EFFECTIVE LEADERSHIP: A CASE FOR NIGERIAN LEADERS
By Adeolu C. Alupogun-Iran
In this article I will be tilting more to the academic work than a journalistic stance. Reason being that it will avail me the ample opportunity to be casual and simple for better comprehension. It is an aspect of Nigeria that has been adjudged to be reason for the occurrence of most if not all anomalies that have been perpetuated in this country. It has been globally known that ineptitude leadership is one of the deadly evil that has befallen this nation. It is usually said that a problem known is half solved but not in this country.
Before I move any further, I would like to make bare what leadership really entails. In the word of Alan Keith, a British actor and radio presenter ‘‘Leadership is ultimately about creating a way for people to contribute to making something extraordinary happen.’’ Leadership is the process of social influence in which one person can enlist the aid and support of others in the accomplishment of a common task. According to Ken ‘SKC’ Ogbonnia ‘‘effective leadership is the ability to successfully integrate and maximise available resources within internal and external environment for the attainment of organisational or societal goals.’’ Please take into cognisance in all of the three definitions above one recurrent word evident in them. The fact that, leaders do not only lead but he must do so, that is, lead to achieve goals and those goals must be a common one. Common in this sense denote a feast that all and sundry must benefit from.
In other words, before a set of people could be rallied round there must be a vision which translates to a goal for the people to accomplish. As such, leaders ought to be the custodian of vision, if he must be effective. In the light of these definitions, it is evident that Nigerian leaders are bereaved of visions, capable of transforming this nation to a world giant. Therefore, our government is without set goals. It is pathetic to note here that, the absence of a common goal has given birth to individual goals. It is not surprising that a handful of Nigerian leaders no matter how lowly placed only set goals for their purse, relatives and people with affinity. Just like the biblical oil upon Aaron that flows from his head through his beard down to the tip of his skirt.
A leader is a person who rally people towards a specific result. Leaders are recognised by their capacity for caring for others, clear communication and commitment to persist. This for about three decades or more have been obviously absent and when noticeable it comes under serious persecution. The recent axing of Sen. Bola Tinubu the former Governor of Lagos State and National leader of Action Congress of Nigeria is a perfect instance in this regard. A government that frown at criticism set sails to damnation. The Nigeria government and her pilots must understand that criticism only comes when symptom of delusion is noticeable. And opposition is to keep the government healthy and on their toes. It is to be embraced and not attacked. That is why the principle of checks and balances is well entrenched in our constitution.
Sun Tzu a Chinese General and renowned author once painted vividly major attribute of leadership like this ‘‘leadership is a matter of intelligent, trustworthiness, humaneness, courage and discipline…Reliance on intelligence alone results in rebelliousness. Exercise of humaneness alone results in weakness. Fixation on trust results in folly. Dependence on the strength of courage results in violence. Excessive discipline and sternness in command result in cruelty. When one has all five virtues together, each appropriate to its function, then one can be a leader.’’
In this present day Nigeria, where the fear of Boko Haram is the beginning of wisdom. President Jonathan has not appropriated these five virtues as a whole, but he has single them out, therefore not achieving the desired result. Since his assumption of office we have seen rebelliousness, we have seen weakness and folly as result of his failure to harness all of them as a whole. Bisi Olawunmi in The Nation newspaper publication on 25th Sept, 2011 drives home the point more, she wrote; ‘‘President Goodluck Jonathan is an enigma of sorts. When the populace expect him to show purposeful anger and let the hammer fall on official wanting in their assignments, he engages in equivocation. Some other times his agility to act by treating rule of law as an ass and giving it a butt confounds an opposition that literally goes gaga in its reaction.’’
At 51, we could have truly been the giant of Africa; we could have truly been an enviable economy. We could have been among the first world countries, if we ever dreamt of it. Sadly enough, if we ever did, then we never woke up from that dream.
Leaders are constant and accomplished dreamer. The force of vision is the wheel that drives the heart towards success. Unfortunately, decades after this country was conceived we remain lurked in dreamland. However, our leaders have another opportunity to dream again and this time translate it into reality. Perhaps, this poser will jolt them out of their deep slumber. What would posterity say about us who lead today? Perhaps, being a history student has made me so alive to posterity that I can ever imagine!
Indeed, posterity hunts, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida staged a come back but posterity shattered that stage upon which he stood. This is why leaders at all time must have foresight. Till tomorrow Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Nelson Mandela and all forthright African nationalists would continually be remembered, celebrated and studied not only because they dare to dream but because they translate them into reality to affect lives even if you were at the remotest part of the nation.
Today, Lagos State is indeed the centre of excellence. It is the unbelievable demonstration of what Nigeria should be. Purposeful leadership by Gov. Babatunde Fashola is a crucial key to what the entire nation needs. Please take a moment to imagine if all the 36 States of the federation has such a visionary leader. You can’t possibly capture the extent of geometric progress that will be recorded in Nigeria. I bet you; if this has been the case, there would have been little for federal government to do. Good and purposeful leadership is quite germane to sustainable development