EKWEREMADU AND THE SUBSTANCE OF LEADERSHIP
By Chiedozie Ogbonnia
A leader is one who demonstrates extraordinary mastery in a group task environment. A leader helps others not only to surmount their challenges, but enables them unlock their potentials. The leader epitomizes his group's consciousness.
He displays empathy, sacrifice and responsibility towards the members of his group. The leader thinks far for the benefit of his people. Above all, the leader possesses a charisma, the innate ability to inspire enthusiasm among his followers.
A dispassionate observation of the man Senator Ike Ekweremadu CFR, reveals a synthesis of both the nature and the nurture paradigms of leadership traits.
Of all the qualities in a leader, perhaps, the most remarkable of all is vision. Vision is the exclusive preserve of a clear headed leader. It is mostly the exceptional intellectual with extraordinary depth of imagination, character and reflection that can develop a vision.
More importantly is the passion, vigour and focus with which the vision is pursued to its logical conclusion. The history of buoyant societies is replete with transformative imaginative visionaries who set in their minds the goals they wish to accomplish.
Sometimes these goals may not be easily comprehensible to the uninitiated but the inspiration, motivation, determination and commitment expressed in the leader are the sources of mobilization of the citizenry.
Furthermore, the ability to sustain followership and allegiance in the pursuit of the set goals demands a great deal of integrity on the side of the leader. This is because the moment the integrity of the leader is in discount, followership will be greatly antagonized.
The above qualities foreground the citation for Senator Ekweremadu on the occasion of the award of a Doctor of Laws, (LLD) Honoris Causa to him by the University of Uyo, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State. According to the university orator, Professor Effiong Ekweremadu 'has demonstrated physical prowess, social renown, political mastery, economic prudence, religious reckoning, legal wizardry, friendly finesse, character comeliness, marital exemplariness and dispositional humility'.
Presence of dignitaries
It is therefore not surprising that the Senate, led by Senate President, David Mark, virtually relocated to the University to witness the occasion. The overflowing presence of dignitaries from across the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the members of House of Representatives, top government officials, captains of industry, party stalwarts, and Enugu people also go to show that Ekweremadu's qualities as a leader is well appreciated. Before the echoes of that event could die, Ekweremadu was also honoured with the maiden Fellowship of the Federal College of Agriculture, Ishiagu.
Indeed, the lesson in Senator Ekweremadu's chains of honour is that every good, sincere, and selfless deed has a reward. I should also think that for Ikeoha, the well deserved national and international elevations and laurels are both instructive as such should encourage him not to weary, but to rather grow on his chosen path of humility, prudence, comradeship, philanthropy, and integrity.
*Chiedozie Ogbonnia, Special Adviser on Public Affairs to the Deputy President of the Senate.