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    In the first article in this series we were introduced to the concept of leadership and the various definitions of leadership given by various scholars. There was also an emphasis that this series shall focus more on political leadership.
    The first piece was received with a level of enthusiasm that was far beyond my expectations because I could have wagered that Nigerians were comfortable with the kind of leadership that we have had over the years. With that I am inspired to pursue this endeavor into getting reaching a wider audience through some other publications including magazines, online portals and some major national newspapers.
    Now that we have defined leadership, today I ask you a very vital question; will you be ready? This may sound rhetorical, and maybe it is.
    Saying the major challenge responsible for the underdevelopment of Africa today is leadership challenge is simply stating the obvious. Sometimes ago I argued that one major problem confronting Nigeria is the fact that almost everyone seems to know what’s wrong with Nigeria; ask the average Nigerian on the street what they think are the challenges of Nigeria and you will be amazed how much of the problem they think they know, yet year in year out, the challenges persist if not worsened. As a matter of fact, every administration seemed worsethan the previous one. We have also seen situations where members of the public who publicly criticizes the ills in governance get the privilege to be in leadership position turns out to be worsethan even the administration they criticized. These scenarios tend to give credence to the belief that a government is as good as the people governed. This very fact is an indication that Nigerians need to deal more with the question of readiness hence the need to be fully equipped, tested before you can be trusted with leadership positions as an emerging leader. Although no one can ever be absolutely ready to occupy leadership positions there are basic knowledge and maybe experiences that will set you on the part of becoming an excellent leader.
    At this point, let us attempt to see some of the basic things expected of leaders. Again, I’ll gladly take you into the mind of Dr. Otive Igbuzor. According to Dr Igbuzor, there are basic skills required for leadership competence which are;
    • Conceptual Skills: Analysis, Research, Policy formulation, Reflection.
    • Technical Skills: Project, Office and Financial Management, Evaluation, Technology, Administration.
    • Social Skills: Working with People, Networking, Collaboration, Partnerships, Public Relations, Communications e.t.c
    Dr. Igbuzor further believes that for you to be a good leader, some qualities are expected of you such as; Character, Charisma, Commitment, Effective Communication, Competence, Courage, Discernment, Generosity, Initiative, Listening, Passion, Positive Attitude,Problem Solving, Relationship, Responsibility, Security, Self Discipline, Servanthood, Teachability and Vision. Ideally, these are qualities expected of a good leader. From these listed qualities you can do a self appraisal to know whether you are qualified.
    Each time we are privileged to visit other countries which we tagged as developed and see how well their systems work, the lack of good leadership in our country becomes even more glaring;sometimes we even wish we could become citizens of those countries. I have even seen cases where people wondered why they were born as Nigerians? While I sometimes get lost in similar thoughts, I find solace in the fact that no nation on earth was created great, rather every great nation on earth is simply a product of a people who were determined to make their nation whatever it has become. Hence we can boldly say the development of a nation is not rocket science and even if it is, rocket science has now been demystified (ask Elon Musk).
    As regarding our nation Nigeria, I am an incurable optimist and you will be very right as I believe that we can make our country become what we dreamed it to be. No doubt it is not going to be an easy task, so is every other endeavor after all, nothing good comes easy. There will be voice of pessimists among readers giving thousand reasons why it cannot be done. Well we can either believe the possibilities or continue to see and create wider rooms for excuses. However as one wise man will always tell me; a thousand excuses will never be a substitute for performance.While I frown at pessimism or living in excuses, at the other extreme lies the very fact that optimism alone will not get the job done.
    Earlier I brought our attention to the fact that some people who saw all they assumed to be the challenges confronting the development of our country when given the mantle of leadership were worse than the very system they criticized. The question then becomes what could possibly be responsible for this repeated monumental leadership failures? This was the very thing that gave birth to my question; when the time comes, will you be ready? As emerging leaders, to avoid mistakes of our fathers, we must be prepared, beyond criticism and mere rhetoric. That position you have been dreaming of, how are you equipping yourself for the tasks ahead? While at this moment I do not nurse a political ambition, I have often argued that if I ever aspire for a leadership position and I eventually emerge, I can never fail. Among many other things all I will critically put under study is that position and the tenures of all my predecessors; not for political witch-hunting, but to see all that went wrong, their mistakes, what didn't work and then have a realistic and workable blue print even before I vie for the position. But as my good friend Elijah Affi ( an emerging leader) will always say, “One of the things we have learnt from history is that we don’t learn from history” Again I ask you, when the time comes, will you be read

    Oche Ocheme,
    3:57 am, Thursday 7th May, 2020 Abuja Nigeria.

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