What a season of letters this is! When a leader grows his successor, he nurtures his legacy. President Obasanjo’s greatest political failure is Jonathan. It is his most enduring legacy, a thousand letters cannot change it.
Where would a leader be without followers? Leadership without people is nothing. Leadership is all about people, it is not only about how visionary a leader is, it bigger than a leader’s mission, it is more than set goals. A true leader knows the people he leads. He feels them and can comprehend or experience their emotions. Unfortunately, our rulers spend all their energy trying to oppress us or sometimes impress us when they could have channeled their energy to learning more about us whom they lead. They have no idea that followers view their leaders in terms of personal connection and the personal impact made on their lives by their policies, actions and inactions.
After the civil war, Nigerian rulers failed to understand their followers hold the ace when it comes to how much they will allow anyone to lead them. This is because when someone wields power, people will most likely do as he says. They also make a conscious on how well they carry out your commands and for how long. Our rulers inability to understand and appreciate the basic precepts of leadership as requisites for effectiveness that has led to the emergence of transactional leaders. These are “Nigerian rulers past and present who are only interested in formal authority. That is why our honeymoon with them barely lasts three months after which their authority diminishes. Invariably, they promote incompetence. We only obey their command because they say so, not because we want to do the right thing. By virtue of this, we are only good at achieving the minimum while selling our nation short. To our misfortune, we have always managed to get selfish leaders with no iota of humility in them; humility is a vital part of character because it keeps ego out of the way.
Everywhere aspiring leaders play the humility game, only that we are more steeped in grand deception and chameleonic appearances. Many Nigerians of voting age fell for President Jonathan’s “I have no shoes” zinger. They bought his meek exterior and focus group tested shoe construct and here we are today! Fortunately Nigeria does not define leadership. Leadership, is a relationship. Until leaders reveal who they are, they cannot understand who their followers are. Nigeria with its diverse ethnic groups presents its own challenges and unique opportunities. The ethnic diversity ought to be a relationship building goldmine. Instead, the challenges of diversity are often magnified to the detriment of the opportunities; all for ill and exploitation. Have we ever had anyone in power in this country who value us as individuals? Have we had anyone in power who is tolerant and willing to investigate differing perceptions and positions objectively? Have we anyone who is not intimately an ethnic champion in disguise? These are the reasons why we have not produced powerful leaders whom we all adore. Powerful leaders emerge when they are able to leverage diversity because each person or group brings unique perceptions, experiences, strengths and challenges to the governance process. After over fifty years, we are seeing through the charade. Of course, Nigerians are smarter than they give us credit for; we can tell when someone is pretending to act in our interest.
We stand at a crossroad because of the many narcissistic pretenders who selfishly ran us aground because they do not lead collaboratively. These breed we have blessed ourselves with feel threatened by genuine and real people who are eager to change this country. They go all out to scuttle their emergence. If and when they manage to beat the odds and emerge, they are usually suffocated and forced out. Obasanjo became a writer of letters today only when he became a victim of our complexity. When he had the chance, he viewed everything from the narrow prism of ego trips and he played for broke in a zero-sum game. In the hurry in which he had to leave, he had little time left to vet a fitting successor. He was looking for a saint who wouldn’t plunder the foreign reserve and an acolyte who will bell the cats of the Niger Delta. He got us a man dying on the vine and a thieving avenger. That is our sad story. We are unusually blessed with egomaniacs and short-minded rulers who do not see collaboration as an opportunity but a threat. They do not see how collaboration with lawmakers, technocrats, leaders of thought and the leaders of government agencies allows a president to achieve more for the country. They gave no idea that leading requires expanding our view beyond ourselves. They do not believe that successful leaders must remain desperate for excellence, be magnanimous with followers and do not sabotage team members in other arms of government as in the Jonathan/Amaechi imbroglio.
Col.Eric Kail in his thoughts listed reflection as the last pillar of character based leadership. Reflection is thinking back on one’s experiences and assigning meaning to them. Reflection lends us introspection that goes beyond thinking. Reflection lets us understand how the events of our life shape the way in which we see the world, ourselves and others; it is essential for any leader and it factors into his success. This country needs a leader who understands the value of reflection on daily basis and not years after he’s left the scene. Reflection enables us to match our performance to the potential we hold. It is that which helps a leader to strive for the for the good of others. We can’t have a leader who submits almost N3billion Naira as travel budget leading us through this economic doldrums because he does not know what we are going through individually and collectively and does not give a damn!
What can we do? Enough of the blame game. Whoever assumes position of authority in this country or elsewhere, was once a follower. The greatest attribute any follower can give is the ability to tell the truth and stand by it. Can that be said of you? Will you always do the right thing and do things right? Saying the truth no matter what found the tight things and doing things right is the place to start in 2014. Be determined to do these things in your home, in your neighborhood and begin the change process from within.
It has been a wonderful opportunity sharing my thoughts on sociopolitical issues with you every Tuesday for the last seven months. Your readership and feedback has enriched me more than I can ever have words for, thank you. I will be away on holidays till January 7th. Keep your faith in a strong and united Nigeria. I wish you and yours Merry Christmas and a fruitful New Year. God bless Nigeria!
Email: olufunmilayo @ gmail.com
Support PREMIUM TIMES' journalism of integrity and credibility
Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.
For continued free access to the best investigative journalism in the country we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.
By contributing to PREMIUM TIMES, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.
TEXT AD: To advertise here . Call Willie +2347088095401...