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“Buhari is right, poor leadership is not Nigeria’s problem”

NairaMan Forum / Politics / “Buhari is right, poor leadership is not Nigeria’s problem” (1 Post | 262 Views)

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“Buhari is right, poor leadership is not Nigeria’s problem” by jchima14(: 3:39 pm On Oct 21, 2016

For all years of my life till now , I’ve heard the phrase – “Be a good leader” much more than the phrase – “Be a good follower”. I’ve read a few books on leadership, but there’s a little about followership in circulation. I’ve received much advice on how to be a good leader, but only a few of my mentors so far have taught me how to be a good follower as much as they’ve on the subject of leadership. Every one of us wants to be a good leader, but no one wants to be a good follower. The humblest of us just want to be a “servant-leader” not just plain servant. But to take our society to the next level, the subject of followership has to be raised a little in our society. Now, everyone has a right in the society but no one has a responsibility again.

This is not another David Brooks article on the subject of followership problem. I’m not writing in response to what the GCFR of the country said days ago, but his words only reminded me of this subject that has lingered in my mind for much time. I’m just here to deliver my piece, I don’t consider my view superior or inferior to anyone. I’m not here to confuse you of what you believe, I’m just here to give you something to have a rethink on.

It’s obvious that what Mr President said on followership days ago is another masterminded use of clever words by politicians, something that was written for him by some “intelligent guys”. When the CHANGE campaign came, I said at home then, we have intelligent guys working for our politicians! These guys just want to make money with their creative minds. Should we blame them? That’s a question we all have to answer.

The word CHANGE was brought and it is a very clever word. It looks ordinary to you, but the psychological effect it had on many Nigerians during the campaign period was great. Change! Even the old village woman who knows nothing about politics can quickly be drawn to that. At that point, those guys thought and worked on the emotions of Nigerians. The change was what everyone wanted. My mother wanted a new pay scale; so to move on what was needed was a CHANGE in the old scale! Every Nigerian wanted to see the country move forward. The poor farmer in the village wanted a better market sale, the students wanted better learning conditions, and so on. So the word CHANGE was brought to do the work. Now, they raised all the expectations, I have not been disappointed in this current administration because I wasn’t expecting more. I have always been of the opinion that followership is our nation’s problem contrary to the popular notion of leadership problem. Since a large percentage of our politicians don’t play a large part in the mental side of their speeches I’m not always surprised of contradiction between what was said during the campaign period and the actions after their emergence in their various offices.

Poor followership? I will not want to heap the blame on Nigerians for going for any leader they desire, but Nigerians must learn to stay with their decision through the election than to start complaining about for humanely everyone delights in something new but everyone must learn to suck the lemon he plucked than to complain about . For the lemon has no power in a sense to throw itself down at anybody, you pluck the lemon that appeals to you. The lemon can attract you, but the onus of choosing still lies in your court for any decision you make stays with you in the long run.

So Mr President said a change has to start with Nigerians. I agree with him totally, but not on the same note. Nigerians should have changed their thinking before the election probably and Mr President should have offered this advice during the campaign or earlier. Nigerians need to think better I must say. Now, high expectations have thrown everyone into a DILEMMA, what’s next?

Many people have attributed the slowness of Nigeria development and the rest of the world to bad leadership. We blame bad leadership for problems at work, problems in the Nations and problems everywhere. Even a father who cannot control his family blames the leadership of the country. What if the problem had nothing to do with leadership at all? Could we be victims of bad followership and not bad leadership as we have always believed? I want to propose that the bigger problem lies in those that voted the problem into power in the first place. Why would people in their right minds vote for people who they know have nothing to deliver? Why would intelligent people vote for non-intelligent people? Why would people of dignity walk away from their dignity when their nations need it the most – during elections and then allow lower minds to vote on their own?

If democracy is the government that represents the people then do the people have any moral right to protest bad leadership? The leadership merely represents the people who sent them in. A nation cannot rise beyond the mental capacity of its leaders. This leads me to ask the question, why do people vote for people that they will protest against?

The very concept of democracy means that the people in the office are a reflection of the people that voted them. When we look across the country then this becomes a very scary thought. We will continue to lag behind as a people until we groom our minds to the point where we will elect our own – people with mental processing capacity to take us to the next form of our Nations.

