By Aare Adeleke Adewale Moses
Nigeria’s fundamental approach to leadership is troubling. The leaders have the capacity to influence public policies to make a difference in the lives of the citizens, but have failed to do so because their primary goal of assuming leadership position is self-enrichment. They have the power to educate, inspire, and provide the people with the resources to advocate for the causes they believe in, but like bad parents, they have failed in their responsibilities to lead by good examples. Leading a nation involves making policies and finding solutions to problems, ensuring stability of the polity, and guiding the society to prosperity. But a large number of the political leaders of Nigeria lack the vision, the passion, and the character to effectively govern the state and deal with the crumbling economy. They do not have a clear understanding of their responsibilities, as some of them are insensitive to the people’s sufferings. Unfortunately, most of the leaders who were politically elected or appointed to represent their people in the act of governance changed their ambitions over night against the people or masses who contributed their quoters to ensure their success and upliftment of the society.
Consequently the average Nigerian political leader develops an imperial air of condescension and once in power treats people with utter disrespect, sometimes bordering on disdain. It goes without saying that the government of the day is insensitive to the yearnings of the people and deaf to their cry of desperation. Those who are holding the reins of power believe too much in themselves, as if they know it all and they have everything in control.
Warren G Bennis stated that: “Leadership should be born out of understanding of the needs of those who would be affected by it.” All over the world, it is servant leaders that have made the difference in the lives of their people and advanced their governments over time through vigorous and sacrificial pursuit of positive change with great respect for acceptable societal values.
Effective and productive leadership must be seen to be transparent and accountable to the citizenry. This increases goodwill amongst the people and the chances of elected leaders succeeding in their endeavors. This also promotes legitimacy, acceptance and most importantly role modeling.
Available resources must be properly harnessed and used based on the principles of equity and equality, so that the impact is felt through the rank and file of society. The government must be service oriented and promote effective delivery of public services so as to enhance local and small-scale economic development aimed at improving the lot of the youth and the poor. Information must be made available to the people especially to non state actors for enhanced purposeful engagement with leadership.