It was 12:35am. We were alone in the house, my sister and I. Our parents had gone for a vigil. By the way, our small apartment is not fenced, and we had a small farm beside our building. Now this was an era where bandits and herdsmen were maiming and killing people in different corners of Benin City, Nigeria. My sister heard it first, cows on our farm eating up our crops.
Perhaps they got an info our parents were not in the house. But someone needed to take the lead and kick these imposters out.
I told my sister to stay calm and not say a word. Came up quickly with a security tactic I learnt some time ago. I went close to the window and gave a loud cry, “Malam!”, paused for a few seconds and screamed again, “Malam get out from our farm now!” That was with all the braveness and strength I could muster. The herders left almost immediately. Thank God!
My elder sister is as kind as I am. But I am tougher. And I knew at that moment she didn’t have the boldness to handle that scenario. Even though she is older than I am, I had to step up and protect my sister.
Leadership is courage, it is knowing your strength and using it for the good of everybody.
Presently, Nigeria is up and running in preparation for the upcoming 2023 presidential election. Like never in history, the youth are more active and have decided, leveraging their higher populace, who will become their president. Many, if not all well-meaning and reasonable youths have decided never to vote for the presidential aspirant of the People Democratic Party. Reason: A few months before the different parties chose their flag bearers, a gruesome murder took place in the north. Actually, it was lynching. A 25years old Deborah, student of Shehu Shagari College of Education, Sokoto was set ablaze and burnt to ashes, her crime; blasphemy. Many people took to online streets agitating and condemning this evil against humanity. Atiku Abubaka, the presidential candidate of PDP did the same. His tweet:
“There can not be a justification for such gruesome murder. Deborah Yakubu was murdered and all those behind her death must be brought to justice. My condolences to her family and friends.”
In no moment, the tweet was deleted in all his social media pages while he even went ahead to deny every association with such a tweet. Whatever reason he deleted that tweet for, religious or political, is the same reason we know he can never handle Nigeria’s welfare unbiased.
Leadership entails empathy to our fellow human beings, irrespective of our tribes or religion.
After Peter Obi bore the presidential flag of the Labour Party, almost immediately the Obidient movement was gaining momentum. In no time everyone knew what major mandate the Peter Obi’s government would stand for. We saw the vision written plain, not just in words but in action. Peter Obi voluntarily sponsored himself to Egypt, understudying how they won the battle over poor electricity supply. With electricity failure being a major sickness in Nigeria, he didn’t just tell us he was ready for the task; he showed us!
Leadership is having a vision, making it clear for your followers to see and run with, through dedication and relevant action!!
The vice-presidential candidate of the Labour Party is a president in his own right. A business tycoon who has demonstrated success in the private sector. He is Chancellor of two notable universities in two big cities in Nigeria. Many leaders answer to him. Yet, in the spirit of service to Nigeria and with utmost humility, he willingly and gladly accepts to be running mate to Nigeria’s incoming president Peter Obi. He is Obidient! Unlike some disobedient fellow who has only known politics as their major if not only source of income, yet thinks they cannot serve Nigeria as vice under anyone. Shaking my head. Do I remind you that Dr Yusuf Ahmed Datti rightly acknowledges and honors the crown and mantle of leadership on our delightable Principal and 2023 Nigeria incoming president Peter Obi.
A good leader is humble and understands that leadership is all about service.
Any leadership without accountability and transparency is fraud. Someone has got to hold you responsible and we get to know exactly what you are doing! A good man can become absolutely corrupt in a system void of transparency.
If society is too weak to hold you accountable, make your leadership an open book. Make yourself accountable. That puts an automatic check on you. And yes, you are right, it’s a tough one.
One last quality of leadership I think people underestimate is resilience. It’s easier to give up sometimes, but true leaders hold the team together and stay put to the end.
I have had a few moments when I stand on the podium. Right on the front stage as a leader. The cheers, admiration and respect is heartwarming. It is easy to think in those times that all of that defines a good leader. But deep down in my heart, I remember the struggles and sacrifices. They are what led me here. Not the cheers or claps. These virtues are often unnoticed, ignored and sometimes despised. Sacrifice, courage, empathy, vision, service, humility, transparency, integrity and resilience are true qualities that make a good leader.
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