Leadership and the Future of Nigeria

Professor Julius O. Ihonvbere, OON, OGI, FICA
National Chairman, Board of Trustees
Institute of Corporate and Business Affairs Management
Lagos, Nigeria
Text of a Lecture Delivered at the Founders Day Celebration, Lead University, Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria, March 12, 2009
Allow me to begin by thanking the Management and students of this great citadel of learning for inviting me to deliver this lecture.  I have followed the activities of this institution fairly closely since its inception.  I am convinced that it is steadily emerging as an intellectual crucible that will not just fill a strategic place in our nation’s quest for growth, development and progress, but would also sufficiently empower its products to effectively meet the challenges of globalisation.
Our topic for discussion today is very direct and clear.  We are interested in interrogating the place of leadership in the future of Nigeria.  This does not mean that we are not interested in followership.  In fact, it is the combination of leadership and followership that often determines the future of a nation.  However, since leaders control and dominate the commanding heights of the economy, exercise legal monopoly over the means of coercion, dominate the structures and institutions of politics and economy, and shape the ideological or philosophical direction of society, we shall focus on leaders and the future.
I would not go into a debate as to whether leaders are born or made.  Suffice to note that we are all leaders in different ways.  Emergency or challenging situations can produce leaders. But the nature of society, existing contradictions and opportunities, power balances and societal values can determine whether the imbued leadership qualities can be nurtured, subverted or simply negated or ignored.  Leadership can be individual or collective.  Either way, the purpose of leadership at home, work or anywhere for that matter is to exercise power, provide direction, encourage and inspire others, show the right direction, build appropriate legacies for the future generation, and work for the common or public good.
If we undertake an opportunistic analyses of the Nigerian predicament today, we can lay the causes of our problems at the colonial and post-colonial dimensions of our history.  We can emphasise the distortions and disarticulations of that experience and claim that the leaders that have failed to do much for us are products of an undemocratic, non-accountable, exploitative, repressive and discriminatory colonial order.  Hence, the imperialists systematically produced leaders that would continue in their own ways and left behind structures, institutions and ideologies that would ensure that departure from the neo-colonial consciousness would be almost impossible without a revolution.  Though fanciful, this would be an incomplete argument.  Unless we wish to lay claim to inferiority and incapacity to move in terms of our own creativity, innovation, and productive energies.

2 thoughts on “Leadership and the Future of Nigeria”

  1. Akemokue Lukman

    Dear Prof,
    May God give our leaders the wisdom, the will and the courage to access this treatise and practice at least a bit, if not all of the content therein. It is a wonderful piece meant for consumption, practice and for the record. Keep the flag flying. All hope is not lost. Not when one can still access this type of information from a resourceful mind.

  2. Omueti Oviebo Godfre

    Those who know your problem are far from you.i wish you know problem…

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