11 Nov 2013

LEADERSHIP IN NIGERIA: CRITICISM IS NOT ENOUGH

By Ezim Osai,
Monday, November 11 2013

Take care of your thoughts,
Then, actions will take care of themselves…..
You sow your character and reap your destiny,
Therefore, your destiny is in your hands.
-Sathya Sai Baba






Nigeria has always been called the Giant of Africa from time immemorial; densely populated and very diverse, boasting of over two hundred and fifty ethnic groups. Pride of the west and loudest voice in ECOWAS; we have sat on the United Nations Security Council as a non-permanent member four times since our independence. Truly, we are a great nation despite all that has happened in recent times.

On the NTA Network News a while ago, our President used an adage I loved and I will paraphrase it here: “If you want to take over a house, you do not set dynamites and bring it down first”. What this means is that even when we do not like something or someone, we should try to criticize constructively and not slander and crucify the person when we covet their position. This is something we youths are very guilty of; we badmouth our government and insult our country on social media and multinational platforms. As my friend’s dad would say “People buy what they see”; if we keep on making our nation seem like it is at war with itself or that our government is totally useless, in ten or twenty years when we are in the same office how can we hope to change the minds of those people that our very own words poisoned? As we approach Independence Day, we should reflect, not on what Nigeria has done for us but for what we have done for her.

Leadership is not an easy thing and anybody who says otherwise does not like you. In this article, I will talk of five criteria I deem as absolutely necessary in leadership. They will not follow any particular order but we can ponder on which we have and which we should work towards acquiring.
Wisdom: Above all things a leader should be wise. Wisdom in itself is the backbone of leadership and without it, the masses are in trouble. What is wisdom by the way? It is a common word but to fulfil all righteousness I will include the dictionary meaning:
“Good sense: the ability to make sensible decisions and judgments based on personal knowledge and experience”
Good sense! What better way to put it? Having sense! Being sensible! A good leader must have sense! Be that as it may, good sense is not all there is to wisdom. A good leader should have a wise cabinet as well; if one works with fools, foolishness will rub off on him after some time. Good sense and a good cabinet is the backbone of leadership.
Patience: I cannot stress the need for patience enough. Knowing the right thing to do is one thing and waiting until the right time is another. I once read somewhere that the hardest thing to do in the world is to wait. A good leader should have a good sense of timing and have the patience to wait for things. Sometimes it may make him look weak or indecisive but that is where wisdom comes in; make the people happy or do what is best for them. The part of patience and wisdom go hand in hand and if a wise decision is carried out at the wrong time, the results may be ugly (cc Fuel Subsidy Removal Issue 2012).
Team-spirit: A good leader should be a good team player. Even dictators have teams, right-hand men and left-hand men and other minions and henchmen. Having a good team can be the difference in a competition, an organization or even a state. A good leader with a bad team is still a bad team, so also a good team with a bad leader is still a bad team. There should be communication, trust, understanding and respect between the leader and his team-members for best results. While decision-making may be the sole responsibility of the leader in some cases, a good leader should sometimes consult his team on their opinion on certain issues before proceeding. Not only does it make the team-members respect him more, it gives them a sense of importance and a sense of usefulness. No man wants to be in a place where he is not needed.
Strength: A good leader can be wise, patient, and team-spirited and so much more but if he is not strong, he will cave in under pressure and all his good works will be for naught. Strength in this scenario does not talk about just the physical strength; it also borders on mental and emotional strength as well. Sometimes people can be so difficult that it will drive a weak person mad. Leadership is not supposed to be easy and the earlier some of us realize that, the better. Leadership is fraught with sacrifice and it is only a strong person who can lead effectively without sentimental ties as all men are equal before the law.
Passion and Zeal: A good leader should have a passion and zeal for what he does. He should believe in himself even if everybody else loses faith. He should be able to keep the fire burning in his heart before he can even think of spreading it to his team and those he is leading.
Leadership skills are lacking in Nigerian youths these days and this is a serious problem that needs to be addressed. In universities, political posts are left empty in some departments and faculties and sometimes the people in power are untried and unfit. We have to be conscious about leadership and innovation in these days of our youth as some of us are soon going to be governors and presidents.
We cannot hope to be good leaders if we cannot be good followers, we must help our government to make our country a better place and contribute in our own little way.
God bless Nigeria.







Ezim Osai is a 200L Physics major at the University of Ibadan. A Taoist and a Christian, he loves Cooking, Travelling, Reading, Writing, and loves to absorb nature.

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