In my opinion, this article is written at the right time considering the state of the nation at the moment. Especially with youths raging over the president’s comment about Nigerian youths being lazy.
I do not intend taking sides on the issue because I don’t want to bring the ire or wrath of the Nigerian youths neither do I want my house to be ransacked by the DSS.
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Before I digress too much away from the topic at hand, permit me to get back to what the issue at hand is about which is “Ten problems of leadership in Nigeria and possible solutions. Before we look at the problems facing leadership and possible solutions lets first look at the meaning of leadership itself first.
Leadership is the ability to lead or the office of a leader and a leader is any individual who can conduct, motivate, who has authority to direct, a chief commander, inspire a group of individuals to bring out the best in them.
Problems of Leadership in Nigeria
With that said, let’s consider the problems of leadership in Nigeria, some of these problems include:
- Incompetent leaders: Most of Nigeria’s leaders are incompetent. In other words, most of Nigeria’s leaders are incapable of motivating or inspiring Nigerians to get the best out of them. This may be probably be because we have more of rulers and dictators than leaders. More light will be shed on this in the next point.
- Rulers and dictators not leaders: Like I said earlier, most of the so-called leaders in Nigeria aren’t leaders but rulers and dictators. Why will someone who calls himself a leader summon a body under the executive arm of government (DSS) to go and harass people just because they aired their view on his style of leadership or probably because they aren’t on the same political party as he is.
- Quest for power: One shouldn’t be surprised seeing dictator leaders considering the fact that they only see the “commander in chief and authority to direct” definitions of leadership rather than the ability to inspire and motivate others to bring out the best in them” definitions of leadership. In such a case, they will do anything to acquire such power either by hook or crook.
- Dirty politics: In a bid to acquire the perceived power that comes with holding leadership positions politicians sorry Nigerian leaders will do anything to get this leadership positions and these anything are usually controversial, scandalous and unlawful in nature. Examples are bribing of electoral officials and voters, use of force or threats on electoral officials and voters or even killing their opposition. They don’t consider the effects of their action on the people.
- Nigerians view of leadership: Considering the way Nigerian leaders follow in a bid to acquire leadership positions it shouldn’t be surprising that most Nigerians believe that one’s hands must be stained in blood if one is to acquire leadership positions.
- Learned helplessness: With the view that one’s hands must be covered in blood if one is to acquire leadership positions, Nigerians now see themselves as being unable to change the situation of the country rather they try to adjust to such situations. An average Nigerian would tell you that them don already know who go win so no stress yourself go vote.
- Non-participation in leadership: Wlso with such view or idea about leadership and politics most Nigerian tend to shy or should I say run away from leadership positions. During my schooling days, I was opportune to serve as an electoral chairman and to my surprise I ended up begging individuals to occupy vacant positions. Some individuals even refused coming for the election so as to avoid being picked.
- Poor grass root leadership: In my opinion nobody is born a leader neither is anyone born a politician rather it is all about exposure. In a country where leadership at the higher levels is being shuffled between individuals who would’ve retired if they were civil servants then it shouldn’t be surprising that no one wants to be a leader at the local government, wards and even the secondary and university levels.
- Absence of leadership appointment: One way one can become a leader is by learning how leaders lead and one way to learn how leaders lead is by mingling with leaders, learning firsthand from them and taking leadership positions. When last was a youth (below the age of 30) appointed with an ambassadorial or leadership position. I wonder how they expect youths to become the leaders of tomorrow when they can’t practice how to lead today.
- Lack of information: This is the ultimate problem of leadership in Nigeria. The saying goes “my people perish because they lack knowledge”. The lack knowledge of knowledge of not just leadership but also the true meaning of politics in Nigeria has been truly detrimental.
Possible Solutions to Problems of Leadership in Nigeria
Despite the numerous problems mentioned above, there is still hope for Nigerian leadership. It only needs to take the following remedial measures
- Organizing youth summits: summits, conferences and conventions should be organized for youth to equip them with useful information not just about politics but also about leadership.
- Voters’ seminars: Nigerians should be informed about the true and proper electoral processes. They should be made to understand that the power to choose a leader who will become THEIR LEADER is in their hands. This is the duty of the electoral body.
- More youthful appointment: more youths should be appointed as special advisers, ambassadors and so on. If they are to gain leadership knowledge that will work then they need to gain such knowledge from experience.
- Youth friendly leadership policies: just like the “no third term policy” policies that support the youths should be passed and up held. Policies like those used in civil service to restrict individuals of certain ages from taken leadership positions should be enforced to avoid recycling of old and aged leaders. I don’t see the brain of having a leader that is older than the country he is leading.
- Youthful participation: youths shouldn’t just sit out and watch things unfold, rather they should get involved in politics YES POLITICS. Youths should make efforts to become leaders and this they can do by taking up leadership positions at various levels. Youths should start by trying to effect changes from the various organizations they belong to as this will prep them for greater positions
- Leadership opportunities: Besides the government, school and other non-governmental organizations should also provide youths with the opportunities to lead. Churches should involve youths in almost every committee that are formed in church so that leadership information doesn’t pass away with those currently in power.
- Leaders not dictators: It would be of no use if the youths coming to power learn from dictators other than leaders. Hence, those currently in power should portray leadership qualities other than dictatorship qualities because if they don’t then the youths themselves will end up becoming dictators other than leaders.
- Leadership, a means to motivate not dominate: The current leaders should also see leadership not as a means to obtain power rather it should be a means to bring out the best in those you’re leading. Leaders should learn to use the resources at their disposal for the greater good rather than their own benefits.
- Avoid do or die politics: Leaders shouldn’t engage in do or die politics as this will cause them to use the resources attached to leadership positions when they acquire such positions for their own selfish interest. It is very hard to imagine someone who spent on his money, time and energy trying to become a governor not embezzling money when he actually becomes one.
- Followership power: Nigerians in general also need to understand, believe and realize that they have not just the right to put someone into power but to also seize power from such a person if he misuses such power. Nigerians need to overcome the spirit of learned helplessness and start making use of their followership power.