Right leadership as catalyst for Nigeria’s rebirth
One of the greatest challenges of nation building is the challenge of right leadership and institution building. Whether nations are able to manage their political and social disputes peacefully, without lapsing into conflict, or sustain economic growth without creating huge inequalities, critically depend on the quality of leaders and relevant national institutions.
Indeed, leadership plays pivotal role in the existence and operations of every organized political system and this has resulted in leadership being an interesting subject of extensive study and discourse. The socio-economic and political development of any country, even organizations, to a very large extent, depends on the ability of its leadership to mobilise available resources and deploy them strategically to facilitate, entrench and sustain a viable society.
According to the Business Management Review, London, Vol 5 of the Academy of Business and Retail Management, 2014, there are numerous theories on leadership but an element that is common to all of them is the notion that leaders are individuals who by their actions facilitate the movement of a group of people toward a common or shared goal. Importantly, good governance and its fruit of socio-economic development is a manifestation of committed, patriotic and disciplined leadership.
There is no gainsaying that the dearth of effective leadership has increasingly become a dominant feature on Nigeria’s economic and political landscape since the nation’s independence.
Nigeria’s socio-economic development continues to dwindle as a result of ineffective leadership. 57 years after independence, Nigeria is still faced with threats of abject poverty that ravage over 75 per cent of her population with a GDP growth rate of over six per cent that has no direct influence on the standard of living of the citizens, increasing loss of lives and properties to insurgencies, and political instability that suggests imminent implosion of the country.
It is logically unbelievable and appalling that Nigeria, the so called “giant” of Africa still grope in the dark in search of direction for national development and good governance after over five decades of independence whereas her contemporaries have far overtaken her.
It is on this premise that a renowned motivational speaker and Chief Executive Officer of the GEMSTONE Group, Fela Durotoye, has once again advocated right leadership for Nigeria, especially as the country progresses in her democratic voyage.
Durotoye, who stressed that this should emanates at all levels, noted that for Nigeria to come out of the current doldrums, it has become highly important to have a purposeful leadership as against rulership, which currently holds sway in the country.
Speaking during a leadership training session at the headquarters of The Guardian Newspapers, in Lagos, Durotoye pointed out that rulership as against leadership, enslaves, emasculates, suppresses, intimidates, brings fear on the people, “but leadership ensures purposeful followership, enlightens, emancipates, supports, inspires, persuades and make people to believe in themselves.”
The GEMSTONE CEO, who warned against what it termed ‘Selectocracy’, in Nigeria’s political landscape, stressed that leadership is the capacity to create and deliver desired results.
Building a lasting institution
While urging people to always be steadfast at their post, Durotoye posited that workers will only deliver good service to customers but leaders consistently deliver an unforgettable experience. What a country needs to grow its economy, he charged, is well-established institution.
According to him, not every organisation is an institution but every institution is an organisation deliberately designed to outlast its founders and current operators. He stressed that with institutions, their growth continues regardless of the passage of the original owners, “because they have the following things: vision, structure, culture and most importantly the right strategy.”
Durotoye believes that institutions are lasting organisations that outlast their founders. “I believe that every time an organization dies before it goes to the next generation, it is a national disaster. Whenever a company dies in Nigeria, we should literarily put our flags at half-mast because it is a disaster. Companies should not die; we should not have to be replacing companies. We should be taking companies and replicating them. When we see one company that is doing well, others should learn from it and that is how the economy grows because as companies become institutions, they grow and hire more people and become career organizations.
“Two things are critical here, first, they are lasting and secondly they continue to grow and that growth contributes to the economic development of the nation, reasons institutions are critical.”
The kind of challenges currently in the country, he said, make it difficult to do business in Nigeria; so many people are giving up on enterprise development of their dreams, “I think as government, we must build a kind of environment that inspires organisations to become profitable institutions.”
He challenged organisations to invest in their workforce immensely, saying beyond any investment in infrastructure, technology, processes and systems; the greatest investment that any organisation can make is in unlocking the leadership potential of the people and transforming workers into Leaders-in-Partnership.
