Francis Moses who covered a seminar that extolled the values of leadership with former Head of State, Chief Ernest Shonekan as focus, reports on the various views on leadership expressed by the participants.
Stakeholders who gathered in Lagos at the Center for Values in Leadership (CVL) in honour of Chief Dr Ernest Shonekan GCFR, CBE at his 79th birthday dinner, describe leadership as the most important measure to move Nigerian forward. The host/moderator, the founder Board Management and Staff of CVL Prof. Pat Utomi congratulate Chief Shonekan on his birthday, describing him as a leader without care for title and wishing him more of God’s blessings as he continues to celebrate to contribute to the development of the Nigerian economy.
The occasion provided stakeholders with the opportunity to discus leadership from different perspectives. Starting with the theme “ ” Partnership For Progress: Tripartite Sector Approaches and Global Impart on Local Talent, Prof. Utomi argued that there seems to be a general consensus that our national problem can be narrowed down to two issues namely, bad leadership and crisis of values.
“However it is against this backdrop, and in keeping to our vision of affecting our generation and the next generation that CVL decided to publish a compendium on leadership titled: “Values and Leadership for Sustainable Development” which will serve as a leadership reference book of all times with a very rich content,” he said. In his contribution Mr. Frank Nweke Jr, former DG Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) said one of the biggest issues in governance is the issue of non -implementation of policy, which he attributed to bad leadership.
He lamented the dearth of those with the requisite intellectual capability to take the country to greater heights. “Meanwhile I am one of those that believe that it is your passion, work driving spirit that makes you a good leader, not your office, he said, adding that,”It “is not your office that makes one a good leader, you cannot give what you don’t have, if you don’t have the capability to think of yourself, how can you think about others”. He further stated that if you are coming from an intellectual background there are things you do not even need people to tell you to do because you know it, and you know what to do at the right time.
“However, if you don’t have personality you don’t have it, if you don’t have exposure you don’t have it, it is simple as that, so you don’t give what you don’t have.” ‘’For instance if you have intellectual capacity, or if you become a president today base on the fact that you have intellectual capacity, you don’t even need to wait for people to ask you to do this or that, even if you were not able to do some things, people who are by your side can help you to do the right thing because you chose the right persons.
“Ok, let’s narrow this down to individuals; look at what Prof. Attahiru Jega has done in the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC), these are things others were not able to do for the past 12-15 years ago, but it took Jega to say come let us do this and make the country better, and he dealt with it, so it is a question of your intellect and doing the right thing and more importantly self discipline with your eye on clear legacy and what you want the society to remember you for as well As a former national leader, Shonekan also gave a word of commendation for his countrymen and countrywomen. He said some of the things the masses have been clamoring for are beginning to come up, “for instance we said we want democratically elected government and we have it, that means we are growing and we will continue to grow. Thank you all.” as for the overall interest of your country.
Interestingly, for the past eight years I have been pursuing a case in a court, but is unfortunate that up till now I don’t even know and when the case is going to be judged, he attributed this as a sign of bad leadership.” He concluded. On his part, Mr. Akinsemoyin Oyeledun Oladele, President, Nigeria Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, took the problem to homes and role of parents. He blamed some parents for not taking time to look after their children and noted that a child, who is in the University for example, will suddenly one day drive down to the house with a car, which the parents did not buy for him or her, and the parents would say nothing and see nothing. “So what do you expect, do you expect the child to be a good leader tomorrow?
If parents take good care of their children, there is every possibility that they will become good leaders in time to come because having good leaders starts from our homes, it is not the issue of laying all the blames on the government, we parents have a vital role to play in other to groom good leadership in the future. ”He said. Oledele however urged government to provide enabling environment for investors to come in and stop the move of wanting to do everything by its self. He urged the present generation to work against such governmental interference, adding that “thatis the why we should continue to speak until we get it right.” .
On her part, Mrs. Boma Ozobia, OON, former president, Commonwealth Lawyers Association, urged the present leaders to provide enabling environment for investors to come and invest in Nigeria. Mrs. Ozobia further noted that youths should be more focused in their day-to-day activities and work towards becoming the next good generation leaders. She also thanks the organizers of the event and the celebrant Chief Shonekan and that God will continue to bless him and his household. Mr. Richard Kramer, Chairman, African Capital Alliance, who prayed for the celebrant Chief Shonekan and handed him the knife for cutting of the cake, later said the problem of Nigeria is not outside the CVL building, it is personal, noting “ that if you try something and it did not work, you have to keep trying and trying until you get it right.”
In his vote of thanks, Chief Shonekan appreciated Prof. Utomi for the wonderful opportunity he gave him to stand before the audience, he also thank his wife for the support she had continued to give him. “If she is not pushing the ship forward I wouldn’t have gotten where I am today.”, the former Head of State said. He thanked Emeka Anyaoku for finding time to make it at his birthday and other members who came to celebrate with him.
Shonekan however did no end without leaving a word of wisdom to the younger generation. He said that no one gets rich over night, but if they, the younger generation remain focused and set a target for themselves and believe that they can get there, they would. As a former national leader, Shonekan also left a word of commendation for his countrymen and women. He said some of the things the masses have been clamoring for are beginning to come up, “for instance we said we want democratically elected government and we have it, that means we are growing and we will continue to grow. Thank you all.”