By Muhammad Auwal Ibrahim
This article is an attempt to highlight the leaders we need in our society. This becomes more relevant as election season comes and goes. We ought to know the leaders that are the best for us if we only want to succeed. This article, thus, would go a long way in addressing some of our major problems.
I am a Nigerian, and I am part of her in every situation, no matter how it may be. Be it good or bad; we share the feelings altogether. It is unfortunate that at this age of Nigeria, things are still happening upside down. Things are still falling apart. It is shameful.
Today, in Nigeria, any person can aspire to be a leader and be chosen either legitimately or illegitimately. But, mostly illegitimately, as asserted by Dr Usman Bugaje said in a paper he presented during Dr Sulaiman Kumo Memorial lecture at Gombe High School in 2018. This is one of the reasons that made me pen this.
However, Prof. Salisu Shehu, sometimes back, stated in his book Social Justice Leadership Responsibility in Islam that “It is because of the so-called democracy…”. I agree with him because even as young as I am, I still observed that some of our leaders are not competent or just, but they are still there to lead us. Some don’t even know where to start. Some still need to be trained and disciplined.
Dear Nigerians, do you vote for good leaders or looters with your eyes widely opened? Do you vote for competence or richness? Do you vote for your future wellbeing or for your present wellbeing that can perish in less than a day? Do you vote for the prosperity of your children: for them to enjoy the dividends of democracy, i.e. one who, if voted, would build schools, hospitals, construct roads, develop our infrastructures? Do you give somebody the mandate to rule you without paying particular attention to his qualities? Is it somebody that kills our economy, offers stimulants to our youth, destroys our society that you want to represent us?
Do you vote because you can or because it is an obligation and a right at the same time? Should we sit and fold our arms and watch them continue with their ruination, plundering, looting/embezzlement and squandering of public funds? What can we do, and how can we start? Think carefully about these questions.
The need for good leadership has been stressed earlier on. It is our fault since we failed to learn and implement the Islamic teachings, some of which the Sokoto jihad leaders deliberated on. Like the qualities of a leader. We cannot just stop on those mere democratic qualities.
Another critical point is that our people today seemed not to know their roles and obligations. This is not only in the case of the ruled but also the rulers. Why? The answer is very apparent. We need no further consultations. Sadly, most of them are not educated enough on leadership, not to mention their followers. This is indeed painful.
If I may ask some of our leaders, how many read books written on this topic of discussion ‘leadership’ by Sokoto jihadists like Shehu Usman Danfodio, his brother, Abdullahi Fodio, his son, Sultan Muhammad Bello and the rest of them? I think only a few would boast answering yes if any.
We, the subjects or more preferably the ruled or the led, have our various contributions to good governance at multiple levels of life. Aside from obedience and compliance with rules, so long as they are not evil and terrible. There are other positive contributions, like constructive criticisms, advising the government on good things and warning against evil and prayer, as asserted by Prof. Salisu Shehu in his book (Social Justice Leadership Responsibility in Islam). But today, we are relentless to all of these. Not all, but only a few of us are doing that.
Justice is an essential aspect of any given society. A leader, therefore, must be just. Consequently, we should pay special attention to this quality before selecting any leader.
Knowledge should be considered. Knowledgeable can be found in our learning institutions. Therefore, institutions should be put in place to teach our younger ones leadership traits before it becomes too late to overcome the present challenges.
Competence is another most appealing quality. A leader’s ability to overcome situations and handle matters mattered a lot. But do we care? We should not just go ahead and select a person to represent us, knowing that that person is not competent.
These are the few characteristics of a leader. Some books address such issues. These include: Social Justice Leadership Responsibility in Islam and Shugabanci a Mahangar Musulunci: Yadda Al’amarin Yake A Nijeriya. I hope they will serve as a guideline to aspiring leaders.
In the end, I hope our young leaders will take heed of all these. Further, I pray that all aspiring leaders learn what leadership is all about before clinching any position of power.
Muhammad Auwal Ibrahim is an award-winning journalist, fellow African Investigative Journalism Conference (AIJC) 2020, Wits University, Johannesburg, South Africa. He can be reached via email@example.com.