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Leadership in Nigeria

Of all walks of life, if there is anything that Nigerians are unanimous about, it is the fact that Nigeria has a stunted growth. Countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia and many others that were at the same development level with her in the 60’s during the peak of decolonisation process have since gone ahead on the human, material and infrastructural development scales. In contrast, Nigeria, the most populated black nation in the world appears to be on a steady declines and decay.

Leadership style plays a key role in uplifting any human society or holding down the wheel of progress.  It is the foundation that determines progress or the absence of it.

Indeed, this may as well be a true statement on ‘servant leadership’; applying the instruments of authority for the benefit of the down-trodden and weak as well as taming the excesses of the powerful individuals, and establishing institutions in order to bring about a just and balanced society.

What are the philosophical/ideological basis and the manifestations of the dominant leadership style in Nigeria? Do they conform to the leadership style and the world view of a man who can be honourably referred to as being truthful and trustworthy? The answer is NO.

In Nigeria today, leadership across the board from local to national level is all about the well-being of the leaders and their cronies and the entrenchment of their rules by crook means. Their misrule is also manifested in the spate of onslaughts against perceived opponents while in this process, the interests and well-being of the society is undermined or even ignored. This ought not to be so, as the purpose of leadership is about the well-being of the society.

Service has thus taken the backstage and the motivation for a spring to the public offices, both elective and opponent appears to the craze for ill-gotten wealth. Today, the most lucrative vocation is politics. It is also the easiest means of making money. If anyone doubts this, such person simply needs to go through our daily newspapers as well as weekly magazines to read about the large-scale looting of the treasury by those entrusted with the leadership of this country, past and present. It is necessary for our public officers to take a cue from this and re-dedicate themselves to the nation and the people. The negative image of Nigeria amongst nations as having rogues and corrupt people will not abate until the leadership leads the way of living a life of transparency.

Several years after the advent of the civil rule, institutions of government in Nigeria are still in the hands of the rich and the powerful. The weak are left in the cold unprotected by government. This ought not to be so if we are really desirous of building a just society. It is important to note that late and former President Umaru Yar’adua was a ‘servant leader’ when in office and this is beyond the realm of slogans. We also hope that leaders at the lower level will henceforth have it in mind that out of millions of qualified Nigerians, they are in the position of authority by the permission of God. They should therefore fulfil their aspect of the social contract by giving selfless service in accordance with their oath of office. Nigeria has been stagnated for too long and it is high time we all, and particularly those in leadership turned a new leaf so that the country can take its rightful position in the comity of progressive and forward looking nations of the world. When that time comes, Nigeria will be proud of their nationality unlike the current trend which breeds delusion.

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