Evolving quality in traditional institutions, catalyst for leadership development
Global decline in quality leadership and the need to address it urgently, leveraging traditional institutions in order to inspire the young generation to aspire, was the talking point at the 33rd Centre for Values in Leadership (CVL) Leadership without Title (LWT) Colloquium in honour of His Majesty, Igwe Nnaemeka Alfred Achebe.
Addressing the gathering that comprised of past and present political leaders at the federal and state levels, heads of industries, members of faculties and traditional leaders, the convener, Pat Utomi, founder of CVL, noted that central to progress was the place of leadership.
“We hope that the opportunity of this series will inspire young people to emulate the right leaders.
“What is certain is that the traditional ruler, as they are often called, has not disappeared. Their role may be in evolution but their relevance has failed to whither. With the institution attracting people of proven leadership track and executive capacity like the Obi of Onitsha, these kinds of questions raise new worries about optimal approaches beyond emotional responses to the ancient and modern views of life.
“The challenges the country is presently facing are partly because of the dearth of think-tanks in Nigeria. Added to that, is the lack of effectiveness at the local government level. The leaders at the grassroots are reflective of the quality of the people. Hence, there is a need to evaluate governance at the local government level in order for real development to happen to the people,” Utomi said.
Ray Ekpu, former editor of Newswatch, said the quality of traditional rulers presently was on the rise in contrast to the political leadership. “Traditional leaders such as the Emir of Kano, the new Ooni of Ife, the Sultan of Sokoto, and the Obi of Onitsha, among many, have very high educational qualifications as well as having led many industries at top level positions before retiring and accepting to become traditional leaders.
“Today’s traditional rulers are making great efforts to give a new lease of life as against what used to be the norm,” Ekpu said.
According to Ekpu, the increased quality is also reflected in the quality of reforms that have taken place in the communities where they govern. They are changing cultures, creating better opportunities for young people and giving women greater roles to play as against what used to pertain, he said.
“Traditional leaders should also champion the integration of history in our curriculum and ignite our local languages,” said Tunji Olaopa, executive vice chairman, Ibadan School of Government and Public Policy (ISGPP).
While expressing his happiness at the celebration, Igwe Nnaemeka said there was a need to change the mindset of people over traditional leadership. Traditional leadership, according to him, is an “institution.”
The Igwe said when perceived that way, people have more to relate with rather than the person in authority. It also becomes more attractive for people of significant intelligence to see it as their responsibility to be involved in local administration, he said.
“Change is already happening at the traditional level, but more needs to be done,” according to him, there is a need to revive the traditional local and stop them from going into extinction.
“The worst crime colonialism left us was making English language compulsory in our examination. Whether you made an Alpha in all the subjects, so long as you failed English, you will reseat,” he said.
Therefore, Nigeria must prioritise the things that “bind us” rather than what “divides us,” he said.
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