Now, in different power centres across the nation, critical discussions and mobilization are all centred on who the next leaders of Nigeria must be this 2015. Meetings, strategy sessions, primitive diabolic and spiritual incursions, and operations in stratagem are presently on-going in this regard. What is ahead is largely unknown. But what is clear to all is that BUSINESS AS USUAL is DYING FAST! Here, I will remain the voice of the very conscience of our next leaders and their observers, otherwise called the people. My singular goal is to inspire responsibility.
Probably the most critical thought for our next leaders is the truth that though we appear to be relatively at peace, we are actually engaged in a subtle but deadly war. They must know that beyond bombs in the North East and kidnappings in the South East and South South, we are in a war against a great many of the norms we have allowed to pass for too long. We are at war against the limitations posed by infrastructural deficiencies and retrogressive policies. We are at war with selfishness and greed. We are at war with our thinking. We are at war with our history. We are at war with our ethnic and religious diversity. We are at war with ourselves. Actually, the people are angry!
Our next leaders must work with the correct assumption that the people are angry; and are getting angrier by the day. Our wives, husbands, children, friends, employees and employers, colleagues and associates are those who daily soak the impact of our anger; not necessarily the custodians of the system that incubates the frustration. Believe it; this even gets the people more angry as they behold their scripted individual and collective helplessness that allows them to merely talk about the inventors of their pain, while they attack their loved ones with the frustration. Our next leaders must understand the language of nature and history that very soon…gradually…the people will take the anger to where it foundationally belongs, if the character and genius does not begin to emerge from the custodians of power.
Our next leaders must understand that no person is and no people are designed by nature to perpetually endure the torture of ignorance, hardship and pain. Power dynamics dictates that ignorance, hardship and pain have a natural lifespan; and that each human soul must own enough power to experience the attention, resource and advancement his individuality deserves. The science has to be that while hardship and pain breeds’ frustration; ignorance, left unguarded and not emancipated, possess incredible potential to organize itself in time and through wild, angry and negative reactions, ignorance will evolve into a formidable adversary. When mass ignorance is angry and becomes an adversary, it is usually an unpleasant experience for power centres anywhere.
Power centres must accept that the Nigerian masses are terribly ignorant; and that this ignorance has been manipulated for over 50years, but can only be manipulated for so long. The people are manipulated to use their ignorance to pretend that their votes lead to change, when in truth and at best, the votes are only a critical tool to move power from bad leaders to worse leaders or from worse leaders to bad leaders. Nigerians rarely make choices between good and bad; and at this point in time, the nation lacks the character to make the choice between good and better or between better and best. Fundamentally, the nation is rarely presented with such options. It’s only a matter of time, one day, Nigeria’s greatest problem, the mass ignorance of the people, will be solved by nature through consciousness. This consciousness will not come from the walls of academics. No! it will come from the continuous and consistent stings of pain and frustration—an education of the human soulical content that comes from a compelling need to take a new and unpopular look at his environment, recognize the worst kind of hardship and pain he can experience in it, ask if other options exist about how this pain and hardship can be greeted outside the limits of fear and opaqueness, commit to the journey of finding those options, then finding the options and embracing them as a matter of supreme urgency. It’s called power to the people; and this power is purposeful and best when it is willingly given to the people through meaningful and manageable welfare economic structures and systems in a credible and working democracy. With this, it breeds genuine mass followership. But this power is dreadful, lethal, deadly and disastrous when it is denied the people through fear, oppression, hardship and pain. Part of the wisdom for our next leaders is for them to accept that even if the lustful desire of a power centre is to retain power, power dynamics still dictate that the best and most enduring way to retain power is to give power.
The big lesson for our next leaders is the truth that they must supply the requirements that the people seek or become the victims of nature—it is not a curse, it is a dictate of power. Power dynamics demands it: It states that as long as power is not faithfully used to serve and protect the welfare and security of the people and to drive peace and stability, power will shift to another custodian as a deliberate movement in the direction of progress and to give another power-host a chance to dignify or shame himself or herself. Power dynamics dictates so.
