Its Holiday Season again and I wish to thank all who have been encouraging what I set out to do when I started this blog. I felt there was a need in our nation and indeed in all nations of the world for political parties to have a clear cut ideology. Many decent Nigerians shy away from the political process because it seems the parties haven't yet articulated clear cut ideals which they stand for. The voters are therefore confused! I still wonder if I will cast my vote in the next election? Should I vote for the party or the individual? Most likely I will vote for the individual because all the parties look alike to me! In fact all the parties look like Siamese twins. Not only are they identical but they're joined to each other at some vital point! That's how serious it is. I would have decided not to cast my vote at all but then I wouldn't have a moral justification to complain when things go wrong.
Well, that's as far as I can go on why I started this blog in the first instance. I hope that as it garners more readers round the world we can stimulate a critical mass of Nigerians who will get very angry when their leaders just flip flop from one political platform to another. It only shows that our leaders may just be there for other reasons apart from your welfare and mine. Or it may just be that they do these things because you and I act like we don't care. We act as if everything is ok.
In continuation of a previous write up in which we talked about why True Leadership Tarries by taking
1. A fresh look at our value system
2. A fresh look at our oneness as a people
Today let's consider
3. The conquistador mentality
Where did Nigerians get the idea that once you're in leadership the perks of office can be used how you please? Where did we learn that official properties can be converted for personal use, or that money that doesn't belong to us can be 'borrowed' to meet our own needs without ever paying back? Who told us that official letter headed papers can be used to pursue personal contracts. Who told us that we can act as though being a leader means being an owner of the official property? Leadership is transient but values are permanent
A friend in one of our arguments once said - what our political parties lack in ideology, Nigerians in general lack in values! And that lacking ingredient is consistency.
Doesn't it irk you at times that a very sound principled man suddenly enters a position of leadership and then he throws all his principles away? I asked one leader once, why he is different now that he is in government from when he was a union leader. He said 'my brother, now my hands are tied'... Really? What tied the hands? A ghost or the winds? How come when as a union leader you led protests against the way things are done you never agreed that anyone's hands could be tied? And now suddenly you've done a somersault and claim like a child that you stole the meat from the cooking pot because of the devil! That's what I asked him and he said I wouldn't understand.
Its only in Nigeria that leadership is hard to understand. Yes. A lot goes on in positions of authority that defies all logic and throws all common sense on its head. The led never have any clue as to why the leader does what he is doing. The led never even see how the actions of the leader benefits him or advances his cause, left to his own speculations, the led spins rumors and allegations. That's because the led is alone, in the dark and confused as the leader mystifies and shrouds leadership in dark clouds. For instance, when the medical doctors ask government a simple question like why 'would you not abide by international best practices in running the health sector?' Government officials respond by sounding as if international best practices isn't made for Nigerians. (In my next post I shall write on Why Strikes Will Continue In Nigeria - The Medical Doctors Volte Face)
All this is symptomatic of the Conquistador Mentality. Very often we see positions of leadership as a victory won by our own exceptional abilities. We forget so easily that a Leader isn't the most exceptional human being around. He is only a fortunate one who has values and ideologies that he consistently propagates either through his work ethic or relationship with clients. Once this resonates with a majority of people, he may then qualify for leadership of the people that is after all other extraneous factors like cronyism, tribalism (which is actually RACISM by another name) have been sorted out. Once in office, He ought to look in the mirror and see himself as a servant not a Lord. Infact everyday a leader wakes up he should say to his image in the mirror 'you're there to make peoples lives better not to make your own life better'. For it is as you help enough people achieve their dreams that you definitely achieve yours. However, too often we see people transform once they're in leadership. They transmogrify into emperors, building an empire for themselves and their family. The logical out working of this is that the led are now seen as subjects and not partners, as vassals and not as citizens, as opponents eyeing his office and not as partners in building a better tomorrow.
The followers are fellows and not fiends.
The true leader makes himself one with the people. He earns their trust by leading them from behind not by standing at the front as some sort of know it all. He leads from behind allowing the led to take initiative, suggest solutions and participate in the leadership process. He respects himself and respects his office, knowing that he will leave there someday and he respects every official property including all monies belonging to the people. The peoples money isn't the leaders money. Government money should be in the bank not in Government house. The organizations money should be in the organizations account not in the head's house or personal bank account! The leaders victory isn't a conquest it is a trust.
Enjoy a happy and prosperous new year. And may true leadership come!
To be continued
Iroko Obasi Nd