Every election is an opportunity to reveal where we are mentally. Will emotion triumph over reason? Will short term excitement and passion take the place of long-term development and dignity?

In this season, please, Nigerians do not complain about what you permit.

Where are the so called leaders coming from? Every leader had once been a follower. Let’s tackle the root cause. It’s the same class coordinator who kept spending the class money that’ll graduate to being the state governor one day. It’s same bully boy who beats ladies around in school that’ll turn out to be a husband beating his wife some day. Let’s think! 70% characteristics of a leader are something that has been formed in him or her as a follower. He might hide it and escape and win the election, but it’ll definitely show up. That’s why we have to look deeper into the mind before choosing, probably we all have to emulate that in choosing the so-called leaders at any level. Leaders are built as faithful followers, they may be weak no problem, but they’re good and faithful. Show me a good follower and it’ll only be a matter of time till he becomes a leader. For it’s easier to tell someone to sit down than to be told sit down. It’s affecting the society a lot today, we all want to run and lead but then no one wants to sit and obey.

Is there really anyone who is a leader? I don’t think so. I think the concept of our leadership should be called stages of followerships. For we all have one leader- God. The flawless leader whom we’ve refused to heed to His instructions. So we don’t have a leadership problem because the Almighty is flawless and ready to teach us every time, but where are the good followers of His? His followers are we and if we do as He has commanded there won’t be chaos and problems. God is flawless so truly the problem is a followership problem. Mr President was right in his words, but his words are beyond what he’s said. I stand with him, Nigerians have to change but not for the same reason he said it. Nigerians have to change and listen to the only one leader we’ve and not someone higher in the followership hierarchy whom the human community has tagged a leader.

Here below you can find qualities of a good follower.

Good followers have a number of qualities:

1. A Sense of Judgement

Followers must take direction but they have an underlying obligation to the society to do so only when the direction is ethical and proper. The key is having the judgement to know the difference between a directive that your leader gives on how to proceed that you do not agree with and a directive that is truly wrong.

2. Diligence

Good followers are good workers. They are diligent, motivated, committed, pay attention to detail and make the effort. Leaders have a responsibility to create an environment that permits these qualities but regardless, it is the responsibility of the follower to be a good worker.

3. Competence

Sometimes things go wrong because the follower is not competent at the task at hand.

4. Honesty

The follower owes the leader an honest and forthright assessment of what the leader is trying to achieve and how. This is especially the case when the follower feels the leader’s agenda is seriously flawed. Respect and politeness are important but that said, it is not acceptable for followers to sit on their hands while an inept leader drives the proverbial bus over the cliff. Good leaders are grateful for constructive feedback from their team. Bad leaders do not welcome feedback and here followers have to tread carefully.

5. Courage

Followers need, to be honest with those who lead them. They also need the courage, to be honest. It takes real courage to confront a leader about concerns with the leader’s agenda or worse, the leader himself or herself. It is not for nought that Churchill called courage “The foremost of the virtues, for upon it, all others depend on onis not care”. From time to time, it takes real courage to be a good follower.

6. Discretion

A favourite saying in World War II was “Loose lips sink ships.” Sports teams are fond of the expression “What you hear here, let it stay here.” Everybody who works at an enterprise has a duty of care; does not care, it is careless.

7. Loyaltty

Good followers respect their obligation to be loyal to their community . Loyalty to the community and its goals is particularly important when there are problems, interpersonal or otherwise, with a particular leader. Followers who are not loyal are inevitably a source of difficulty. They create problems among members; they compromise the achievement of goals; they waste everybody’s time; they are a menace. Loyalty is not a synonym for the lapdog. Rather, its essence is a strong allegiance and commitment to what the organisation is trying to do. Followers should remember that their obligation is to the community , not a given leader at a given point in time.

Followership will always be in the shadow of leadership in our country. But there are no leaders without followers and on-going success with weak followers will usually prove elusive. It is true that a country is only as good as its leaders. It is also only as good as its followers.

I may not be a Martin Luther King Jr or Kenneth Kaunda, but I also have a dream. A dream so strong that I feel peace inside of me despite all these wailings that this country shall be better one day.


Nicholas Oluwaseyi is a young medical student whom God has favoured and committed a great vision of seeing mankind turn into eternal HOPE. He could be reached through his e-mail You can also follow his blog


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