(Courtesy of Emily Bennington)
Ninety percent of leadership is the ability to communicate something people want (Dianne Feinstein)
Leadership should be more participative than directive, more enabling than performing (Mary D. Poole)
A noble leader answers not to the trumpet calls of self promotion, but to the hushed whispers of necessity (Mollie Marti)
True leaders understand that leadership is not about them but about those they serve. It is not about exalting themselves but about lifting others up (Sheri L. Dew)
his writer wrote this article in 2013, when the African Examiner of October 22, 2013, reported that Oshiomhole and Fashola have drummed support for female presidency, but, the just concluded serial on unemployment shut it off from publication till now. The African Examiner wrote that "Governor of Edo State, Adam Oshiomhole, and his Lagos counterpart, Babatunde Fashola, have begun campaign for female presidency for Nigeria as the male presidents in the last 53 years have failed. The duo spoke at the 13th National Women Conference (NWC) with the theme: "See Beyond Today: Enhance the Quality of Life," organized by the Committee Of Wives Of Lagos State Officials (COWLSO), at the Eko Hotels and Suits, Victoria Island, Lagos, Nigeria, where they said that the male leaders in every sector in the country had failed. Oshiomhole said: "When women begin to organize conferences with a theme like 'enhance the quality of life,' it is an indication that men leadership in the country is confused. Since the men are not doing it right, the country should try female leadership. We should create a level playing ground where both men and women will thrive". According to Oshiomhole, it was time to have a female president at the helms of affairs in the midst of absolute failure by the male counterpart, who had been ruling the nation since 1960. He said the feat achieved by the late former British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, had not be rivaled till this moment, adding that the woman was able to take Britain to an enviable height. In his words: "There are evidences around the world where women have led. The nation's leaders had failed because after 53 years of independence and 100 years of amalgamation, the nation was still talking about basic amenities such as power and good healthcare. We should stop lamenting that many people are out of work and let us start doing something to engage them. Not many people are happy concerning the issues in the country today, unless those benefiting from the pathetic situation". The Edo State governor also said he was not interested in a national dialogue where tribe and ethnic issues would be discussed, arguing that rather, the vision of the founding fathers of the country should be followed. He said: "Our founding fathers had a vision on how they wanted Nigeria to be. There was economic competition those days when our fathers founded the country. What happened? What did the military leaders and successive leaders did wrong that we must not do. I just see Nigeria going in circles". Oshiomhole then urged the women to focus their attention on raising morally stable children, stressing that most of the crimes committed in the country were committed by the privileged in the society. He stated that going by his experience, poverty was not the main cause of crime in the country and that "unless we stop stealing and the other vices that have retrogressed the country, nothing can happen. As mothers, we should not neglect our responsibility to teach the young ones. If we fail in this, we might not have any future".
To partly support Oshiomhole here, this writer is adding, from his previous write-up, that the moral decadence that has hit the society didn't spare the family and that's giving rise to the culture of impunity prevalent in today's world. Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821), who was a French military and political leader, wrote "give a good mother and will give a good nation. Let France have good mothers, and she will have good sons". May be, the dearth of good mothers might be one of the causes of the problems besetting the world today.
On his own part, Governor Fashola, during the Women Conference, said there was the need for women to take over the leadership of this nation as they had shown that they could be better leaders more than the male folk. Hear him: "We are waiting for the women to take over. Our world will be better if women take over. The best emerging economy today in the world is being driven by women. The women have been there with me in my government".
This writer disagrees with the two governors, based on what we have experienced in recent pasts. Earlier, around 2007, this writer was thinking like the two Excellencies, but, not anymore. After all we have seen, read and heard about, some of our women leaders are even worse or more dangerous than their male counterparts. On Thursday, August 30, 2007, this writer wrote these excerpts, in this website: "I've observed that the women are succeeding where the men failed: Dora Akunyili, Oby Ezekwesili, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala etc are pace setters. Oby Ezekwesili, who is now the Vice President of World Bank incharge of African affairs, is also a rare breed. Obasanjo brought her over from Transparency International to head the Due Process Office and from there she took over the ministry of solid minerals and then to the Education ministry. She excelled everywhere she was posted to. She was called "Madam due process" because she brought sanity to the contract awarding system which was before she came in, rotten to the core and the easiest way then of embezzling the national wealth. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala contributed more than any other living Nigerian in seeing that Nigeria is a debt-free nation, thereby earning a lot of respect for Nigeria in the international scene. She toiled hard to achieve that feat despite all the organised odds against her and her efforts. While these and other achieving women were bestriding the landscape and towering it like colossuses, the men ( be they politicians, civil servants or technocrats) from Yar'Adua to the last man were like dogs with their tails between their legs. While these women were standing, their male counterparts were crawling (save from this group are some men who are achievers too like Soludo, Ribadu, Rufai and some bankers etc.). Dora is still standing tall, while the politicians right from the president down are quivering. Dora Akunyili is telling Nigerians, through her work, that we can achieve more, if, we put our minds to what we are doing. While the men are flip-flopping, some of the women (not the likes of Patricia Etteh, Speaker of the House of Representatives) are charting new courses and excelling where the men failed. These women of substance are succeeding because they did not allow corruption to deter them from doing their jobs. The women are succeeding, because, they are not thinking of how to be the richest persons in Nigeria. Dora, as NAFDAC boss, is telling us that it is possible to put service above self. Dora is telling us that we can fix our roads, if those incharge forgo selfish aggrandisement. Dora is telling us that our health, education, aviation sectors can work like in the western world, if those taking the decisions in those sectors forgo self enrichment and stop relegating the people's welfare to the back burner. Dora is talking to all the male politicians and government officials, telling them how they failed Nigeria. In my place, we used to say, that "men do the fighting and the women do the storytelling thereafter", but, now it is the other way round, "the women are doing the fighting and the men are telling the story". Shame on all the politicians and government officials that allowed Nigeria to get to this level of decadence, they all should go to Dora Akunyili, Oby Ezekwesili, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala etc to learn a lot".
