No matter how you look at it, Nigeria is really not in a good place right now. There are just too many things not working. Even the most basic of amenities are, for the most part, unavailable. And the biggest part of the issue? The blatant incompetence of our leaders.
I was in a taxi a couple of days ago and as usual, the taxi man was talking even though I was barely listening. I tell you, a quiet taxi driver has to be a tourist attraction. Sorry for digressing. He was talking about how unstable the country is, how it seems as though the lives of the people have become worthless, and so on. And then he said something that struck a chord.
“Why won’t Nigeria be in trouble? Don’t you think it’s a show of shame when a governor has to borrow money to pay salaries of state workers? What is the state doing? If a state cannot support itself, why does it exist?”
Before then, my seat was reclined and I had earphones on, blocking out most of what he was saying. However when he said that I sat up and took the earphones off. I wanted to listen to his thoughts concerning that. So I asked him what he thought was responsible for that.
“What we have are politicians in positions of responsibility. These people have no background, no skills whatsoever. They have never held jobs; have never run companies. How do you put people with no idea how to generate income in charge of the fate of a whole state?”
That made me think.
I was in my last place of employment for two years. During that time, we were never owed salaries.
You read that right.
Our salaries were always on time – except on two occasions. Once it was a day late. The second time it was a week late. During that time the boss was so embarrassed he refused to show his face at the usual meetings.
We the employees thought it was funny, but I learned a valuable lesson during that time – a lesson that has served me time and time again now that I don’t have a day job. When you’re a boss/leader, you have the responsibility of people’s lives resting on your shoulders; you cannot afford to be irresponsible or even irresolute. It is important you always know what the target is; you must always keep your team together and focused.
Apart from the antics these leaders constantly entertain the world with, it’s almost impossible to believe any one of them has had a real world experience. Sometimes, I wonder if they actually have any idea what they are supposed to be doing; if they know just how much responsibility rests on their shoulders.
It’s been often emphasised and I have often mentioned just how important leadership skills are to an entrepreneur. It’s the foundation on which everything else is built – the ground that holds the team, the company or even a project together. He has to be resourceful, always come up with whatever the team needs to function.
“Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown” was one of my mother’s favourite sayings. She showed me the absurdity of wanting a leadership role and thinking it’ll all be just fun and games. Nothing can be further from the truth.
I’m not a politician. In fact, I really do not like talking about Nigerian politics because it’s just depressing. But I would have to be blind, deaf and dead if I do not realise the whole electoral process needs a review.
Godfatherism is doing nothing but digging the country deeper into the mire. We need leaders with real world experience, leaders who know what it is to handle – to steer – the destinies of a few million people, and leaders who truly understand what responsibility is.
So far, all we have are a bunch of people who are connected and have money to throw around. That’s not what a drowning country needs – not now, not ever.
Here are qualities of good leaders.
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