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2019 elections: Nigeria’s time to recruit real leaders, managers

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SINCE Nigeria joined  modern democratic nations. Having come a long way, a question that may likely arise is whether the country’s leaders have learnt anything and forgotten something from the land’s military past. Are our leaders in tune with the spirit of our constitution?

Arthur Nwankwo in his book; ‘Nigeria: Development Strategy for People’s Economy’, ask; “in the political sphere, have we evolved a workable, let alone a stable political system? Have we increased the democratic participation of our citizens in the affairs of the nation? Has our system produced any measurable social or economic benefits for its citizens? And lastly, as Nigeria enters the world of international relations, is our political system likely to enhance or diminish our prestige in the eyes of the world?”

Edmund Burke argues that example is the school of mankind, and they will learn at no other.

Charles R Whitlock et al in their book, ‘Business Management Basics’, writing on leadership,  pointed out that “ the best leaders use their roles as example to bring out better qualities in those who follow them. Leaders have a view of today and a vision of tomorrow. They mould what is from the mass of what can be. They work with and through others to create form from possibility. Leaders share in common a willingness to risk failure in the pursuit of success”.

Whitlock also, informed that, the ‘executive mind’ is fired by a passion to accomplish an improbable purpose and is consequently fundamentally optimistic even at the darkest moment of despair.

This optimism is in no sense a fatalistic ‘just wait, everything will be alright’ attitude, but the ability to draw energy from a supreme challenge or demand.

As we match towards the much expected 2019 general elections, Sir Ivor Jennings in his book: ‘The British Constitution’, writing on a topic, ‘Government by the People’, revealed that the process of persuasion can be intelligent only if the people are intelligent and that if they are ignorant of political problems, they can be stampeded by slogans or specious promises or allegations of unknown terror.

To him, “ the intelligent individual realizes that the whole is greater than the  part, and that the majority gains more from the collaboration of the minority than from its suppression”.

Writing on a topic, “We Must Develop Our Technology. The Herald, of 23rd March, 1983, Afunugo Amaechi stated that “Nigeria, should have matured at that stage to pilot her affairs towards achieving a self-reliant economy, than embarking on prestigious projects that will never yield any returns.”

He noted that the country needs total restructuring in the ways thither priorities would be taken care of, to the extent that she will be technologically self-oriented.

For example, establishment of Ajaokuta Iron and Steel Industry by the federal government is a laudable one and a march in the right direction. This is because the products of the steel industry could be used to produce goods that will be sold outside thereby increasing our foreign reserve.

Much is still required by the federal government as regards its contribution to make the country economically self-reliant. This is because full dependence on foreign countries for our goods and services takes much of our foreign reserves and leads to total drain on our economy. This is born by the mere fact that any economic stabilization measures embarked by the states and federal government to revamp our economy will not help us at this stage if we indulge in ‘Empire Building’— a wasteful organizational bahaviour that acquires prestige and status.

Success Digest vol 5 No 33, March 19, 2017, caught the vision quoting George.E. Thorpe, Former Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Sterling Products Nigeria PLC, now Glaxo Smith Kline, who said, “leadership is about vision and values. It is important to have vision. The president has a vision, he articulates it, he communicates it very clearly. So, all the functional heads reporting to him are clear about where he is going”.

On management and motivation, George .E. Thorpe, revealed, “I do not know if there is any one way of motivating. I think it is helpful if colleagues see that you are candid, you have their interest at heart. You share information with them as individuals or employees of the company and show example”.

Our leaders should learn from George .E. Thorpe, who said, “bear in mind that I am there with you in the trenches. If you have any problem, pick up the phone and call, I’ll be with you. I am here in the office, waiting’. We all are together and we share in the failures, we share in the pain and we celebrate our success.”

Nigerian leaders should take corporate Nigeria seriously. They need to know that leadership is the ability to transform vision into reality. Again, leadership is the ability to see a problem before it becomes an emergency.

As the 2019 general elections draw nearer, Francis Bacon, maxim: “A wise man will make more opportunities than he finds”.

William .R. Tolbert’s, ‘Executive Mind, Timely Action’, insightfully, revealed, “the ‘executive mind’ is the mental muscle that can operate as the fulcrum between a person’s inner life and the outer world. It is the muscle that can transform habitual behaviour into inspired, creative, timely action, the muscle managing the play of attention at the interface of time and space.

Just as bodily musculature provides person leverage in space, so executive mind provides leverage in time. Appropriate financial leveraging for a family, an enterprise, or a nation are examples of this capacity. Just as the ultimate development of bodily leverage gives a great athlete the appearance of almost complex movements, so the highest development of mental leverage gives the executive the appearance of leisureliness amidst the most complex schedule, the most dire emergency, the most momentous decisions.”

Therefore, our country like business, needs better management and better management comes from better managers.

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