Sorry; save for Oby Ezekwesili, this writer can no longer defend the paragraph above, because, the other women mentioned therein later turned into something different, negatively.
Even if Oshiomhole and Fashola were right, Nigeria doesn't need and will never elect as president women such as Cecilia Ibru, Oteh, Prof. Ndi-Okereke Onyuike, Patricia Etteh, Turai Yar'Adua, Patience Jonathan, Stella Oduah, Diezani Allison-Madueke, Farida Waziri, Adenike Grange, Obasanjo-Bello etc. When Denise Clark wrote that "Women are leaders everywhere you look, from a CEO to house a wife that holds together a home. Our country was built by women who stand alone", she didn't mean such Nigerian women mentioned here.
Also, Nigerians would never want any of these men to be president, because of the financial crime they committed: former governors Orji Uzo Kalu, James Ibori ,Senator Saminu Turaki, Ayo Fayose, Abdullahi Adamu, Jolly Nyame, Alhaji Attahiru Bafarawa, Joshua Dariye, Lucky Igbinedion, Boni Haruna, Senator Chimaroke Nnamani, former Plateau State Governor Michael Botmang, Busola Saraki; former AGF Mike Aondoakaa; former Aviation Ministers Babalola Borisade and Femi Fani-Kayode; former NPA MD and PDP Chieftain, Bode George; Senator Nicholas Ugbane, Hon. Ndudi Elemelu, Mohammed Jibo and Paulinus Igwe of the N5.2 billion Rural Electrification Agency scam; former House of Reps speaker Dimeji Bankole; Farouk Lawan; Herman Hembe; former Chairman of the Police Equipment Fund Chief Kenny Martins; Chief Erastus Akingbola; former Managing Director of Union Bank, Bartholomew Ebong; ex-MD of FinBank Okey Nwosu; and Afribank ex-MD Sebastine Adigwe; etc, because, their demeanour in previous offices they occupied was not in tune with the words of Dolly Parton (1946) that "If your actions create a legacy that inspires others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, then, you are an excellent leader", and of course, those men above failed not only Nigerians, but also the words of Whoopi Goldberg (1955) that "We're here for a reason. I believe a bit of the reason is to throw little torches out to lead people through the dark".
Lately, this writer have be wondering why some of our women are failing us, because, we thought that being created differently, they were supposed to be better than their male counterparts based on the fact that every woman is a potential mother, and a mother's love is all encompassing, so unconditional and enduring. We expected our women leaders to be more kind hearted than their male counterparts for the fact that many of them are mothers. Nature equipped them differently for that. As mothers, the future of their children should be paramount in their mind and that should restrain them from engaging in any thing that would compromise their children's future. But in Nigeria, some of our women leaders have been found wanting and are more corrupt than some of their male counterparts. Although Margaret Thatcher (1925 - 2013), said that "Any woman who understands the problems of running a home will be nearer to understanding the problems of running a country", but Nigerians would never entrust the presidency to any of those virtueless women leaders mentioned above, because, they understand Nigeria's problems, but, are helping or have assisted in compounding rather than solving them. Marian Anderson (1897 - 1993) wrote that "Leadership should be born out of the understanding of the needs of those who would be affected by it", but see how some of the women leaders in Nigeria have helped in harming Nigerians, through their actions, in the previous offices they occupied, so nobody wants them in higher offices.
