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10 Nov Written by  Japheth Omojuwa

The Exemplary Leader Nigeria Needs

One was privileged to attend the Daystar Excellence in Leadership Conference with the theme "Exemplary Leader." An apt topic for Nigeria across the planes of time: yesterday, right now and the tomorrows to come. The Excellence in Leadership and the Daystar Leadership Academy have helped to shape one's understanding of leadership and it helps to place the lessons beside Nigeria's realities.

More often than not you hear those who defend mediocrity in Nigeria say something like "these problems have been there, why are we making it look as if this current government created them?" That is of course sad because it is an excuse for those who have a chance to make things better, to lay a foundation for growth and development and to engender a culture of excellence to shirk from that responsibility.

Leadership is a continuum is many ways. For the leader, it has nothing to do with whatever office he or she occupies; it has everything to do with personal responsibility wherever one finds oneself. For the office, someone else will always take over from where we stop-- the most critical thing is to make our successors be grateful that we are the ones they are succeeding. How can they be grateful if instead of spending years fixing things and fixing lives, we spend them excusing our failures? We cannot excuse our own failures on the failures of those who came before us. Our job is to get our job done!

The revered public speaker and teacher, Sam Adeyemi did say that “if you find yourself leading people you do not genuinely love, your failure in that position is predictable.” That sums up Nigeria across many levels. More often than not we use the mirror we ought to use for ourselves to judge our leaders but to be honest, we are them in many ways.

We make life difficult for ourselves more than those at the top even manage. We are the ones that owe our staff salaries and never even bother to apologize for depriving them of their rights. We are the ones who see others in our care as though they hardly exist. How many times have you intentionally greeted your gate-man? When last did you thank your chef or maid? Have you ever sat down with your office driver to ask him or her how he or she copes with his/her meagre salary? Instead of doing these things, we even make life difficult for them. The oppression that happens at the macro level is mirrored in small measures at the micro level.

Don’t you find it ironic that men who beat their own wives at home are often the ones who are most critical about the leaders at the top? We are all leaders. Someway, somehow, you are leading people. Some people are looking up to you and learning from you. What sort of leader are you? If the leadership you deliver in your little space today were to be the standard across the nation, would ours be a better country? You should answer that question critically and then let us all commit to raising exemplary leaders, bottom up. From homes and the family, to the very top. One day, we will build this Nigeria house. Until then, lead, and lead well, wherever you are.

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