Truth be told, what Africans wanted before independence, is what they still want now in 2015. After many years of independence, their conditions have not changed; as a matter of fact, they are now worse. But the lives of their leaders, politicians, social critics and even their nationalist and freedom fighters are better; they are more famous, they have more money, bigger investments and top reputation capital earned at the expense of the people’s social and economic peace. More than territorial integrity, the people wanted equal opportunities, adequate infrastructure that supports the creative expression and freedom their individuality deserves. With independence achieved, African nations actually began a long and strange march towards growth and development that made development look so complex and mysterious—a strange march that has taken more than fifty years in the wilderness of mismanagement, corruption and poverty and has left a generation dead and unfulfilled—without having seen the Promised Land—a promised land of quality education, rapid infrastructural development, and mass employment for its citizens. This is the complex history that lies at the base of the civil wars, wide spread poverty and disease that has ravaged the continent. But if we think in this manner about the people of 50years ago, we must think differently about the people of 2015 and the responsibility they must accept. Nigeria’s next leaders must know this and understand that these are the critical goals to defend in office.
The THREE (3) CRITICAL GOALS for the next leaders has to be: (1) 24-hour Power Supply (2) Security of Life and Property everywhere, evidenced critically in the defeat of Boko Haram and (3) Alleviation of CORRUPTION through TECHNOLOGY. However, while campaigns from some of the unpopular political parties are more practical, measurable and justifiable; in the various campaign speeches from both PDP and APC especially, we have heard more rhetoric and hot air than at any other time in our political history. We hear BIG TALKS with zero discussion of the “HOW” to the PROMISES being made. Our next leaders must accept that PROMISES that will NOT SHOW the “HOW”, is making a HIGHLY AUDACIOUS MOVE to INSULT the INTELLIGENCE of the people. In critical and pressurised times such as this, our leaders and aspiring leaders need to know that the people are tired of mere talk…we need the science to these promises…the HOW!
Yet, from a wider spectrum, I am more disturbed by the shallow thinking of most of our elites and change agents. Politicians are only able to display such affront of making promises without a communication of the “HOW”, only because they know it’s enough for the head and hearts of the people. Conscious minds everywhere must demand that the “HOWs” should come with each promise on the manifestos. It is a noble demand. No candidate, whether of PDP or APC or SDP, UPN or any other, should actually allow ANY VOTER DEMAND for the HOWs. It is the moral duty of the candidate and the moral right of the people to know the HOWs to every promise. It is actually service and justice to all. I consider it an INSULT for ANY CANDIDATE to expect ANY NIGERIAN to CAST a VOTE based on ZERO-TALK about the HOWs. CHANGE is a SCIENCE, not a WISH! CHANGE is METHODICAL. The HOWs of the PROMISES are as CRITICAL as the CHANGE. No conscious Nigerian should understand why he or she should use PURCHASING POWER to BUY what is NOT UNDERSTOOD. We should rather NOT BUY. We should know ALL the BRANDS (14 Political Parties) that the market (INEC) has made available, know the BRAND that can deliver the best customer experience and INVEST our PURCHASING POWER (VOTES) in that direction.
We should and must ONLY vote according to our conscience not through sentiments or uninformed bias. It is common sense; and anything outside this is no longer the conscience. Conscience cannot communicate truth and meaning without understanding. The pride of a conscious soul is to say that candidates on all sides must lead the conversations about the HOWs if there is a serious interest in my vote. This resolve is one of the proof of my education. Our conscience cannot make a well informed choice without first hearing out ALL candidates, assessing them based on the standards of PROMISES and HOWs, and then voting based on who can lead us in the manner that will deliver the value. Change is only experienced when conscious and large-hearted souls accept the responsibility, burden and contribution to leadership. Our vote should be a formidable contribution.
It comes back to our soulical contents. Our next leaders must know that they must be bold and be proud to think, behave, relate, or initiate unusually—the original way—with clear impact on policy formulation and legislation. Our next leaders must find the empathetic sense, humility, strength and courage to drive this. I remind our next leaders of the ideal that, against all odds, by the force of nature, seasons go, seasons come, and the content of history is determined by the choices of mortals who accept responsibility for the outcomes they prefer. This Spirit of Change will inevitably sweep across most parts of Nigeria, ushering a new school of leaders. I assure our next leaders that the process will prove slow but it will be inevitable. Business as usual is dead…don’t be the last to know. Rather, accept that the glorious office of those who changed Nigeria is still vacant and available for today’s people to work to occupy. The future is waiting to put the names of such uncommon leaders in the annals of history as the change agents and the new fathers and mothers of the great nation Nigeria. The leaders who can lead this change are the ones with the character to embrace their sense of mission above the pettiness their personal interest can define. The future is waiting. Nigeria’s next leaders must know these. And the responsibility also lies on the rest of us to DEMAND that they know these things and DO them for the betterment of our nation and continent.
