Nigeria and the Leadership Shortage

What many opulent Nigerians term as leadership is the exhibition of their
exotic cars, power bikes, mansions, companies, pictures from foreign lands
they went for holidays, their glowing wives, husbands, children and
concubines. They show-off these on the internet, newspapers, TV and, make
commentaries on the radio for self-exaltation. They see leadership as
titles and not, how many of their loved ones and followership they have
positively influenced or would do. They see their gallery of wealth as the
influence they are giving to those who look up to them. Since the wealthy
in the society see these things as leadership, there has been tremendous
leadership shortage in the country.

Because of this type of mindset to leadership, the consequences are where
we are at present: virtually everybody is shortcutting what used to be the
gradual process of living to attain a height of financial wealth. While
many are doing this, they do not know that they are like those who
ignorantly use pills to reduce weight, oblivious that they are digging for
more danger to their lives than the natural weight they had thought was

Shortcuts have consequence. A critical look at it would attest to the fact
that it’s this reason that governments at all levels in Nigeria have not
gotten anything right. They implement policies that are not formidably
executed; they read yearly budget that do not commensurate with the on
ground works, and so on. Due of leadership shortage in Nigeria, many things
are now worse, than any emergency approach given them.

Gaining influence is just the meaning of leadership and not, showing of
influence. Many Nigerians do not think about the next step to take in order
to uplift humanity here, but the next exotic car to paint the street red,
the next mansion to build in order to intimidate the next neighbour, the
next holiday picture to post online in order to compel family and friends
to begin to bite their fingers.

Those the leaders want to cheer them are hungry and many do not even have
hope of where their next meal would come from, where money for their next
house rent would be raised from. What some of these leaders define as
leadership is just the addiction of showing their wealth to their hapless
followership, as if they are employees working very hard for promotions.

While they want the financially poor masses to be promoting them, the only
agenda they have for them, are those intimidating outings they make for the
poor to be lavishly glaring at and admiring them, without a twinge of
conscience of where they placed the poor in life. Their acquisitions mean a
lot to them and not, the welfares of the subjugated masses.

Leadership shortage has made many Nigerians to be sitting on the bare
ground today. The leaders want the led to see Nigeria as a country that
should mean a lot, without them leaders seeing the poor to mean anything to
them. Rarely is there any opportunity that would enhance the growth of the
poor individual like it is wont in the so-called developed world, where the
level of opportunities to school appropriates the level of corruption in

In Nigeria, many people’s understanding of the concept of “God” is just
political. They use ‘God bless you’ in order to make people accept them as
godly people, whereas they find blessing anybody really good somewhat hard
thing to do. Apart from their gallery of wealth, the next thing they so
much show in the public is “God”. They do not have a more realistic view of
theirselves. They see the act of leadership as a correlation between wealth
and amassing of it; not a relationship between leading and the masses.

Because leadership has been assumed to be the position of those with much
wealth, the poor would no longer guarantee self as one capable of being a
leader. The poor has been so much intimidated by the rich to always believe
that leadership has a residence with those that call the shots in the
society. This is a widely misunderstood fact. Leadership is not a position,
but an activity, not like the idea that the highest bidder goes with the
prize, but an act of showing comprehensive examples for others to follow in
the promotion of humanity and not, when there is something that has to do
with politics and business alone.

Perhaps, this could be the reason a Vikas Swarup, the author of The
Accidental Apprentice (and Slumdog Millionaire), was quoted as saying:
“Leadership is the one competency that cannot be learnt in management
school. A manager is trained to do things right; a leader does the right
things. It is not a matter of training and preparation, but one of instinct
and conscience.”

Therefore, the conscience of leadership has to be reborn; not the everyday
reborn of titles and showing-off of acquisitions. Nigerians at all level
must make the citizenry better by eschewing the love to obsequiousness. It
is a killing behaviour, when anyone sees the promotion of exotic cars as
leadership or those who purchase such cars for the simple purpose to
intimidate others as leaders.

It is time Nigerians began to see these types of leaders who do nothing but
to exhibit their numerous wealth as persons who have limited contributions
to make for the wellbeing of Nigeria. Remove those material items from them
and be amazed how empty they are. Everybody can have positive impact and
become a leader. Against this backdrop, leadership must be seen as an art
for influencing another in direction for the wellbeing of the society and
not, for the individual buttering. We must take the advise by a John Izzo,
PhD, whose write-ups suggest that Leadership is not about what your
business card says, what your title is, or where you sit on the
organizational chart in your company. Leadership is a posture, it is a
decision that you want to have influence over others in a positive way.

Written by
Odimegwu Onwumere
Join the discussion