Leadership according to an online dictionary, dictionary.com is referred to as “the position or function of a leader… ability to lead…and act or instance of leading, guidance, direction”.It could also infer a process in which one could exhibit the assistance and support of others in accomplishing a task, whether common or ambiguous.It is often said in discussion circles that “we have leaders and we also have leaders’ which gives the notion that while some leaders have proven to exercise ‘leadership’ in its real sense, some have taken advantage of it and totally mis-fired and mis-used the functionality of leadership.Leaders are expected to be focused, task-result oriented to meet certain goals, providing step-by step- solutions to problems and ma king sure strictly that deadlines are met.
The question that should run through our minds is- could the above be equated to our leaders here in Nigeria?In as much as it could be clearly stated here that Nigeria has had leaders whose leadership style has near-depicted the above, but majority of our leaders deserve to be back-lashed as they have made Nigerians a laughing stock to the international community.From Nnamdi Azikiwe who reigned in 1960-1963 to President Goodluck Jonathan, Nigeria has boasted of men and women who have bossed over various positions of leadership. Their stories whether past or present, are either sweet or sour.
While not wanting to limit the issue of leadership to that of the highest office in the land, it is pertinent to note that leaders who have served Nigeria in the positions of President and Commander Chief of the Arm Force since independence have aided Nigeria’s economy to birth into what it is today.Theodore Hesburgh once said “the very essence of leadership is that you have to have vision. You can’t blow an uncertain trumpet” while late Chinua Achebe said that “the trouble with Nigeria is simply and sharply a failure of leadership”.Nigeria has suffered terribly since independence over 50 years ago because of bad leadership caused b y incompetent, inept and very corrupt executive leaders. Like a cursed country, every succeeding government performs worst than the preceding one, even when the prior ones were abysmal in performance.
The key to getting competent leaders in our country which is the only thing lacking in the mix for transforming a potentially great country in all aspects cannot be met when we don’t have credible elections where every one’s vote will count in determining who gets the ‘leadership’ mantle.The task of leadership is not to put greatness into people because the greatness is already there but to draw it out. It is important to state that Nigeria as well as other Nations must invest in the development of young, aspiring leaders as we have witnessed that many leaders have emerged without training and preparation.
Importance should be attached to leadership training in the performance of leaders and not condemn them for being bad leaders when the never had the opportunity to understand leadership.There is also great need to establish leadership on very firm foundation with integrity, fairness and justice as identifiable attributes.A leader should be the servant of the people as success in any organization or nation depends on leadership at every level.