford the high cost of rice, millet, or of local or international travel. And for many of our young people the recession means joblessness, sometimes after graduating from university or polytechnic.
I know how difficult things are, and how rough business is. All my adult life I have always earned a salary, and I know what it is like when your salary simply is not enough. In every part of our nation people are making incredible sacrifices."
Osinbajo's leadership style displays what the psychologists describes as emotional intelligence, a set of attributes including self-awareness, discipline, persistence and empathy. It is a style that mobilizes the public toward a shared vision by pointing in a direction and inviting others to participate in discovering the best way to arrive at a desired destination.