Stella Dimoko Weekend Arena - Nigeria Needs To Overhaul Its Leadership Recruitment System


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Friday, February 05, 2021

Weekend Arena - Nigeria Needs To Overhaul Its Leadership Recruitment System

Nigeria is a land of hope. ....let me explain.

I mean that we live in a country where hope has driven everyone into an acquiescent state. Hope drives our activities even in the most bizarre states of hopelessness. That is why the man, who rummages garbage dumpsites in search of reusable plastics and metal, still manages to smile, because something Nigerian in nature, tells him that tomorrow will be better. You can call it the spirit of ‘e go better’, but that is also what has been saving the country from implosion.

Somehow, this hope is not misplaced. Unlike in some western countries, where millionaires and billionaires emerge through a sequence of efforts and ventures that are mostly traceable, many made-in-Nigeria money bags are with no track record of endeavors, save from knowing or being related to someone in a privileged position. That was why a few years ago, someone who knew the Governor of his state very well printed his business card with the designation, ‘Friend of the Governor’ emblazoned on it, not minding the wrong grammar.

‘Friend of the Governor’ was his job, and if you think he does not have a lucrative job, compare his acquisitions with those in normal enterprise. So while you are ‘Director of Operations’ in your company, he is ‘Friend of the Governor’ and his office is in a brief case with a turnover running into hundreds of millions of naira periodically. There are many of these men around. Yesterday, they couldn’t afford anything but in two weeks, one month, they are in surplus money that lacks credible foundation; and their stories are inspiring to other citizens.

That is the reality here. 

Everyone knows, which is why we all cling to hope, waiting and praying that our turn comes. Incidentally, all of us will not be privileged to know people in powerful positions who will remember (that is another dilemma) to change our fortunes. But the way around this is to recognize that only a tiny fraction will have this rare ‘luck’, so there is need to improve our leadership recruitment system.

We all acknowledge that the major headache in Nigeria is leadership. But I consider it a lack of good followership attitude if Nigerians perpetually allow the same mis-governance to pervade after every election season. If we let our ethnic or religious sentiments blot our sense of reasoning, thereby producing wrong leaders, we will all continue to pay for it. We all buy things from the same market, and there will never be a discount for anyone on the basis of his sentimental political support or voting pattern. The rain will touch everyone’s roof when it starts.

Good followership involves taking steps to ensure that good leaders emerge to occupy all rungs of political responsibility in the country, so everyone with the interest of Nigeria at heart must get involved in enthroning the kind of leadership we need. And we can only do this by paying attention to the antecedents of those who are vying for these positions. As political activities take centre-stage in Anambra, we must question their reasons for seeking political office as the next governor. We need to be alive to what their past activities were. If a man owns a company that is renowned for owing salaries, there is the likelihood that he would continue to owe salaries if he becomes a Governor. If an individual is known to have misappropriated pensions during his tenure as a governor, he would do worse as a President. Attitudes are usually like the leopard, the spots hardly change. An arrogant (quite different from being proud o) boss will always be an arrogant governor, after you have empowered him with the mandate through your votes. That is the way it is. Nobody can give what he or she does not have.

With what the citizens have been through in the past couple of years, Nigerians cannot afford to stand aloof and watch things continue to go wrong again. They must stand up for the real change that will affect their lives positively. Some of you may think that good governance begins and ends with the government under which you made your millions, but it does not necessarily add up. People will still be making money in countries like Libya and Syria but we all know that everybody’s life is in danger in such climes. Is this any different from what we are seeing in Nigeria today? No day passes without stories of killings by gunmen, bandits, killers under different guises. 

It has gotten so bad that ‘bandits’ are now coming out to make demands from the government so they could stop their terror. That is why we need to put more efforts into the people we recruit as leaders. Everyone must not be one. Leadership is unique; it is a call to service. That is why I buy into the thinking of Prof Princess Halliday, a Nigerian leadership and ethics expert in the United States. 

She says: “I believe that a ministry of leadership needs to be created to govern leadership affairs in Nigeria effectively. Through this ministry, destructive leaders can be professionally overhauled. I can say that Nigeria has some great leaders. These leaders need constant personal development to help stabilize their emotional intelligence and emotional agility”.

I will add that incompetent leaders should be tossed aside like a piece of rubbish!


  1. Hitting the nail on it's head again.... Thank you Mr Ngozi but asides the leadership aspect, I believe we the citizens need re-orientation.
    P.S.-Always enjoy reading his piece Ms Stella,many thanks.

  2. Great write up.
    Godfatherism needs to be overhauled.

  3. Ngozi beautiful write-up..However create a Ministry Of Leadership hmm for Naija area it will still be square pegs in a round hole, it will be so abused..I believe we youths have a lot of work to do, it is time to go to the poor; those at the lower rungs and educate on why that 500 naira, 1 derica of rice and 50naira salt will not sustain you for 4 years...We have to build a formidable, join alliance with well meaning Nigerians..Go to the local governments, build supporters organically...You can't just wake up and say you want to be President or Governor...Look out for that Senator, Rep or Governor whom you will vote now putting all the focus on the President only..In as much I want to believe there is hope, current happenings makes one really doubt it..

  4. Ngozi, we will really like to change our leadership when they are not performing, but the sad reality is that the "legalized rigging" will not allow our votes to count.

    Look at what is happening concerning endsars, those that killed innocent Nigerians are begin nominated as ambassadors to represent Nigeria in sane counties, and if care is not taken, they will be approved by the people's representatives.

    They kill, maim and intimate Nigerians to silence.

    So what do we do?

  5. Fantastic write up my name sake, if only we Nigerians can wake up from our slumber of ethnicity and religious palaver to fight our common enemy of bad leadership

  6. We have one the best human resources in the world. Creating ministry of leadership in a country like Nigeria, may not solve our issues because it will be hijacked. Imagine having non-career ambassadors and maybe in the nearest future, we might have ministry of appeasing herdsman. Nigeria is a failed nation that lacks the will to do the needful. Trying to sanitize Nigeria is like removing the saltness of a salty water. Time will tell.


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