The 3rd National Leadership Dialogue Series (NLDS), hosted by Nigerian Prize for Leadership and Partners, held via zoom on Friday, July 31st, 2020, with the theme, Rethinking Leadership: Competence, Governance, and Impact on Society 2.
The webinar was well attended by partners and participants from within and outside Nigeria, with Prof Jerry Gana, CON, Vice Chairman Nigerian Prize for Leadership (NPL); Prof. Oye Ibidapo-Obe, Chairman NPL Technical Team of Experts (TTE) and former Vice-Chancellor University of Lagos; Mrs. Amina Oyagbola, Founder Women in Successful Careers (WISCAR); and Comrade Danielson Akpan, President National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), as panellists.
Arising from contributions from the Panelists, Partners, and other Participants at the Webinar, the following conclusions and resolutions were adopted as part of measures to facilitate effective and sustainable leadership reforms in Nigeria:
- Rethinking leadership in Nigeria requires reforming leadership selection processes. The nation should of necessity refine, reform, and refurbish the process of leadership selection; otherwise, our democracy may soon become meaningless, worthless and unattractive.
- Nigeria is endowed with good quality leaders but a debilitating ambushing system has hardly allowed quality leaders to emerge. Thus, NPL and its partners should find and deploy effective solutions to this retrogressive system that antagonises and reacts very negatively to the emergence of credible and competent leadership in the nation.
- Participants reemphasized the critical need for citizens to insist on competent leadership, with capacity and creativity, among others, for real change to occur in the nation.
- In addition to developing very sound people-oriented and national development programmes, leaders must be interested in equipping themselves with the necessary skills and training that will make them effective and relevant.
- Since leaders do not just emerge, we must be deliberate in raising, grooming and educating the next generation of leaders so that they will qualitatively perform better when they have the opportunity to lead. In this vein, the NPL should collaborate with the federal government to initiate a national leadership rebirth that creates and gives opportunities for budding leaders to aspire and assume leadership position.
- There should be a fundamental restructuring of our education system, to integrate leadership training in school curricula across the nation.
- Though we must recognize the need for inclusiveness in leadership, we must also stratify the process to always have qualified and upright people in leadership positions.
- Appropriate preparation will facilitate competence as a critical factor. A leader must always have the foresight and the ability to properly motivate and galvanize the people for action. A leader achieves this through training and retraining, including taking advice from elders and those who are knowledgeable, etc.
- The age group system has long been an effective system in raising credible leaders at the community level; this should be revisited as a cultural platform through which competent leaders can emerge from the grassroots.
- Formal education is not synonymous with good leadership; therefore, leaders should be helped to have the ability to execute successful programmes in the office.
- Positional leadership does not guarantee competence and impact, leaders at every level should be intentional about delivering values and results.
- Character, ability, proven track record and behavioural elements such as integrity, transparency and honesty, which are prevalent in the private sector are also critical elements in the quest for leadership and should be replicated in the public sector.
- Rethinking leadership in the nation must include the meting out of appropriate punishment to criminal leaders at all levels.
- A merit-based leadership system is important in our leadership renaissance process, and we must borrow a leaf from the likes of Martin King Luther Jr and Mandela for real change to happen in our nation’s leadership.
- It could be highly painful and discouraging to deny very qualified young students admission to Unity Schools because of state catchment; such a victim is likely to feel discouraged and uncommitted to the nation if someday he/she comes to a position of leadership.
- According to the late Amb. Yusuf Maitama Sule, old breeds without new breeds lead to greed. Hence, we should blend the old breed with the new breed, and enshrine mentorship in our leadership breeding process.
- Leaders must have the quality and capacity to control events, rather than react to them, be calm in every situation and help to effectively manage uncertainties, diversities, chaos and criticisms.
- We must be wary of embracing accidental leaders in place of prepared leaders.
- Women should be represented in leadership at all levels in the public and private sectors and should be supported to achieve equitable access and opportunity to build a better nation.
- Women should be supported to fight for seats at the leadership table, rather than adopting an entitlement mindset.
- The media should play a more pivotal role in promoting developmental leadership. It is discouraging to see a situation in which two Nigerians emerged as Vice-Chancellors in separate universities in the US and UK in one month and both were not properly reported in mainstream media, while almost all Nigeria newspapers reported the Hushpuppi fraud case.
- The NPL leadership measurement criteria should be publicized and popularized, to be widely adopted and entrenched in our national lives.
- Nigerians should avoid democratization of mediocrity and go for the best in leadership at all levels of society, with principles of fairness and equity in mind.
Dr Ike Neliaku, fnipr, ficmc
Executive Secretary, NPL
August 1, 2020