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ANAMBRA 2014: The Governor we need by Obiogbolu

 

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LEADERSHIP IN THE 21ST CENTURY FOR CYON. DELIVERED BY DR. ALEX OBIOGBOLU ON AUGUST 24, 2012.

INTRODUCTION:

Leadership is defined in Webster’s dictionary as the act of leading or as the position of a leader, or management. It defines “Leader” as someone who acts as a guide or a directing head or Chief.

Leadership must not be misconstrued with rulership as Webster’s defines Ruler as monarch, sovereign or head of state or someone who dominates. Leaving the websters dictionary, we only need to visit the Holy Book in the new testament book of Mathew, chapter 20 verse 25 where our Lord, Jesus Christ clarified on these two concepts. He said, “Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them”. In rulership, you impose and exert over your subjects whereas in leadership, you inspire and motivate your followers.

The topic for this esteemed conference is most apt for the present times, as our country, Nigeria faces many challenges. These are many that span from corruption, insecurity, declining morals, declining educational standards to mention but a few.

Albeit, I wish to state that the greatest challenge facing our nation in this 21st century remains the provision of good leadership. It is quite easy yet lazy in thought, to assume that this challenge of good leadership refers to only matters pertaining to politics such as Presidency, Governors or Council Chairmen. Were one to take an overview of all spheres of our national life, one will discover the gaping vacuum in leadership in all these spheres. Looking at the quality of leadership today in the educational sector, the business community, the judiciary to mention but a few, anyone would agree that lack of good leadership presents the greatest challenge. That a nation so blessed with natural resources which include crude oil, coal, gold; fertile land that yields the richest crops such as cocoa and rubber; and lacking in natural disasters would be populated by over 90% persons below the poverty level places our nation in dire need for a fundamental change.

WHO IS A LEADER

Leadership has its spirit that is within all of us. No one is born with or inherits leadership spirit. Rather, it is endowed by God in all of mankind when God, according to the book of Genesis, said; “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth” (Gen 1:26). Therefore, the spirit is in all of us but must be developed, and each one of us is destined to fulfill a purpose in life, and this purpose determines the area (may call it domain) where we are expected to exhibit leadership.

A leader does not control, manipulate or impose as we erroneously believe in our society, but persuades, convinces and inspires. He does not necessarily seek power but passion to excel in his area or domain.

As I stated that it is endowed in all of us, not a few will ask. Who then will be the followers if all are endowed with leadership spirit? I tell you solemnly, that all of us are followers with leadership hidden within us, and only those who discover it can release it to become leaders. Many who claim or we call leaders are merely followers who adorn the garb of “leaders” because of the positions or roles they play in their domains(sphere). An example is a Vice Chancellor whom all manner of persons praised and exhorted with some even paying hundreds of thousands of naira to place for him congratulatory messages, and then is later ridiculed, condemned and called terrible names upon leaving the office by the very people that praised him before. He was obviously a follower adorned in the borrowed garb of leaders by virtue of the office and acted as a ruler in the illusion he was acting as a leader.

 

WHAT IS EXPECTED FROM A LEADER

Leadership has a lot to do with our mental attitude and I shall come to highlight some qualities expected to provoke a good leader.

Albeit, we must take notice that a leader must be prepared to do right always, to tell the truth at all time, to consult people all the time and to address their needs all the time. A leader must educate himself on any topic, discern insincerity and set aside his or her self interest for the common good. Good leadership does not permit a leader to provide for himself using the common resources, rather it requires that his services are offered for the common good.

In fact, the shortest route to good leadership is service and again, the Holy Book, the book of Mathew chapter 20, verses 26-27 expatiates by admonishing us; “It shall not be so among you; but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant”. The reverse is the case we find in our society today as the leader wants to be served rather than to serve.

