From Geoffrey Anyanwu, Enugu
Leadership deficit has been identified as Nigeria’s greatest developmental challenge since her independence 59 years ago.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Anambra State, Dr. Nkwachukwu Orji made this disclosure at the weekend in Enugu after a critical look at the country’s sociopolitical journey since independence.
Orji, who was the book reviewer at the public presentation of the book, “Footprints of Excellence: 80 Leadership Lessons from Global Titans,” held at Bridge Waters Hotels Enugu said that though there were some good leaders around the country, the number was infinitesimal to make any impact.
The book was authored by Dr. Jasper Uche of Department of Political Science, University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN).
Lauding the courage of the author in writing the book, Orji said he was able to extract 80 leadership lessons and qualities from 16 exemplary leaders in different climes, time and disciplines.
He further said, “For me, nothing justifies this book than the present political and social challenges we are having in Nigeria… There is no doubt that we have leadership challenge and I commend the author for the courage to write this book.
“There is dire need for leadership today. We have people who have demonstrated good leadership here and there but the critical mass of leadership we need to lead us out of our woes to the Eldorado is in deficit.”
Some of the lessons like patriotism, taking advantage of opportunities, anchoring society on God, seeing challenges as an opportunity, and humility, he stressed could be gleaned from the life of the 16 characters examined in the book, including Lee Kuan Yew, Ben Carson, Jack Ma and Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.
Orji added that each of the lessons speaks to specific leadership attributes such as “values, learning, empathy, strategy, mentoring, vision and courage.”
Deputy Governor of Ebonyi state, Kelechi Igwe who unveiled and presented the book, noted that the intellectual and moral values of the author, Dr. Uche were brought to bear on the book, adding it was apt and timely.
Commending him for thinking for the society the Deputy Gov. said, “No other time in the history of Nigeria will this book title be apt than the time we live in today… Its either you think negatively or positively.
“We are in a nation where there is scarcity of value and people aspiring to be excellent are seen as people who lack value, so we are at a time there is loss of faith in leadership.”
Speaking to newsmen the author of the book, Dr. Uche said he was motivated by the leadership gap in the country and the fact that there was nothing in the country’s school curriculum on leadership.
He said, “As a scholar, I started looking at leadership, I started looking for models in order to fill the gap we have in Nigeria. I studied people from all fields of human endeavour and gleaned out some leadership qualities.”