By Afolabi Aribigbola
One of the best ways to shape the lives of future generations in any society the world over is the quality and the life-style of the leadership. Generally, leadership has been described as the ability of an individual or a group of individuals to influence and guide other members of a society or organization. The essence of leadership is to provide direction for growth and development as well as to mentor others.
While it is not my intention to dwell on the meaning and purpose of leadership, it should be emphasized that leaders are emplaced to chart a direction and programme of growth and development for the people. Therefore the goal of this write-up is to highlight how present leadership styles or pattern are impacting on the youth and by extension the future of the country. Inevitably, the youth of today will grow to become the leaders of tomorrow. That being the case, they will definitely be influenced by the current leaders and tendencies, whether positively or negatively. However, our the youths being properly mentored in a desired way. What are the youth learning from our leaders of today, civility or thuggery? And the lessons they are receiving guide them in the right paths?. These and others are some of the concerns that motivated bringing into focus the issue of leaderships and its consequences especially on the youth that will take over from them.
The upcoming generation will look up to the present leaders with regards to how they behave, what they say and do as the standard for shaping their lives as well as what they do and can do. Of course, it has been said and argued that poor leadership or leadership failure in all realms of life, in politics, economy, education, trade and industry among others is the source of Nigerians problems and the causes of current crisis and associated vices such as kidnapping, insurgency, insecurity and banditry in all parts of the country. Indeed, leaders in all aspect of life in Nigeria have not been influencing the younger ones in good ways.
For instance, the quick-rich-syndrome being exhibited and the display of opulence in the public by the youth are by products of what they learn and see in people. The tendency and overriding goal of many youths in Nigeria is to seek to become wealthy at all costs even without working.The proliferation of internet frauds also known as yahoo yahoo and its very recent version of yahoo plus is a direct fall out of the get rich syndrome exhibited by leaders.
One of the questions that require answer is, are the present crop of leaders displaying exemplary conduct that the upcoming generations of Nigerians can imbibe and emulate. Or are the present leaders in all spheres of life still being driven by what people have been described as “do what I say and not what I do. This is because the conduct of leaders in all spheres of life in Nigeria are nothing to write home about as we shall demonstrate in subsequent write ups. In short, the leadership of the country have been adjudged to have failed.
One of the most important attributes of leaders is to mentor and guide others to the top or to become successful. In Nigeria the crop of leaders that have dominated the political landscape of the country since the 1970s are still around calling the shot. A cursory observation of present political leaders revealed most of them have been holding one position or the others since the 1970s and are still around being recircled. Many people that have occupied positions since the third republic in 1999 are recircled personalities that occupied one position or the other in the 1970s, 1980s 1990s are still occupying political offices. Of course, if these leaders are effective, there is no problem. The reality is that many are not doing well and are only imposing themselves on the nation. They have not been able to deliver not to talk of mentoring and the youths to take over leadership positions
Another essential and good attribute of a leader is they should be active and productive personalities imbued with ability to set good examples of hard work for others. Are Nigerian leaders active and productive to be able to set examples for others. Attendance at the National Assembly most often revealed poor attendance, many of our political office holders don’t have offices and many don’t go to work at all. All they do most often is to struggle to amass wealth. Failure in this aspect of life is not limited to the political realm. In education, many teachers or lecturers are charged with the responsibility of moulding future leaders are not available to teach them. The story is the same in other aspects of life. What of the doctors, are they productive?
Besides, integrity is another critical element of quality leadership. Without being immodest, can one argue without fear of contradiction that majority of Nigerian leaders have integrity? Of course, there are many leader with integrity in the country. However, the visible leaders especially in politics in the country do not exhibit integrity. Many have been found to be extremely corrupt and have been openly looting treasury. Such have nothing to bequeath to upcoming generation. Role modelling that leaders are known to be to their followers are invariably missing in Nigeria. Is it possible to want to emulate leaders whose source of wealth and power are not dignifying and cannot be ascertained? This is serious in the quest for socio-economic development of Nigeria.
Leadership according to Brian Tracy (2014)are made not born. Are we making the right leaders that will take the country forward? Are the present leaders not misguiding and misleading future leaders by their conduct and actions. In the present dispensation in Nigeria, can the present crop of leaders make for future leaders for Nigeria? I am afraid for the future of Nigeria. The intention of todays write up should not be misconstrued. It is not to say that the country is totally bereft of leaders that the youth can emulate and follow. The reality is that we have a few of them especially in religious circle, the professions and educational institutions where there are individuals that still exhibit and practice good morals and standard ways of doing things. The challenge is that their camp is dwindling over the years.
Leadership failure can be very costly and must be addressed, Since the cost can not be easily determined, it is better or incumbent on us all to begin to find solution into it. One way to go about it is moral rebirth. There is a need to begin to change things by reviewing how we do business in the country by instilling discipline and imbibing good standard morals on the youths. Our lost traditional ways of respect for elders and hardwork need to be revisited and reenacted if we are to ensure the future of Nigeria and her future. Impunity that is widespread in the country must be attached and stopped. Also corruption that have eaten deep to the fabrics of Nigerian society need to be eliminated before it destroy Nigeria.