Leadership demands a price from the leader, as all his deeds or words are always judged and or interpreted by others. Thus, a leader cannot just change from what he has professed or perform a somersault as the society extracts that he be true to himself and all. A leader must live by what he professes, even though in Nigeria, it seems we are prepared to lie, cheat and even steal our way to the top. In fact, to understand our quality of leadership in Nigeria, you need not be a whiz kid to identify that more money has been stolen through the pen than through the gun(armed robbery) in this country.

WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO BE A GOOD LEADER?

One then wonders what these leaders profess. No! they profess integrity, honesty, and transparency but still steal us blind. Thus, it is necessary to take notice that our belief system is most important for an exemplary and good leadership to be established.

BELIEFS: We need to understand the concept of our creation, the purpose for our sojourn on this earth and the worth of our life to develop a belief system that can spurn a good leader. What we believe about ourselves shapes our world, as understanding our true worth promotes our self confidence as we trust in our abilities, and pan out the fear factor that tends to limit us. Our beliefs in life are a product of our thoughts from our mind. It is worthy of note, that we do not believe something until it is registered in to our subconscious mind where it becomes a conviction that now controls our attitudes.

Competence & Vision: Therefore, no one can ever achieve anything beyond the limits of his beliefs as one’s range of vision( things seen beyond the natural eyes) is determined by one’s belief. Can one set his vision on being the biggest cement manufacturer in Africa when you believe that your purpose on earth is to be a priest? Everyone who wants to be a good leader must have his vision set on that sphere he desires and combine it with hard work, which breeds competence.

Passion separates the doers from the dreamers who have set their vision range only to relax. Passion is quite an important quality for leadership as it is the benefactor for our stamina and perseverance. It is what makes one state; “if I have to wait ten years to get there, so be it”. It is the factor that makes you committed to your vision, something that makes others describe you as obsessed, and provokes you to face a job or task you are saddled with as a lifetime assignment. Passion blinds you against your fears as you see them no more on the road to your accomplishments.

Focus: It helps build your focus , for the sharper you focus, the sharper you are as a leader in your domain. We must learn to focus more on our tasks or leadership role, and less on the distractions and diatribes thrown from the sidelines as it advances us closer to our accomplishments.

Perseverance is akin to your willingness and capacity to walk alone. Your belief in the potential for change and success, and the ability to wait for it is the result of perseverance. This always provides you with the ability to bounce back whenever problems arise.

Compassion: In perseverance, a good leader must exhibit compassion, as not all will be on the same page with him all the time. Compassion is that which shapes your manners and attitudes towards other people that either draws them to you or repels them away from you.

Contentment: We should all pray for the spirit of contentment, the only virtue that allows us to derive a sense of satisfaction from the success of others. This spirit is lacking in many and its shortage has remained the precursor to murders, assassinations, backstabbing and deceit prevalent in our society today.

Self Discipline, remains the highest form of government as it is the government that governs even the most powerful leaders of people. It is the self control “switch” and a set of self imposed standards and restrictions aimed at keeping our human greed and weaknesses in check. Self discipline starts with the control of our thoughts, the workshop for all manner of intentions and plans both good and bad.

CONCLUSION:

In all spheres of life in Nigeria today, from politics, public service, houses of God, business, education, to judiciary to mention but a few, we are in dire need of people who are prepared to sacrifice their “small” comfort and stand to lead and demand for the right things to be done. Following a reflection of all these sectors, one will readily concur that the various leaders have fallen far short of our expectations.

So my brothers and sisters, I ask of you all here today. To those of you, leaders in CYON, what manner of leadership have you exhibited? Are you barking orders or inspiring others? Are you pointing at the right direction or are you just a follower camouflaging in borrowed garb of leadership? Are you just filling that position or have you imprinted the correct convictions on others and inspired them?

We must all leave here taking notice that all the money you have can make you very rich, all the power you appropriate can make you very powerful, but all these can never make you a good Leader. You can inherit all the wealth and power there are but you can never inherit leadership. It is in all of us, yet we have to discover this silent spirit within us and develop it for the common good.

 

I wish all of you lots of God’s abiding grace as you search your souls hereafter.

Alexander Obiogbolu

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