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Nigerians must search carefully for the next leaders

by Business News Report

The greatest challenge facing Nigeria today is that of leadership. Nigeria needs a leader that the people can identify with and can inspire them to great heights. It is sad that 54 years after independence, Nigeria still lacks a leadership culture, without a role model for up coming ones to aspire to be like. It is either “I was drafted to be a leader by my people” or leaders have emerged as a result of ethnic arithmetic. Nigerians are suffering from the vacuum created by leaders without vision for the country.
At the recently concluded World Economic Forum conference in Dubai, a startling 86 per cent of respondents to a global Survey on the Global Agenda agree that there is leadership crisis in the world today. Why would they say this? Perhaps, because the international community has largely failed to address any major global issue in recent years. It has failed to deal with global warming, then barely dealt with the failure of the global economy, which has caused such severe problems in North America and Europe. Meanwhile, violence has been left to fester in the Middle East, the region our Survey showed is most affected and concerned about this problem. So why are we suffering such a lack of leadership?
Back home in Nigeria, in recent times, leaders at various levels have failed to address issues affecting the country. Instead of looking at the cause of problems facing the country, it is all about blame game. Nigeria in the last 30 years has failed to resolve the economic crisis that led to the introduction of the Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) of the Babangida era. It was SAP that destroyed the naira and the nation has not been able to redress the situation. All the hopes and promises of SAP were dashed by visionless leadership who pursued their personal agenda instead of the national agenda.
The various governments that followed have made the situation worse so much so that the level of unemployment in the country is frightening. Added to the unemployment situation in the country, the insurgency in the North-East has remained in the realm of blame game. It is either the insurgency is to stop the President from getting a second term or it is about islamising Nigeria. While this lack of leadership lingers, the insecurity in the country is claiming the lives of innocent children, youths and adults alike. Yet, there is no spark of leadership from any quarters to rally Nigerians against the brazen killing of Nigerians in their own country and the effrontery of a group of callous dissidents claiming and renaming parts of the country.
Nigeria’s political culture and governance have grown; its mechanisms have been plagued by decades of factional alignment, dynasty and deep corruption. In Nigeria today, 99.9 per cent of Nigerians would say that corruption is a problem; some regard dishonest leadership in Nigeria as a serious issue.

The deeper you go into these endemic failures in Nigeria, the harder it is for anyone to emerge as a strong leader in the eyes of the populace. Every Nigerian that goes into public office is forced to play the game the way it’s built, popularly called the Nigeria factor – which is inevitably in the interest of the system, it is only the people in the system that thrive and survive; and rarely in the interest of the people. In Nigeria, the only people with the institutional power to break through are those admitted into the system by their godfathers.
Globally, the best leaders know they must mediate, listen and include the opinions of others before making a decision. This is not the case with Nigeria. Those in position of power in Nigeria have become adamant to the point that they would now say that whatever is the issue, no matter how bad, it will take just two weeks to fizzle out. If that is not the case, how can you explain that 230 young girls were abducted from their school since April this year and all our leaders keep saying is we are on top of it? The matter is almost a forgotten issue. How can a part of a country be occupied by miscreants and the national armed forces are pleading helplessness?
In Nigeria just as the global survey has revealed indeed, the only people to rank lower than government leaders are religious leaders. Many Nigerians have concerns that religious leaders are abusing their positions, and many more believe that these religious personalities cannot be of help in addressing Nigeria’s problems. This is because there has been such a swell in religious violence recently, with the rise of terrorism, that people are becoming wary of religious leaders.
The question then is, what skills do our leaders need to win back the confidence of their populations? The World Economic Forum Survey respondents identified several virtues that a leader should have. A Nigerian who wants to emerge as a leader of the people must have a global inter-disciplinary perspective; must engage in long-term empirical planning; have a strong communication skills; must be able to prioritise social justice and well-being over financial growth; must have empathy for his people; courage to take decisions; morality; and a collaborative nature. Looking at the person emerging from this profile, it’s not enough to simply be inspirational; the best leader must mediate, listen and include the opinions of others before making a decision. Nigerians must be on the lookout for such a personality.

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