So the Indonesian president Joko Widodo got stuck in traffic for more than 30 minutes five days ago. He was on his way to an important state event-because what other kinds of “state events” do presidents have?
Alas, there was traffic on the road. The kind of car to car traffic that inspires people to just order food from roadside hawkers, get comfy in the car and resign themselves to raising their children and living their lives knowing they aren’t going anywhere in the nearest future. The kind of traffic jams, it turns out, Indonesia is famous for.
So, important state event and jammed traffic. What is the president of a moderately-sized third world country to do?
Let me tell you what he did not do.
He did not proceed to start flogging motorcyclists and pedestrians like a common member of the House of Reps would order his military detail to do in our wonderful, dear old country. He did not go on twitter to start raving about how his citizens are so disrespectful they dared to be on the road at the same time as him. He did not, as one Twitter user quipped, make his citizens carry their cars on their heads just so Citizen Number One could get to his destination.
No, this president just got down and took a 3km walk to the military event he was headed for. He just got down, and walked through traffic like a job seeker on a normal Tuesday-in the scorching heat. Of course, the rest of his entourage (including the Police Chief that should have flogged the traffic aside) had no option but to walk along with him. As the leaders do, so do we!
He used the opportunity to freet his citizens along the way and arrived at his venue winded, tired, but in very good spirits.
Would this ever happen in Nigeria? Maybe on a snowy January day in hell!