By Agboro Gift
In a world where leadership lies at the heart of any developmental stride a country embarks on, there is a need for the society to produce individuals who do not just have the basic understanding of what leadership entails, but are also well breed in line with the cores of all the overwhelming principles of leadership.
Individuals who understand leadership as service and not just as an opportunity to occupy positions. Concerted efforts must be ensured by every citizen and all concerned parties to produce individuals who regard leadership position as a position of sacrifice and also see themselves as servants to their followers, thereby acting in line with the notion of servant-leadership.
It should, however, be noted that every individual in the society is a leader in one capacity or the other. From the micro level to the macro level, we are all responsible to one or two persons. In fact, when one seems to be alone, you are responsible for yourself.
This is because every individual take decisions which help in directing their affairs and individuals are responsible for whatever decision they make in life. This is leadership because leadership is responsibility.
However, in order to have a society where every individual, young and old, is well-bred in line with the principles of leadership and all the nuances involved, there is a need to take a bottom to top approach in addressing the leadership need of the society.
This involves addressing the leadership issue from the bottom i.e. schools (secondary and tertiary institutions) where most individuals who later become leaders in life have their first taste of leadership.
This will go a long way in preparing the young ones for the leadership responsibilities in future. It is a general belief that the youths are the leaders of tomorrow – tomorrow starts now.
It has been argued in various quarters that one of the major impediments to Nigeria’s growth and development is a poor leadership class. Some of the individuals that occupy leadership position are sometimes regarded as accidental leaders who were not prepared for the position.
This has been reflected in the way they handle leadership issues in the public space. However, in order to find a lasting solution to this leadership quagmire, there is a need to address the leadership issue from the foundation.
Majority of the individuals who are currently occupying a leadership position in the public space today were once a departmental president, faculty president and/or Student Union president while they were in their tertiary institutions.
Some even served at the national levels as executives and legislators for various student bodies and youth-led organisation and sometimes a community organisation.
Also, it has been observed that even though there are some transformational leaders who understand the nitty-gritty of leadership and all the subtleties involved, a majority of them see leadership position as an opportunity to add something to their curriculum vitae or occupy a position for the sole purpose of occupying it.
Few of them are innovative with foresight as they do have ambitions to venture into politics and become leaders in public offices, while those that are not interested in mainstream politics may end up occupying various leadership positions in the corporate world.
This raises the need to adequately prepare them for the task ahead and also make them understand the various angles and nuances involved in leadership.
Hence, all concerned agents of change: NGOs, MDAs, corporate bodies and concerned individuals, who are keen on influencing the leadership terrain of Nigeria should take up the task of changing the leadership narratives in the country.
A leadership clinic across all various institutions of learning which serve as the incubating hub for emerging leaders in the country will go a long way in addressing the leadership quagmire which we are currently experiencing;
A baby step toward a giant stride has been taken by a group of undergraduates at the University of Ibadan, UI. They came up with the idea of a three days leadership boot camp slated to hold in March 2018, themed “The Ideal 21st Century Leader” at the school’s (UI) hotel seminar room.
The programme is targeted at past, current and aspiring student leaders in the university and its environs. Same can be replicated by undergraduates in other universities.
Initiatives like the above will not only prepare today’s youth for leadership roles, it will also encourage more of them to get involved with a bigger picture of a better Nigeria in their heads. At the end, the youths would not be too young and inexperienced to run.
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