Olakunle A. SORIYAN, is a Transformation Strategist, Thought Revolutionist, Total Life Management and Nation-Building Trainer, Coach, Consultant, Public Speaker and Commentator. He can be reached on firstname.lastname@example.org
We are presently investing huge budgets on our 100years centenary celebrations. Ghana is also celebrating her independence. I congratulate the people of Ghana because they fairly do have enough to celebrate in terms of the advancements in their socio-economic and political realities as a nation. You should undertake a brief study of the Ghanaian socio-economic and political landscape to be able to fully appreciate what is happening in Ghana. Yet, in my opinion, the economy of the whole of Ghana is crumbs compared to the economy of Lagos State alone. I still cannot fathom why Nigeria cannot boast of 24hours uninterrupted power supply after 100years of existence and 54years of independence.
Someone told me not to count our colonial days as a measurement of our development; but I then ask why we are celebrating it? If it cannot fit into the measurements of our economic and political integrity, then it should not be worth celebrating. I weep for my country because while in my personal life of a little over 40years, I always have so much to celebrate, my heart breaks at the fate of over 100million Nigerians struggling and engaging hope to define relevance, meaning, and fulfillment for their unique destiny.
I weep because nationally, it seems the only virtue worth rejoicing over will be the gift of existence as a people and as a nation. The dejected look of hopelessness I will most likely see on the faces of numerous Africans as I drive down the streets today, gives me the drive to say what I’m saying now. I work daily to inspire 1% of our population across Africa to accept the believe in our own ability to solve problems, and a belief that our culture and effective structures can and will allow us benefit from our efforts; and that this belief, amongst all else, must be developed and sustained on a large scale, if economic growth, development and global relevance must be attained.
From my research, I see that in 50years, the next dimension of colonization would have began all over so-called 3rd world nations. It’s nothing like the ones we experienced in the hands of the British, French, Portuguese, Italians, Belgians, and so on. No. This time, it will be voluntary with a new kind of contents unimaginable today. The next colonization will be voluntary. Nations of their own accord will submit themselves to more economically and militarily powerful nations. They will be so confounded by the prevailing poverty, misery and sorrow; they will plead with other nations to absorb them as an extension of their country. Nations are already jogging to take their place in this new dispensation of voluntary colonization. Those who will be the ones pleading to be absorbed are already unconsciously getting ready with the apathy, negligence and corruption that characterize their people and their governments.
The adults of 2065 should not be able to live one successful day without looking back at their history to thank God for the actors who did it—the actors who played their roles in 2014 and gave 2065 strength, order, color and pride. They will do that or they will curse our graves and spit at our weak posterity because we so valued our prevailing peace and forgot that children will grow. That should be the narrative. I write today as part of a conscious movement; and as you read today, you may experience a wide range of emotions, don’t allow it do anything to you other than to unnerve and push you toward the innovative edge you must sustain as one of the actors of today. It’s a choice.
Nigeria is ironically ranked amongst some of the poorest nations in the world. The paradox this tenth largest oil producing nation presents is very instructive. It’s now clear that a nation is hardly as wealthy as its stock of natural resources or foreign reserves. It’s now clear that natural resources can even be a disadvantage. In Singapore, a former third world nation, the only thing natural is the people of Singapore and they obviously don’t have the blessing of 160million people. But they are a first world nation today. The co-founder of Facebook has naturalized to a Singaporean! I mean, who drops American citizenship for that of another nation? But Singapore is attracting best brains from all over the world not just to work, but as new citizens. They are not attracting suffering Africans seeking survival; they are attracting prosperous talents from the West and America who seek a different kind of mental usefulness, impact and liberation. What made the difference is hardly a secret. Without the seeming privilege of massive oil reserves, precious stones or minerals, the nation of Singapore was able to rise to such heights of prominence, primarily, through the sheer innovation and determination of ITS PEOPLE…HUMAN CAPITAL! People made the difference in Singapore. The knowledge and ideas of the people and the value inherent in those ideas made all the difference.
Africa needs the doggedness of her people to convert human capital into Intellectual Capital through focused training, people development and a kind of education served as the fulcrum for their critical economic advancement. This has been the strategy of every truly developed nation—heavy investment in Intellectual Capital resulting in cutting edge inventions and innovation, but owned and driven by the people, not just governments. May our leaders see…and may our people even see more. Understand this: The GOAL of KNOWLEDGE is to know what you will STOP DOING and what you will START DOING. Your feedback is important on this platform. Go!