Jane Fletcher Geniesse asked "Is there a better quality in a leader than humility when he might soon be granted enormous power to do good for his country and the world-or harm?" Let's look at some examples here:
For those who don't know, just like the male counterparts, Ms. Oteh overstayed the official 28 days every public officer of her status is entitled to in a hotel, spending a whooping N30million on her five-star accommodation and an average of N85, 000 on food per day. Also, Ms. Oteh purchased three Toyota Hilux pick-ups for over N32 million without the approval of the SEC tenders board as against the Public Procurement Act. She was also accused of paying N62 million for two years to rent a five-bedroom bungalow at Maitama, Abuja, as against the Federal Government's monetisation policy. Patricia Etteh became the first female speaker of the house of representatives, but, N628 million renovation scandal brought her down; remember Turai Yar'Adua, the former first lady, who amassed billions of dollars in wealth, through sleaze, even when her husband was on sick bed, dying in Saudi Arabia; remember Prof. Ndi-Okereke Onyuike, the former DG of SEC, who lost her job because of corruption and was replaced by Ms. Oteh; of course the mother of all scandals, Mrs. Ibru, who plundered N196 billion from Oceanic Bank; On the 25th of July 2007, Adenike Grange was appointed the Minister of Health of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the first female Minister of Health. In February 2008, she was arrested on the orders of President Umaru Yar'Adua over the handling of N300 million of unspent funds in the 2007 budget and award of contracts, and was examined by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). She claimed that she had been misadvised by her directors. The President had reportedly directed that all unspent money in the budget be returned, but it was allegedly shared by officials of the Health Ministry as bonuses. Adenike Grange resigned from her position on March 25th, 2008, due to that corruption scandal also involving Iyabo Obasanjo-Bello, daughter of former president Olusegun Obasanjo, and others. In the same March 2008, President Yar'Adua accepted the resignation of Adenike Grange. Read more about some of the powerful and corrupt women below.
Just as this writer wrote previously: Having said the above, there are still some of our women, in the public and private spheres of life, who are rendering quality service without enmeshing themselves in corruption (Nigeria needs to find them). These upright women are always guarded in everything they do, because, they remember, everytime, no matter what, that they are mothers, sisters and aunts. This writer respects and doffs his hart for this group. But there are the bad ones, who are as wicked as the Biblical Jezebel, and have thrown caution to the wind by joining the looting bandwagon driven by our male public/political office holders. This corrupt group is even trying to beat their male counterparts in the looting game. Majority of our male politicians and public office holders have been failing Nigeria since independence and we had hoped that, may be, our women would rescue Nigeria from the hands of the "rapacious male pillagers", but, as the women are becoming worse than their male counterparts, there may be no more hope on the horizon, and that is catastrophic for Nigeria. Margaret Thatcher (1925 - 2013) was right when she said "Do you know that one of the great problems of our age is that we are governed by people who care more about feelings than they do about thoughts and ideas" For now, the call for a woman presidency is ill-timed and was made for the sake of saying something, as Nigeria is not ripe for that. Advanced countries, with strong democratic foundation, such as the USA, is yet to elect a female president. It's easier for a woman to lead a government in a parliamentary democracy vis-à-vis in a presidential system of government, because, in the former, the head of a political party forms the government upon winning the majority seats in a parliament, but, in a presidential system, where people win nomination on their own strength and wherewithal before standing for election, it's hard for a woman to make it to the top. United Kingdom, mentioned by Oshiomhole, and other advanced democracies such as Germany, where women have made it to the top, are operating the parliamentary democracy. It's only in smaller and poorer countries such as Liberia, Malawi, Philippines etc, operating the presidential system of government, that some women have been elected president. It's always a men's world in big countries such as Nigeria, the United States etc which have tedious nomination processes which do not favour women. More to that: evidence has shown that most of the women, who have hit the limelight and are supposed to be elected president of Nigeria, are so strong, corrupt and dangerous. So the call for a Nigerian female president was made for the gallery. Unless the good ones are found, let's forget about raising issues we all know that are not possible even in the foreseeable future.
Please read or re-read, if you had before:
While wishing all mothers, in Europe and North America, `a Happy Mother's Day`, let's also remember all those whose mother has passed on, like this writer, who's marking the first Mother's Day without his beloved mom. Most of all, let's remember and pray for the abducted 276 female pupils of the Government Secondary School, Chibok, the other 11 girls also seized by the Boko Haram terrorists in Warabe and Wala communities in the same Chibok Local Government Area of Borno State, and, their parents. Only God knows the pain, fear and psychological trauma the pupils and their parents have been going through. May the Almighty God succour them at this time of trial and distress through the releasing or rescuing of the girls (bringing the girls back home). As a father, this writer understands the deep emotional wounds and how hurting this ugly incident is to the affected parents; may God heal their broken hearts and binds up their wounds.
Let's go ecumenical this time:
THE THANX IS ALL YOURS!!!