Hard as I tried to steer away from commenting on issues of leadership in this particular edition, the need and urge refused to give way, perhaps due to the critical role of a social scientist .i.e. to inform and educate its audience. Moreover, no other issue could be more topical given that election for new helmsmen that would lead us for the next three years is around the corner. In early 2015, this column devoted attention, in a two-part series, on “leadership deficit and security challenges in Arochukwu” which x-rayed the enormity of challenges associated with our leadership and the attendant consequences and ended with a prescription on the path to true and successful governance. However, seeing that the current helmsmen were less interested to be guided by the kind of ethos that define true leadership in other climes as espoused, the column in the last quarter of 2015 ex-rayed what it termed “Nzuko Aro Election: the leadership we deserve in 2016” wherein the leadership was again guided on the honourable path to a successful baton exchange to ensure it departs with a modicum of integrity.
Some issues raised therein are worth repeating or paraphrasing as background to the current thesis. My argument was that governance in Arochukwu was in dire straits, so it behoved all persons that love the community to show concern in our collective wellbeing by having more than passive interest in the 2016 election. I contended that it was impossible for the present exco, with just few weeks to handover, to redress all its mistakes but it was possible for it to do something that would earn it some reputation. Most institutions in Aro, i also noted, laid prostrate and only leaders with community leadership orientation and virtues would have the capacity to turn around the situation. The article therefore, concluded that one thing that would earn the out-going exco honour was for it to be less partisan in who succeeds it. Although I acknowledged the fact that it would be a difficult task, I reasoned that anything less shall damage its chances of leaving office with positive opinion of any sort.
Yet, I averred that given the known tendencies of those in charge of affairs, this path of honour may be difficult but advised that it was in doing difficult tasks that true leadership is often tested. Aside from the reasons aforementioned, am constrained to come back to the leadership question, the fourth time in a sequence, due to startling developments lately. It is either that the current leaders see no reason or sense in doing the right thing or that they are overwhelmed by siege mentality associated with most dying administrations. Or how else does one explain its action of issuing election guidelines that totally usurps the roles constitutionally assigned to patrons? And, doing so after it was fore-warned that it would completely erode any integrity it may still possess? Or how would it hope to do such and escape harsh judgement of history? As a student of Corpus Christi College, Achi, Oji River, Enugu State, we had a principal that always reminded us about “the day of reckoning”, a direct reference to when our mission in the school to acquire certificate will be called to question. Our ability to acquit ourselves creditably by the kind of grade we make shall be the ultimate test. Indeed, his constant reminder assisted us to understand the the biblical injunction about judgement that shall be the fate of all humans. For the current exco, the day of reckoning comes with the Easter 2016 election as surely a new leadership beckons.
We have so many things happening in global leadership that provides shining examples for us locally. For instance, in the United States, the two major political parties are locked in contests to nominate candidates for the presidential election slated for November. The conduct of two major contenders in the Republican Party is worthy of emulation because it is in tandem with leadership genre with community leadership orientation in terms of listening to the led. Jeb Bush, desirous of turning around his poor performance, made great efforts in South Carolina, including parading his parents and sibling who had won elections in the State. However, when the result was released and Jeb was nowhere near the front runners, he remarked that “the people of South Carolina have spoken and I have heard” and instantly suspended his ambition for presidency. Again, Ben Carson, the neurosurgeon candidate, after his poor showing on Super Tuesday admitted that he did not see a political path forward, so opted out of the race. Good lessons for current and would-be leaders. One certainty in the uncertainty of change is that change itself is bound to occur and whether we see the handwriting on the wall or not the immutable course of history is certain. Good bye old order, welcome new era.