What We Lack

by Opeyemi Ajayi

Years ago, a former American president declared that very soon America will launch itself in the space and truly to his vision nine years later America really was in the space.

As common as that statement is, it taught me a lot of lessons. I discovered that JFK himself is not an Engineer neither did he know anything about space technology, he is a legal practitioner. When he said the statement, he had not consulted with the American Space Science Research Institute but immediately he said it, all went loose, different people went into research and nine years later…

What JFK had was leadership ability. He himself cannot operate a bicycle but as a leader, he was able to inspire the mind of people who can do things that he cannot do.

The greatest problem Africa has today is leadership. John C. Maxwell said, “Leadership is everything”.

I have discovered that great men who are regarded as achievers are not necessarily the one who carried out the achievements, most occasions they are only able to influence people around them to do great things.

Great revolutions were not carried out by one man. Successful coups in Nigeria were not carried out by one man, mostly the visionary of bloody successful coup de tat in Nigeria do not appear in public on that day, they are usually in a hideout communicating with men on the field from the various locations but they have impacted their spirit in some people that those people will be doing what they would have done.

Unfortunately for us in Africa, our countries have a dearth of leaders. Those who lead us ought to be followers, they lack leadership skills. Ability to lead is not the ability to know how to build roads or know how to plant cassava but the ability to motivate people to want to do what they ought to do. This is the basic difference between a manager and a CEO. The few leaders that we have are self centered, they lack a sense of developing the future leaders and they are only motivated by corruption.

How many Nigerian leaders can motivate people to do things without monetary benefit? How many state Governors have delivered speeches that inspired you? How many leaders have ever said something that influenced your national psyche? What we have in excess are tribal leaders, community leaders and religious leaders.

We need the right people at the right places. Technocrats do not have to be the President or Governor but we need people who can bring out the best out of our technocrats.

I have however made a decision not to blame anybody for the woes of Nigeria, I will rather blame myself. If leaders refuse to catch a vision that can spur all of us into action, what vision have I caught that will make Nigeria a better place to be? What can I do in my immediate environment that will make things get better? If I cannot do something now, it will be difficult later.

What are your core values? What are the things that you will do today that generations yet unborn will celebrate. If the government refuses to catch a national vision, you can catch one within yourself that will bless all and sundry if you work it out.

In 1963, Martin Luther King jr without government support delivered a speech titled, “I HAVE A DREAM”. That speech did a lot to the psyche of people. It changed their sense of reasoning, he neither led a coup nor contested an election but he made the world see why they must stand up and challenge the status quo.

You to can do something for Nigeria, think of the problem that the solution will be traced to you whenever it is solved.

No matter your status, catch a vision, make it plain and allow people around you to run with it.

Rosa Park spoke out when she discovered that same red blood flows in the veins of blacks and whites, took a decision not to stand up for the little white girl and today a Barrak Obama can be contesting for the topmost seat in America. She noticed the problem and did something to solve it, you to can do something.

A research showed that an average white guy even though senseless is raised with the orientation that he is better of than a black from birth. That alone gives him the vigour to work harder when competing with a black. The truth is they are not better. The fact that they have structured societies does not mean they are better. It’s the vision that is working.

Challenge your mind; never say you can’t do much. You have a lot to offer Nigeria. The right time for you to showcase your potential is now. The more you squeeze a melon, the more oil it releases to you. Stretch your mind.

God has deposited what Nigeria lacks in political leaders in you!

I assure you that this generation will celebrate you; this continent will not forget your contribution if and only if you decide to face the challenge. You are a leader, born to win.

You have a lot to offer this generation, you are the solution provider to the problems of Africa, don’t die with the solutions. Unleash them!

God bless you!

God bless Nigeria

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1 comment

Nonpartisan Nigerian January 23, 2008 - 12:01 am

FINALLY! SOMEONE GETS IT! You know, as a 17 year old Nigerian in America who’s really eager in getting involved in improving the conditions in Nigeria but scared to do so as a result of violence, it really saddens me to see Nigeria in its current standing on the global scale. A country rich with such natural resources shouldn’t be in the shape Nigeria is in. The problem is the avaricious vagabonds-in-power who were elected to make a difference but lack the fundamental skills of bringing people together and inspiring them to want to make change. The inherent divisiveness prevalent in the conflict between what tribe one belongs to (Hausa, Yoruba, Igbo) shouldn’t even be an issue. I find it ironic that something as frivolous and minute as that is even an issue. We should understand that what unites us as Nigerians is far greater and more profound than our tribal affiliations. The leaders compromise their power and yield to foreign corporations in exploiting and robbing Nigeria of its only hope: OIL. Rather than spending all our profit from oil, she should invest some. Oil companies wouldn’t even dream of committing such acts against humanity in their homeland as they do in Nigeria because they see the Nigerian leaders as fools with insatiable greed. Nigeria is a highly populous country, one of many factors that help boost economic development, and definitely isn’t lacking in talent. WE SHOULD LEARN TO USE THESE TO AN ADVANTAGE.


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