Sound Knowledge Base: A Tool Effective For Leadership In Nigeria

(By Adiyan Babatomi)

For proper functioning of any society, necessary institutions are required and they must be able to work in synergy to maintain survival. At the apex of any institution, men are required to drive them for effective delivery, as one of the components contributing its own quota to the progress of any society. Taking us to our focus, when we look at the modern world, there is a clear disparity in the manner by which societies’ world over, are formed and sustained. On a comparative level of analysis, we talk of the core and periphery (developed and underdeveloped) nations. We certainly all know the category we fall into.

Like it has been said time and time again by some renowned experts and leaders of thought that, “everything rises and falls on leadership”. Well, this assertion may actually not be far from the truth, especially with the current nature of our constantly evolving society, coupled with the accompanying challenges and with a serious desire to always find solutions in tackling these issues whenever they arise. But in order to wriggle one’s way out of any unwanted situation he is found in, one first of all has to understand that particular situation and  most importantly, how to fashion out solutions to get out of it; that is knowing what to do per time, not just knowing but  doing it. But in a situation where you don’t even know what to do, it becomes another scenario- unfortunately; this has been the case in Nigeria especially with our national leaders.

For proper functioning of any society, necessary institutions are required and they must be able to work in synergy to maintain survival. At the apex of any institution, men are required to drive them for effective delivery, as one of the components contributing its own quota to the progress of any society. Taking us to our focus, when we look at the modern world, there is a clear disparity in the manner by which societies’ world over, are formed and sustained. On a comparative level of analysis, we talk of the core and periphery (developed and underdeveloped) nations. We certainly all know the category we fall into.

Analysis has shown that, one factor among few others that has made developed nations what they are now is the quality of leadership exhibited by their leaders. They have been able to breed a set of people who are selfless, visionary and committed to transform their respective societies into models that most people in the latter category earlier stated regularly refer to in terms of social functioning and a stable transparent government.  The leaders in these climes seem to possess some rare qualities which can only be imbibed through one critical factor in knowledge, which means a sound knowledge base, the capacity to study and understand the system and what goes on  to be able to deal with issues as they arise.

Coming back home, the issue of leadership has largely been attributed to why we are where we find ourselves today, inability to have the right set of people occupy leadership positions in government and other key institution that will enable the proper growth and development of this country. Despite the enormous and boundless potential available both in human and capital resource, which if had been properly harnessed over the decades of independence, could have landed us into that category of developed nations. One thing is clear here, our lack of effective and proper leadership. Nigeria’s leaders past and present have failed to take full advantage of these blessings to transform the nation into an enviable status because of the fact that they lack depth in capacity required and some of the sterling qualities earlier mentioned to become effective leaders. Essentially, the sound knowledge base I talked about needed by every good leader to function for maximum delivery.

True knowledge comes out of deliberate commitment to seek and probe beyond the surface in the process of finding ideas for solutions to societal challenges. In an era where ideas dominate the world, aided by knowledge, only those with sound knowledge base might be able to deliver to potential. But sadly in our case, most of our so called leaders seem to be deficient in key areas, this is why after over five decades as an independent entity, we still are grappling with social issues that should have been done with, say about ten to fifteen years after liberty. Though it has to be said in the middle of all these, Nigeria has produced some couple of individuals that has risen up to the plate and demonstrated the leadership   character to drive a society to stability and growth, this was notably in the early years of the country and if it were not for the incursion of military forces then, perhaps the story might be a different one!

Due to the peculiar nature of our society, we have seen people find themselves in positions of authority unexpectedly not even knowing what they just walked into. So precarious is the Nigerian situation that for instance, in some government organizations, one will be shocked to find a few top officials who know virtually nothing about the mandate given them, even the department they are overseeing; petty issues such as the number of staff in their line- simple knowledge! It is a combination of situations like this in the different key segments of the various institutions that aid national development of this country that has retarded development as a whole. Also, looking at the political landscape, a very good number of those involved have clearly shown they lack the required qualities to be there. It is only in Nigeria that you find a man without even a primary school certificate- I stand to be corrected, end up as the head of the lower legislative arm of government, a highly sensitive position like that, that is a classic case! There are several others you and I are aware of, which really sums of the crux of the issue here.

Sometimes you hear some of our political office holders speak and they just simply display their bereft nature of understanding about critical national issues they are meant to be abreast of. What these has shown us is that, the poor knowledge base of most of our leaders is a fundamental challenge which must be corrected by ensuring that only people with a sound sense of awareness of social issues get to the top leadership positions in this country. In advancing, only people with character and capacity are desirable, in order for us to build effective institutions, which will in turn translate to better performance for the society and ultimately foster development.  The world is certainly at a time whereby, knowledge is at its cheapest ever, depending on how you see it. In fact, someone said recently that “you only do not know simply because you have chosen not to”- it’s that simple!

The leaders should go for knowledge that will help to direct them in the business of proffering solutions to critical challenges and formulating people friendly policies; this nation is too blessed to have leaders, who have no clue of what leadership or governance is all about, it is high time our leaders realize that the common good of all is better than the simple good of one. This seems to have been the bane of effective leadership in this country over many years; therefore the time to correct this trend begins now!

(Adiyan Babatomi)

“Opinion pieces of this sort published on RISE Networks are those of the original authors and do not in anyway represent the thoughts, beliefs and ideas of RISE Networks.”

RISE NETWORKS

"Nigeria's Leading Private Sector and Donor funded Social Enterprise with deliberate interest in Technology and its relevance to Youth and Education Development across Africa. Our Strategic focus is on vital human capital Development issues and their relationship to economic growth and democratic consolidation." Twitter: @risenetworks || Facebook - RISE GROUP || Google Plus - Rise Networks