Why do politicians read from a script?

letterSIR: To wing speeches is quickly becoming a fad today, especially for celebrities called at a moment’s notice to deliver speeches. The initiators do not at those instances realise that it takes weeks, even months to prepare, practise and give good speeches.

All they care about is to ride on the crest of the cream of the crop to advance a cause. People who wing speeches are always conscious of self and careful not to make mistakes.

The audience takes the back stage. Self overrides whatever interests the presentation seeks to address. Another way is to address a targeted audience through power point, it comes highly recommended. This is so because bullet points are made and an experienced public speaker uses the points as a guide to discuss major themes.

Presenters hardly miss out on major points, and connection with the audience is guaranteed, latitude is given for “any question,” and the result is a mutual beneficial relationship.

If politicians can’t connect with the people by talking to them eyeball-to-eyeball but must bury their heads in their scripts in public fora, then how qualified are they to seek public office? After all that profession is about setting up a talk shop always and not about setting up a reader’s club. You would think only politicians are guilty; so also are civil servants who represent politicians at public functions, they read from scripts word-for-word, traditional rulers, the new generation of lecturers in our tertiary institutions.

Why do almost all Nigerian politicians at formal occasions read their speeches? Even though we do not expect them to use power point presentations in a stadium to address a crowd, wouldn’t it be nice for them to write out bullet points of key deliverables and speak on these instead of reading like academics? If politicians can’t connect with the people by talking to them eyeball-to-eyeball but must bury their heads in their scripts in public fora, then how qualified are they to seek public office? After all that profession is about setting up a talk shop always and not about setting up a reader’s club.

You would think only politicians are guilty; so also are civil servants who represent politicians at public functions, they read from scripts word-for-word, traditional rulers, the new generation of lecturers in our tertiary institutions.

Ours is quickly becoming a country of script readers by politicians. No wonder the populace does not benefit from their tours of duty, there is no connection between both and their feelings (masses) are not worth a zack. • Simon Abah, Port Harcourt



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