Early this year, I did a two-part series of article on “leadership deficit and security challenges in Arochukwu” which x-rayed the enormity of challenges associated with the present crop of leaders in our community and the attendant consequences. However, the article did not conclude without providing current and would-be leaders with the path to true and successful leadership. Two issues that were raised therein require being restated here as a background to the current article. One, leadership in our clime seem to lack both ‘proactive and reactive qualities’. Being proactive would assist in their devoting time to articulate the issues that confront us in the immediate and long-term and taking certain decisions that would mitigate any emergent occurrence there from.
However, our leaders do not only fail in being proactive, they equally fail to respond intelligently to issues in a manner a reactive leadership would do comfortably. Two, leadership deficit does not mean non-existence of leaders with varying qualities but the absence of people with ‘community leadership orientation’. Surely, there is abundance of people with good leadership qualities in various segments of our leadership structures – traditional, local government, Nzuko Arochukwu, social clubs, village administrations, including families and unions, etc. Above notwithstanding, there is clearly a remarkable sense of scarcity of leaders with qualities required to lead effectively at community level. And, it is this situation that, for example, complicates security challenges in Arochukwu such that one year after the robbery incident at First Bank, not much has happened to assure the citizens and investors that it won’t easily reoccur. Consequently, the bank continues to keep its doors shut and citizens continue to suffer untold hardships, including travelling to Ohafia for banking transactions with associated problems, including loss of cash to thieves. It is, though, gratifying to hear that one publicly-spirited Aro, not any of our elected leaders, has started doing something to redress this ugly situation.
This brings us to the thesis of the present article, the leadership with deserve in 2016 must not be in short supply of community leadership orientation and virtues. Election to recruit people that would run our affairs in the next three years is only few months away and like in the previous contests, the field is already agog with all manner of candidates making public their interests. However, none thus far, have articulated strategies for governance and standards by which its success or failure shall be judged. That governance in Arochukwu is at present in dire straits is an understatement, so it behooves all persons that love the community to show concern in our collective wellbeing by having more than passive interest in the forthcoming election. Election, at all levels of governance, comes with peculiar challenges but ours have assumed a more serious dimension given the circumstances all of us are familiar with. Most significant is the crisis associated with the election that brought the current leadership to power, including the death of a Nigerian soldier and dent on our cultural institutions. Given this background, I have few thoughts on ways to manage the process but I shall limit it to only two at the moment.
First, we do not have to restate all the issues here but one major fall-out of the last two elections was the shift in the election cycle from December to Easter of the next year. Either as a constitutional issue or long established practice, umu-aro look forward to elections for a change of government in December while the new and old exco have until Easter the following year to formalize hand-over issues. Ordinarily, one would have thought that the Nnamdi Udoh-led exco, being aware of the practice, would have endeavored to correct it during its tenure. To forfeit three months out of a two-tenure of three years each wouldn’t have been a big issue or serious sacrifice if only to prove to trouble makers that our institutions have the power to endure. When the current exco was re-elected, that situation was not corrected thus pushing the election that would have held this year to Easter 2016. It shall therefore, be the first challenge of the in-coming government to redress this anomaly and have the election to coincide with the popular Aro Day celebration of December 26th.
Second, it is impossible for the present exco, in this twilight of its administration, to redress all the mistakes it made in the past five years and nine months but it is possible for it to do something that would earn it some reputation even as it departs with a battered face. Most institutions in Aro currently are laying prostrate and only leaders with community leadership orientation and virtues would have the capacity to deliver us out of the woods. Osita di na mma.. odiwara-gbo. One thing that will surely earn the out-going exco respect and perhaps, encourage chroniclers of history to be less harsh in their judgment is for it to be more patriotic and less partisan in who succeeds it. A tough call, no doubt, but it is my considered opinion that anything less shall damage its chances of leaving office with positive opinion of any sort. A clear indication that it is interested in or sponsoring any of the candidates that we have so far seen shall trigger actions that would counter the move. My reading of events is that the masses may be prepared to forgive some of the failings of this leadership but shall not tolerate having its puppet imposed on everyone. Given our knowledge of the characters and tendencies of those in charge of affairs however, this path of honor may be difficult but it’s in doing difficult things that true leadership is, at times, tested. Good luck!