Column Opinion

On Fathers’ Day, Nigeria Lacks Leaders

By Prince Charles Dickson PhD

Effective leadership is not about making speeches or being liked; leadership is defined by results not attributes-Peter Drucker.

So let me start in this manner, I was discussing with Rukky, She was telling me how great I was as a father, I believed her, but I was tired on matters concerning Nigeria, last week alone, over a dozen friends approached me, they wanted counsel, they were also tired of Nigeria, I wanted to give myself a birthday gift, which was “stop writing or talking about Nigeria”, leave Nigeria for Nigeria…and Gbam, I was staring at MARTINS OLOJA’s Inside Stuff and the title was ‘DOES GOD STILL RULE IN NIGERIA’S AFFAIRS?

My Rukky was laughing, she initially was afraid, then she burst out laughing, indeed God still rules in Nigeria’s affairs, and don’t flog myself and Martins Oloja for saying and believing so. We won’t give up, we won’t give in, at least for now.

My friend Martins “was considering a suspension of this column at the weekend when I got a message from a ‘still small voice’ that I should not give up yet. I wanted to suspend the column because it has become clear that the society we write for, the authorities and duty bearers we monitor, hold to account and most times set agenda for are no longer listening to any voice of courage and reason. They don’t even know the provisions of the organic law of the land, the constitution they have sworn to defend. They now do what they like. They are looking for ways and means to gag the press even as they artfully plan their propaganda in this age that has hidden so many digital ears in the walls.”

Martins writing further stated “It is clear that they are seriously planning more bills to limit the freedom of the press. They want to plan a coup against freedom of expression, the most valuable dividend of democracy. They want to manipulate the fault-lines that can easily destroy the complex diversity that they can’t manage. They want to tax your garrulousness on the telephone. They don’t want us to discuss it on the telephone. They want to increase data cost through taxation – the ultimate strategic power to destroy. They are exploiting poor capitalisation of the media in this place to propagate their lies and exaggerate their under-achievements nurtured by mediocrity and crass incompetence. They read you and curse you. They declare media outfits that don’t use their frivolous events well on the front pages and prime time as public enemies! Their media aides can’t stop abusing editors and what’s more scary, their private legal advisers and consultants write weekly to warn editors and proprietors even when they know that our facts are accurate. Facts are no longer sacred and comment is no longer free in Nigeria, our Nigeria.”

So, Martins felt that writing in the mass media is no longer worthwhile at this perilous time that tries even good men’s souls…when the still small voice nudged me: ‘My son, don’t give up yet… You and your people have to pass through this wilderness, endure some shame and hardship before getting to your promised land…Don’t give up. Haven’t you listened to my son, Bongos Ikwe’s ‘Still Searching’: that nothing ‘good comes easy’? The voice asked me to reflect on the advice of Citizen Mordecai to Queen Esther that, ‘If you give up on helping your nation, God will raise another helper; you are (t)here for such a time as this. The voice revealed to me that I should not consider life in the valley as the end. I was told to ‘calm down’ that God still rules and will continue to rule in the affairs of Africa’s most populous country. And He will not leave or forsake Nigeria, I am also assured, will fulfill destiny.”

So as citizen Martins refused to give up, I summoned courage, we will not give up, and I started punching away at the keys on the board.

In May 2012, I had written on leadership, I had used Pep Guardiola and Clark as phenomenons to drive home my point, at the time, Chelsea FC had downed FC Bayern in Munich, in the UEFA Champions league Final, a fan had died here in Nigeria, in total in the course of the entire Championship about 9 deaths were recorded, Nigerians who otherwise have never been to the airport, never graced any of these stadiums and were not known by these clubs died, it’s nine years after, and Chelsea are the Champions of Europe again, what a coincidence, at that point, GEJ was President of Nigeria, today it is GMB or PMB anyone one chooses

Then, for Pep and Barcelona, an era was terminating; it was time for a new one to begin. The praise heaped upon Pep Guardiola was so effusive that in September 2010, perhaps in an attempt to defuse the adulation, he joked: “Maybe it’s true. Maybe when I piss, I do piss perfume.”It was a Catalan take on the old Chuck Norris line: When Chuck Norris does a pushup; he’s actually just pushing down earth.

In some ways, that’s what Guardiola did at Barcelona after taking over in 2008. It’s not just the fact that he won 14 trophies in four seasons—among them three Spanish titles, two Spanish Cups, two Champions League crowns and two World Club Cups, in what was arguably the most dominant quadrennium of any manager in the history of soccer.

What really made Guardiola stand out was the successful implementation of a playing philosophy that bordered on utopia. It combined seemingly antithetical qualities: skill and creativity on the one hand, tactical order on the other.

Yet, Guardiola with the season having ended in Spain that year, and crowning it with the Spanish Cup walked away. “There is only one reason: time,” he said. “Four years are an eternity. I’m drained. I don’t like to say it, but I no longer have the energy to guide this team. I need to get away because, as I often tell my players, life isn’t just soccer and BlackBerries.”

People who knew him as a player (including his team mates) would attest to the fact that Pep Guardiola’s best attribute was his ability to use his intelligence and then having the vision to execute what he imagined. It is that football intelligence; however, that makes him a great coach.

Putting the above in perspective, Nigerian leaders and occupants of Aso Rock have inspired nothing, in the last twenty years one can hardly point to a leader within the political terrain that has provided leadership, direction or focus. It is almost a fiat to conclude that even in the last six years; there is no Nigerian leader that can be attributed with even a ‘near success’ status.

No one that can be regarded as great, lots of flashes, no substance…While Pep left with the ovation at its loudest. He has gone on to significant success in Bayern, and now Man City.

For the occupants of Aso Rock, no one seems to have the recipe for success, Nigerians on the other hand are unable to express rage at the insensitive policies and constant policy somersaults by the talkshops, cabals, and cabinets both kitchen and otherwise at the helm of affairs…and we cursed with leadership and managers that have failed at every attempt at managing both man and resources.

For Pep, his biggest achievement has to be that “tiny fellow”–to quote Rio Ferdinand–from Rosario, Argentina, Lionel Messi. Guardiola is more than just a manager. He is more than the trophies and the tactical knowledge. It is the principles that really stick out, the difference between a good coach and a great coach. What would be Mr. Buhari’s legacy, he has not exactly been a good President or certainly does not look like a great one.

In six years we do not simply agree on what Mr. Buhari is made of, the President, governors, legislators, the ruling party, and the limited options that the opposition provides, the current crop simply have shown no drive, plenty of promise but very little in offering and they all cling on to the table edge in Aso Rock, Nigeria burns, they fiddle!

There are no leaders with any testimony of some sort other than power mongers, no pinch of brilliance in decisions taken so far, we are saddled with a crop of leaders still experimenting with all sorts of governance chemicals yet unable to get it right?

Like Martins, we won’t give up, we watch, write, talk, wait, pray and hope that the occupants of Aso Rock and his team, the 36 government houses, and leaders at all levels may give us something to cheer—Time will tell.

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