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  • AFRICA'S EMERGING LEADERS; A SERIES

    Few days ago, I wrote on my page that soon there will be a dispensational change in the leadership baton in Nigeria; with promise to do some expository on how to position yourself to be a relevant part of the emerging leaders. I have received various reactions mostly that of positive anticipation while some are curious to know what my statement (change in leadership) entails. No human being lives forever and you can never be active all the years of your life. Change as we know is an inevitable part of our existence. We have seen the most active of leaders leaves the stage, recline to the background and maybe becomes a king maker or mentors yet the system must continue, life must go on. My thought therefore is hinged on this very fact. Ideally leaders do not emerge overnight, a good case in point will be the royal family once you are born into a royal family as a prince or princess, you are trained and nurtured to become a king or queen; this very fact shapes all your behaviors, as a matter of fact, a prince or princess is simply a king or queen waiting to ascend his/her throne. Likewise, you can deliberately prepare yourself to grow into leadership in your various fields; this I believe is the reason behind the phrase ‘the youths of today are the leaders of tomorrow’. Tomorrow will come irrespective of you being ready or not, it is therefore better to be ready. After all, today is the tomorrow we talked about yesterday.
    In every sphere of human endeavors, there is a form of leadership; some are well structured with defined terms, others are nature endowed. In whatever form it assumes, leadership is a relevant part of existence. As a matter of fact we are all leaders in various ways; you may not physically occupy a leadership position, notwithstanding you are still leaders. This fact is so relevant and it is well recognize by the creator himself. In the biblical story of creation, the mantle of leadership was handed over to Adam and Eve; amongst other responsibilities they were to lead, manage (govern) the affairs of their territory which they failed. In my view, chief amongst the failure of man in the garden was a leadership failure. Leadership is the major determinant in the success of any endeavors including the governance of states and nations.
    Close to twenty years now, I have been an ardent student of Dr. Otive Igbuzor. While I may not have asked him, I often wondered why of all things he chose to dedicate his life to the course of good leadership; himself being an effective transformative leader. This question was however answered when I became a student of the prestigious African Centre for Leadership, Development and Strategy Centre LSD an institute which Dr. Otive Is the Founding executive director, I was privileged to be the pioneering class governor. Most of the things I know about leadership today were inculcated in me by the arrays of wonderful lecturers from various spheres of human endeavors and from my privileged close association with Dr. Otive and other notable leaders in various fields over the years.
    Leadership no doubt touches every facet of life. However we will be focusing more on the political leadership in the course of this series.
    Amongst many other things, one of the privileges of being a citizen of a democratic nation is the right to participate in the leadership process of your country, this process is so important that it cannot be left to assumption, hence the need to understand leadership and fully participate.
    In my view, one major reason for the leadership failure being experienced in most African states is the lack of understanding of the concept of leadership. In other word, we have over the years succeeded in promoting people into leadership positions who did not have an understanding of what it takes to be a leader; a process that can be learned, as someone once said, “Leaders are not born, they are made during the course of the struggle”. To be a relevant player in the crop of emerging leaders in Nigeria, we cannot afford to repeat these same mistakes therefore we will begin this series with understanding the concept of leadership as defined by various scholars.
    Leadership as we know has no universal definition. However, few scholars have attempted to define it; according to Myles Munroe: “: Leadership is the ability to lead others by influence. The capacity to influence, inspire, rally, direct, encourage, motivate, induce, move, mobilise, and activate others to pursue a common goal or purpose while maintaining commitment, momentum, confidence and courage”. To influence requires that your ideas are heard and accepted. You can only win hearts and minds when you respect their aspirations, interests and concerns.
    According to Daniel Goleman, the fundamental task of leaders is to prime good feeling in those they lead.
    Dr. Otive Igbuzor believes that Leadership is one of the most important variables that affect the performance of any organization/institution.
    According to Philip of Macedonia, the father of Alexander the Great, “An army of deer led by a lion is more to be feared than an army of lions led by a deer.”
    The leadership of any organization determines its success or failure
    • One scholar once argued that “a leader is a person who knows the road, who can keep ahead and who pulls others after him/her.”
    • “A leader is the one who sees more than others, who sees farther than others, and who sees before others do”- Leroy Eims
    To be continued...

    End Notes:

    1. Introduction to leadership by: By Otive Igbuzor, PhD founding Executive Director, Centre LSD
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