The Leadership Failures in the South East - By Chukwuma Iwuanyanwu
Many people may adduce to the fact that one of the reasons why Fashola of Lagos State has been driving Lagos to a safe berth is the affluence of the state, especially the state's internal generated revenues, no. The reasons are that Fashola has discipline,
focused, visionary and he does not want to mess with his integrity. Avail those resources to the ones in Igboland, safe for Sullivan Chime to an extent; they will misuse them with reckless abandon. It seems that after Dee Sam Mbakwe, the whole of Igboland is cursed irreversibly and given to visionless and crook leaders, especially Imo and Abia states; till this day, Imo and Abia states are robed in rudderless drivers and the danger is that the two states are steadily heading to hit a rock in a deep ocean. It is not that Ebonyi, Anambra and Enugu are faring well, but there is a glimmer of hope in Enugu where Chime is steering, and there is always conflict of news coming out of Anambra where Peter Obi is sitting. I know there is no good news coming out of the whole of South East, but the rest states should be crying for their sister state, Imo. Time and time again, Imo state keeps on falling in the hands of impostors, Evans Enwerem, Achike Udenwa, Godson Ohakim, evil men and crooks and now the joy of voting Rochas Okorocha is gradually turning to sadness. Gini ka Ndi Imo mere?
I know not only in Igbo land, but all over Nigeria, the concept of leadership is lost on the altar of foolishness, greed and ignorance. People who have no business leading others get involved either by crooks or by force for grand standing sake and not that they want to add value to the principles of leadership. What is leadership in the first place? This is an open ended question, it depends on whose territory one stands, but I will give the definition from Peter Northouse's book, Leadership: Theory and Practice. Leadership is a process whereby an individual influences a group of individuals to achieve a common goal. Leadership is a process, meaning that it is not a linear or one-way traffic, but an interactive event. In our local parlance, leadership is the knife eating the rock and the rock eating the knife. Leaders affect the followers while the followers affect the leaders in return. The whole meaning of leadership is influence and if influence is lacking in leadership, then leadership does not exist. Command and control is not leadership. If a governor of a state asks the people to stand and all stands, he asks them to sit and all sits without division, that is leadership, he has influence.
Leadership occurs in a group. Groups are the context in which leadership occurs, the act of influencing the groups, state, community, village and families to achieve a common goal. It is the duty of a leader to harness the energies of the individuals in a state or community to push the state to creativity, innovations and productivity. The duty of the leaders is to create the culture for optimum production and prosperity and if there is instability, it is the function of the leader to redirect all the people to the conducive climate and culture for unity of purpose and common goal. It is the duty of a leader to turn instability to stability. In the modern times, celebrated leaders are those that believe in transformation, called charismatic or transformational leaders, unlike transactional leaders, who believe in reward and punishment. Transformational leaders bring the best out of people for the common benefits of a communities, organizations and nations. Many people mistake leadership with management. The former is mainly working with people and the later is concerned with staffing, planning and controlling for organizational efficiency. Working with people is not easy and it takes the esoteric knowledge of social psychology to understand the complex behavior patterns of individuals.
The underpinning color of leadership is credibility. A man or woman who has a daint on his or her name has lost credibility and needless for him or her to ask public to trust him or her for leadership. In essence, we have no leaders in Nigeria, because the impostors who are leading us have no pedigree. We have thieves, fraudsters and crooks slotting themselves into leadership positions and consequently, what we normally have is a disaster. Igbo land has the most enterprising individuals but we lack leaders who can harness the entrepreneurial spirits of our young men and women to push the Igbo nation forward to prosperity. In Diaspora, you have the fledging talents of Ndi Igbo, but there is nobody to tap onto them, rather they go for the bad ones who are just like them, to embezzle fund for them and starve the people of vital developmental efforts. If Rochas Okorocha is not careful, he will go the way of Ohakim, because it seems he is interested in popularity than innovations. Imo state needs jobs and every avenues to create jobs in Imo State should be explored by all means.
The problem is not education, because there are abound all over the world, where school drop-outs have changed the world. The present Brazilian president is 4 th grade school drop-out and he has transformed Brazil to the 8 th largest economy of the world. A leader should be versed in strategic management, scanning the environment, sensing dangers, confronting problems headlong and providing solutions with the help of brilliant people around him or her; knowledge management is very crucial in this edge of technology. A leader should be able to motivate and inspire people to create something out of nothing. A fool, who surrounds himself with smart people, will be smart with time. One of the greatest problems in the South East is the failure to create a thriving culture by the leaders; rather they are being swallowed by the insane culture that will never allow the Igboman to rule Nigeria. The South East leaders have failed and so is the whole of Nigeria. Our culture may be an impediment to progress. Check out what the son of Theodore Orji did in Umuahia, civility has ran away from us and we intend to suppress the poor among us. Power is not good in the hands of a fool.
Chukwuma Iwuanyanwu writes from Argosy University, Los Angeles.