By Muhammad Auwal Ibrahim
First and indeed foremost, I would like to state from the onset, the purpose of writing this article. It 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 sad 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. Mostly illegitimately as asserted by Dr. Usman Bugaje (2018) in a paper he presented during Dr. Sulaiman Kumo Memorial lecture at Gombe High School. This is one of the reasons that made me pen this.
Prof. Salisu Shehu, sometimes back, however, stated in his book Social Justice Leadership Responsibility in Islam. “It is because of the so-called democracy…”. I agree with him because even I, as young as I am, I still observed that some of our leaders are not competent/unjust but they are still there to lead us. Some don’t even know where to start. Some still need to be trained and disciplined. You can find some few qualities of a leader in the subsequent paragraphs.
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 well being or for your present well being 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 special attention to his qualities? Is it somebody that kills our economy, gives stimulants to our youth, destroys our society that you want to represent us? I think something is wrong with you in your heads. Do you vote because we 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? Here, the last but not the least question comes, 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. We should not have stopped there.
Another important 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 talk less of their followers. This is indeed painful.
If I may ask some of our leaders, how many of them read books written on this topic of discussion ‘leadership’ by Sokoto jihadist like Shehu Usman Danfodio, his brother, Abdullahi Fodio, his son, Sultan Muhammad Bello and the rest of them, I think only few would boast answering yes, if not none.
We the subjects or more preferably the ruled or the led have our various contributions to good governance at our various levels of life. Aside from obedience and compliance with rules so long as they are not evil and abominable. There are other positive contributions, like constructive criticisms, advising the government on good things and warning against evil and prayer as well, 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 a very important aspect of any given society. A leader, therefore, must be just. 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 one’s leadership traits before it becomes too late to overcome the present challenges.
Competence is another most appealing quality. His ability to overcome situations and handle matters mattered a lot. But do we care to consider that? 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. There are books that addressed such issue. 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 would take heed of all these. I pray that may all aspiring leaders go and learn what leadership is all about first before clinching any position of power.
Muhammad Auwal Ibrahim