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Whoever wants to be great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all Mark 10: 43 through 44.

Anslem Ozor

Anslem Ozor

Just before the concluded African Cup of Nations, there was already, a clandestine attempt to oust the coach of the Nigeria football team over the slack attitude of the Nigerian team in their football outings. This came as an unexpected move by the constituted board of the Nigerian Football Federation. It took the exceptional patience and dedication of Stephen Okechuku Keshi for him to survive those ungodly schemes by the powers that be. But there is a lesson to be learnt here. In the areas of being a follower, we the people following the leader must always see the leader’s failure as our failure and see his success as our success. It is only when the people see the collective efforts of the people leading and their level of sincerity, truthfulness and dedication that they can now assume that they also have a say in what is at stake. But in those trying times, what did Stephen Keshi do? He simply ignored the whole politics and went ahead to put his team together and finally came out winning the cup. When the Nigerian team won, the whole Nation went agog celebrating the victory of the Super Eagles.

Turn the table around, what would have been said about the Super Eagles coach and the team if they had failed to bring home the much sought after cup? Can we say that there wouldn’t have been blames, accusations and all form of verbal tantrums everywhere? At least by now, you wouldn’t need to be told the next move of the Nigerian Football Federation-Sacking Stephen Keshi of course!. I must say that Nigeria at its present level is in dire and desperate need for leaders. Leaders who would go the extra mile to represent the overall interest of the people, leaders who can exert discipline without making a power play, Leaders who would welcome responsibilities and not shy away from them! We all are leaders in our own capacities and we need to get our acts right for this great Nation-Nigeria to move forward. Rather than trade blames for things or events that has happened, why don’t we sit together and have a good dialogue? Pour our thoughts together and view the issue at hand from different angles and then arrive at a reasonable conclusion and tackle the problems creatively, with all form of discipline, tact, technology Human resource and technical capability. We must not wait for Boko Haram or MEND to claim responsibility before we take up the issue of private, social, industrial and corporate security serious.

Just like the bible said, the leader must first be slave of all and I think that was what I saw in Stephen Keshi. What lessons lie in here for Nigerians and her leaders? The term servant speaks everywhere of low prestige, low respect, low honour. In reality, most people are not attached and attracted to such low value roles. Taking a clue from the bible, when Jesus used the word “Servant” he however used it as a synonym for greatness and that is a revolutionary idea. What do you think?

Everywhere around the world, good leaders are not necessarily the most brilliant, cleverest or most intelligent people No! They are the ones with the courage to step out and go first. Just like Joshua put it, “You have to be strong and courageous.

It’s time for us as a people to change our orientation and mindset towards the issue of leadership and see it as an opportunity to serve and not to be served, an opportunity to be selfless and not selfish, a call to obey the desires and wishes of the people and not the other way round. Leadership is a way of life and not a tradition imposed by a ruling faction on a group of people. And this is where every Nigerian gets it wrong. Many examples abound.

In the banking halls, the teller would waste a whole day trying to cash your cheque or draft when in real sense, there need not be a reason for such.

The security man at the gate would want to be ‘tipped’ by every visitor before one will be allowed to see Oga (Boss)

The Policeman on the way would want to use his position to harass the innocent public and go at any length to extort money from the citizens who sweat for their money.

At the fuel stations, the attendants would make the process of obtaining the product miserable for the consumers once there is a fuel scarcity. They extort money under the guise of ‘matching ground’, take your turn’ and area boys money’ which is not supposed to be so.

What of the area boys who go around harassing and demanding undue ransoms from people trying to offload their goods and those who are building houses?

In the hospitals, the ward attendant and those issuing Doctor’s visitation cards also collect money from people to byepass the lines of people who have been waiting to see the doctor! That to me is the worst form of corruption and an abuse of a leadership position. But in all, lets us have it in mind that as a leader, One must have;

Competence, recognizing ones best abilities and talents and putting them to use effectively to maximize results.

Courage, – Every leader must have the will and strength to take a decision and stand by it. He / She must know when to say yes and say No.

Learning; Good leaders must have the unending desire to learn new things. They must seek to learn so as to keep themselves update and relevant. When a leader chooses to learn everything from his personal experience, he / she is doomed to fail.

Character; Character provides the needed platform for people to come together and utilize available resources to get the target job done. Like it is often said in life development sessions. ‘Your talent has the potential to take you places but a man’s character will keep him there.

So as we go about our daily business today, be a good leader, help to assist someone stranded, help someone build a better life and future, lend a helping hand. Do have a Nice day.