2019: The Nagging Paradox Of Authentic Leadership


By Samuel Akpobome Orovwuje
LAGOS JULY 5TH (NEWSRANGERS)-The regretful narrative of episodic elections and political leadership deficit reminds me of Robert Kaplan classic entitled: The coming of Anarchy. In the book, he painted a gloomy picture of how episodic experiment in democracy, scarcity, crime, over population, ethnicity, and weak leadership are rapidly destroying the social fabric of our planet and indeed Nigeria. This statement underscores the challenges of authentic leadership and the call by the next generation youth to take the country from the old guards.
Indeed the declared intention of the incumbent President Mohammadu Buhari to run in 2019 has received a considerable media attention; little of it has focused on the changing dynamics of the Not Too Young to Rule Act 2018.The commonality of interest that is emerging from the various town hall meetings and civic engagements in addressing the debatable national question that is essentially hinged on restructuring, devolution, territorial dimensions of the state that reflect true federalism and a wake – up call for a new governance architecture or paradigm shift in line with global practice for developing a healthy competition driven by resource- endowments would be the key driver for sustainable leadership in the coming months particularly for the presidential elections.
Indeed the real conversation is let the elites not betray us and this article emerges out from a larger, developing project to build a network of new breed politicians with a sense of an uncommon passion to address the critical mass of nation building. A content analysis of their aspiration projects and template are robust and forward thinking and in my view represents the gameness of authentic leadership waiting to happen!
Sadly, the nation in the last five decade or so has have terrified followership that never asked for constructive feedback from elected leaders which has resulted in maladaptive behaviours from the old guards that is foisted on us by a select few that manipulate the greater majority with empty promises and provincial sentiments largely driven by existential greed.
Furthermore, old guards and the youth succession nexus has been abysmally low. The challenge over the years has been devious; no clear pathway to leadership recruitment based on coaching, mentorship, and succession planning mechanisms for nation- building and the political arrangements where everything resides at the centre is suspect.
More worrisome is the centre’s inability to deal with a variety of violent extremism, the continuous risk with rent – seeking, illiterate leaders and a bureaucracy that is far from new governance ecosystem
Equally significant, although tinged with some sadness, is the manifestation of unstructured leadership recruitment, procrastinations, existential denial, brooding, ethnic jealousy and the political elites self – sabotaging mechanism of youth exclusion from public policy debates and the promotion of political violence through thuggery and savagery during elections has been the bane of our political behaviour and national building efforts.
Crucially, the tantalizing elite power arrogance may be the most seriously self – deceiving attitude in the 2019 general elections that can afflict the APC and PDP in winning majority, particularly where propaganda and non- performance are evident in the two of a kind towards our nation building efforts. What is more, an apparent optimism by the old sharks across the political divide of assured winning tends to undermine a proper concern for the Not Too Young to Rule in the emerging power equation and the changing dynamics of electioneering in the days ahead.
In addition, the political myopia, the idea of indispensability by the ruling elite and the pretty conviction that there is no substitute for real leadership in my view is a daydream and on the other hand, the tenacious belief in their continued superiority as result of stolen wealth from the state to manipulate the process may blur our search for fresh hands that will deliver the common good. However, enlightened and vigorous agenda setting will enhance a reverse leadership that will stand the test of time and the time is now!
Interestingly, as a nation we urgently need to reframe the leadership versus followership narratives that gives room for realistic goals with a view creating a positive dialogue and conversations that can correct and signpost the current leadership deficit that dots the political setting. We must provoke and sustain the debate on restructuring and civic engagements beyond the rhetoric and emotions of empty campaign promises and voting- buying orchestras that will moving across the country soliciting for our votes. We must demand a balance scorecard of deliverables and achievement milestones against budget and plans.
Going forward, one the major ways to achieving authentic leadership is that citizens must to learn reflect and suggest policy changes to a specific issue, which are debated at a public event and specific questions, asked during electioneering campaigns. Furthermore, adopted public policy motions should be shared with respective presidential candidates, state governors, state and local authorities for consideration when voted into office. This in my view will provide a realistic performance bond in the coming years.
Therefore, as informed followers particularly with the drumbeat and pranks for the 2019 general elections, we must frame the conversations to provide viewpoint and profile the outlook for a new national proposals and plan of actions, which the new movements for the restoration of a new Nigeria should, pursued with vigor. Further, we need to mollify the old breed and unadventurous self – serving elite club that we can recalibrate and develop a shared vision and mobilise commitment to change through joint diagnosis of nation- building challenges particularly with the institutionalization and revitalization of federal structures and systems that energize competitiveness for national productivity and progress.
Indeed societal diversity is an asset of any great country if the mutual strengths of each group can be recognised and harnessed to complement each other. The ongoing movement of NOT TOO YOUNG TO RULE gives hope that a new leadership can evolve when there is genuine willingness from all sides including partnering with all the interventionist groups. It is my view that a shift in the existing leadership structure may be the magic wand that would return Nigeria its pride of place.
While we have been plagued since 1999 with electoral fraud with the implicit absence of real swinging between political parties makes the leadership and national question a tall order, the electoral process, and its operators look more suspect in the days ahead. Nevertheless, citizen’s cognitive dissonance of the old guards and the few reforms on the electoral code as amended may be the game – changer in the scheme of things comes 2019.
By all accounts, the more blatant forms of electoral fraud, including voter intimidation and stuffing of ballot boxes should be curtailed, in order to enhance the credibility of the process. The coming days are likely to be as sunny, despite the best efforts of the old and treacherous leaders to sustain their crafty games of propaganda, vote – buying, media hard sell for mind – share and debauchery in high places.
Lastly, the usual burdens of deployment of state apparatus to hoodwink the people are gone, thanks to new media, and above all, money – politics, godfatherism and garrison commanders’ mentality, is blanched, by the boisterous youth and interventionist groups across the country galvanizing to unseat the status – quo particularly at the centre. Indeed the admirable support of the vibrant youths that transverse the political landscape, the enthusiasm of our young voters and the traumatized middle – class is a constant stimulus, the uncommon demands of a new Nigeria is a reminder of a lost country in search of a new beginning. The looming reduction in the support for old politicians and their collaborators is on the horizon. Now, more than ever, we need authentic leadership that is free from elite provincialism and broken promises! Let the elites not betray us!
Orovwuje, is Founder, Humanitarian Care for Displaced Persons, Lagos.

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Posted by on Jul 5 2018. Filed under Features, State. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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