Achieving this, he said leaders must have a sense of responsibility, which includes ownership and accountability with the ability to deliver the future.
Quoting Jack Welsh, the Chief Executive Officer of General Electric, Durotoye said people are not an organisation’s greatest asset, but leaders.
Durotoye said Leader-in-Partnership, are inspired by ‘what they can give’, which includes values, ideas, results, among others.
He stressed that Leader-in-Partnership are inspired to innovate and atimes, invent products and processes that would transform the organization.
According to him, Leader-in-Partnership, go the extra-mile to find possibilities, still within the same stipulated conditions, to solve problems for customers, in a way that does not break the law, erode the brand or hurt anyone.
He stressed that such leadership will ultimately deliver an excellent organizational culture and will always out-perform their expectations because they always set higher ones for themselves, because they are driven by their innate potential and not just targets for them.
Creating a new Nigeria
Stressing that the paradigm must change if Nigeria must move forward, by not doing things the way we have been doing it, Durotoye said the country’s greatness lies in getting good governance at all levels, saying it should not just be at presidency or governorship levels. “We need to have good governance at all levels. We need to have it in the Legislature and in the House of Assemblies at state level, Local Governments, wards levels, among others.
“There are 11,117 elected offices. Most of those of the people at the elected offices are same people that are going to choose the people who will work with them, the appointees. As at the last count, they were something in the region of 85,000 appointed officers. Together there are about 100,000, who manage the affairs of governments in this country at all levels. The greatest challenge is getting people with the integrity and capability into those positions and why that will not happen is that most of the political parties that we have today practiced what is called ‘Selectocracy’. This is a system where few people select the persons that will run the affairs, rather than all party members electing which of the aspirants will become their candidates.
“And so until we have a democracy in our political institutions, where all members of the party are the ones voting for the aspirants, then we may not have good governance in a short while.”
Durotoye, who submitted that for things to work as planned, all hands must be on deck, revealed that his organistion is currently working ahead of the 2019 general elections to inspire many political parties that will choose to be truly democratic in their primary elections.
According to him, there must be primary elections and not selections. “Once that is done, things will be fine.”
Why the youths must be involved
Durotoye said the young ones must first understand that they must accept responsibities to shape their own future.
According to him, the youths must understand that they are not leaders of tomorrow or the future, but now.
“Youths must understand that they are not leaders of tomorrow, nobody has ever seen tomorrow. We were told we are leaders of tomorrow by people who never wanted us to engage in our capacity today. So, what I am telling them is that we are leaders today. Their future can no longer be postponed. You must take the future now and begin to do those things you can do right from this moment, no matter how old you are,” Durotoye stated.
According to the GEMSTONE CEO, leadership has nothing to do with age, authority, but the ability to solve problems and “there is no better time to be able to solve problems than when you are a young person because you have nothing to fear, nothing to risk. The fear of failure is diminished when you are young, so you can take advantage and chances. Youths need to seize today and build that future.”
Projection for Nigeria
With the youths seriously getting involved in the affairs of the country now, a great nation will be birthed, Durotoye asserted.
He envisions a habitable Nigeria by December 31, 2025, saying he has been prophesying this greatness for past 12 years, since he started leadership training. “I say it more than before even though we have just about eight years to get there, I believe that Nigeria has the capacity. This country is blessed by God. Probably one of the most blessed nations on earth. I believe that our geographical location is at the centre of world trade and we are blessed not with just human resource but also intellectual and natural resources and that all we need to do is to be able to harness them and engage the passion and love we have for this nation and begin to work together to build a new Nigeria that works.”
According to him, though we have inherited a nation where it seems like not much works, “but I believe that this young generation are the most empowered generation that has ever been in Nigeria. They have power of information, communication and technology and these three things are so critical because we now have a better ability to learn than when our parents were much younger. For them to get any information, they needed to go to the Library, today, the world and all the information of the world are in our finger-tips, in that smartphone, the social media platforms. There are now more technologies that enable you to solve more problems faster than before.”