Africa has been touted as the next frontier for economic prosperity, but the guys on ground are not as optimistic as possible. Economies like Nigeria have continued to grow by at least 7% for the last 5 years, but this has not translated to better standards of living for the people. From America, to Syria, to Egypt, to Nigeria, the prevailing strategy has been the caution that says: massage the status-quo, a little tweaking here and there; apply a few measured solutions and we’ll be fine. Unfortunately, this has not worked.
Civil strife has continued to worsen, unemployment rate is still on the ascendancy, educational systems are still far behind 21st century realities, and caution is not working. No matter where within the spectrum of political, business, and civil society we play, incremental solutions just won’t cut it. What we need are big, bold, audacious steps. We need new and challenging visions for the future. We will need them to create an innovation based economy that focuses on technology and energy, we need large amounts of daring to fund large-scale infrastructure projects, to establish public and private partnerships for socio-economic development, to fix our state agencies and even to lead our families. This is not a time for small ambitions and moderate manoeuvres. This is a time for bold moves.
We all agree that creativity is the primary leadership requirement of the post-modern world. We cannot navigate the uncertainties today without the ability to imagine an alternative future. As I point you toward the start-up generation of the last three decades, permit me to also point you to seven critical factors that have made them thick; factors we must keep in mind as we interrogate the imperative of boldness in the time of uncertainty.
One, it’s all up to you. DYI. Entrepreneurs bootstrap their new ideas until they can be tangible. Authors set up their own book tours and come up with their own promotional ideas. Film-makers distribute their own films and make their own YouTube channels.
Two, you are not alone. From Google to Apple, to Facebook, some of the greatest start-ups we know are products of collaboration. Nobody expects you to go it alone today. We will have to reach across the aisle to find those who possess the skills or resources we lack and forge mutually beneficial partnerships.
Three, it’s not just about money; it’s about creating value or the probability of value. We will not be able to galvanize the support we need to achieve anything bold and extraordinary without being able to communicate its value in unambiguous language to our respective constituencies and stakeholders.
Four, you don’t need a big organization to achieve your aims. Big corporate structures are fine for some things – they can spend $100 million on marketing. But they are slow and, by nature, conservative. Think the Nigerian civil service. But in artists and entrepreneurs, in contrast, are fast and risk-prone, lean and effective. Big innovations and big creative leaps don’t come, necessarily, from big companies. They come from dedicated, scrappy people working outside of large structures.
Five, reinvent yourself before you invent your next solution. As a creative and entrepreneurial person, you don’t like to repeat yourself. You’ll get bored if you have to climb the same mountain. So you continually train, learn, make, re-make, destroy and start over, because next time, you want your experience to be different, and better.
Six, promoting yourself and your work comes with the territory. You need to feel comfortable talking about yourself and your work. These are not the times for self-deprecating leadership. For many people, this is a hard one to overcome, especially because we live in a society where so much criticism is thoughtless and cheap. But if you come out of hiding, you will discover that even though selling your work yourself is a necessity, it is also a fulfilling experience.
And seven, if there’s no passion, you shouldn’t be doing it. If you clear away the brush, you’ll be able to see the trail. While the path may not be easy because life pretty much guarantees that nothing worth doing is ever easy, you’ll find that the steps can become clear.
Today, much is made of the leader who strives for consensus and this of course has its place. There is great value in these leadership talents and behaviours, yet they lead to a potential risk as well. When all decisions are made or confirmed in meetings, when everyone has a say in every situation, you will almost always get safe, conventional, traditional decisions. You won’t get boldness. Someone has to say, “Enough negotiating, we need to declare independence.” Someone has to say, “We aren’t going to make a better horse carriage, we are going to make an auto-mobile.” Someone has to say, “People will want the internet on their phone.” Someone has to say, “It is time for a new direction, a new vision, it’s time for something bold.” This is a part of the leader’s role. If you aren’t willing or feel unable to make a bold statement of vision or to decide on a new course of action, you aren’t leading. Does that mean the best leader is an autocrat, relying solely on their own vision, bombastically making bold decisions every day? Not at all. But boldness must be included in your leadership style and approach, and it will be most effective and valued when it is a balanced part of who you are as a leader.
What was your last bold act, decision or statement as a leader? When was that? How comfortable were you with that action? What results came from it? What do your answers to these questions teach you about your future? What bold thing will you do today? Go!