Kolade, Utomi, others advocate transformational leadership

Experts have said adopting transformational leadership as against “transactional leadership” will facilitate effective and sustainable economic reforms.

They stressed that rethinking leadership requires a change of mindset and reorientation for both those in leadership positions and citizens.

This was the thrust at the Second National Leadership Dialogue Series (NLDS) organised by the Nigerian Prize for Leadership.

It was chaired by Prof. Anya O. Anya, in partnership with 19 other organisations, with the theme: Rethinking leadership: competence, governance, and impact on society.

The conference, which held via Zoom had in attendance elder statesmen and women, academia, professionals, civil society members, and young people.

Speaking during the virtual conference, the Vice Chairman, Nigerian Prize for Leadership, and Former High Commissioner of Nigeria to the United Kingdom, Dr. Christopher Kolade, said a leader must possess a proven sense of responsibility and must have the ability to communicate with people, both by speaking and, especially, by listening.

“He must have the willingness to learn at every suitable opportunity, have the courage to take and stand by tough decisions and make a firm commitment to best practices, good ethics, respectable values and standards in leadership performance,” he said.

Founder, Centre for Values in Leadership, Prof. Pat Utomi, stressed that central to leadership competence is problem-solving.  He noted that leaders solve problems to impact society positively.

Utomi said: “Yesterday’s big problems have become today’s routine because some leaders took responsibility and provided solutions at the material point of need.

“A highly effective leader must be equipped with knowledge and a high sense of service. That is what will enable him/her with the right attitude to impact society.

“In this connection, the nation needs leaders who see leadership as a sacrificial endeavour, with relevant capabilities to mobilise citizens, trust and commitment, community peace, national growth and development.”

Chief Executive Officer, Emerging Africa Capital Group Mrs Toyin Sanni, representing Women in Management and Business (WIMBIZ) stressed the need for citizens to interrogate people’s motives for seeking leadership positions.

“Such motives must be driven by a sense of purpose, and the desire to create impact, not a mere hunger for power, greed, selfish and personal ambition.

“Leaders in Nigeria should be measured by their dispensational ability towards the six cardinal Cs of leadership, which are, Competence, Character, Credibility, Capacity, Compassion, and Courage. They should also be measured by their personal integrity, accountability, exemplary conduct.”

Executive Director, Leap Africa, Mr Femi Taiwo, said leaders must be accessible to their constituents.

He noted that the survival of Nigeria depends on good leaders who are committed to giving their all for the growth and development of the nation, adding that Nigeria’s leadership problem is not about an absence of good leaders but ambushing and choking of available spaces by bad leaders to deny tested and competent leaders the opportunity to emerge.

Executive Secretary, NPL, Dr Ike Neliaku, re-emphasised that the NLDS was initiated for the benefit of Nigerians as a strategic intervention that will play an indispensable role in strengthening and elevating efforts to build a consensus to genuinely address the leadership challenges in the nation.