Politicians whose interests go beyond true creative change and transformational leadership are not the best candidates for this particular job.

Gideon I. Onyedi

As we march towards the 2019 general election, in which you are a major contender, as the Presidential standard-bearer of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) I wish to congratulate you on your victory at the polls during the presidential primary election of the party; and, without taking anything for granted, as a patriotic Nigerian, also wish to bring to your attention the herculean task ahead of you, after you have been elected president: that given the prevailing extremely negative socio-economic and security conditions around us, Nigeria might be on her way to a new round of challenging and dauntingly tasking political and socio-economic situations in the next few years, if nothing serious and decisive, with nationalistic and patriotic consciousness, is done to create the needed change and a turn-around for the better in 2019 and beyond.

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Change is both a process and a product. It is a principle, natural principle; and a practice, normal human practice. Change is a phenomenon, a universal phenomenon, a universal phenomenal truth. Change is about metamorphosis, transmogrification, transmutation; but above all, it is a transformation. Change, as transformation, is aptly captured and cast on the crest of the concept of ‘creative change’. Creative change is transformation; and transformation is creative change. The individual or leader behind any transformation is the creative change agent.

From my experience in this nation, and studies so far, I can, with all sense of modesty, state that Nigeria is, more than ever before, in dire need of a creative change agent, a transformative and transformational leader, and not the usual transactional political leaders we have had and always have. Nigeria, today, needs a transformational leader who does not owe anyone good and transformative leadership just because the individual voted for him (transactional), but the leader who owes, and knows he owes everyone transformative leadership because the individual is a Nigerian citizen who deserves good leadership in accordance with global best practices, and global citizenship ideals.

As a successful businessman, there is no doubt about it that you are experienced in leadership and creativity. Nigerians, therefore, would not be misguided if and when they put their trust and confidence in you by massively voting for you in 2019, in anticipation of good leadership. However, given the ugly experiences we, as a people have had with politicians who were (and still are) businessmen, and were elected to govern from the business class; who never brought any development to the states, or created jobs; and who couldn’t impact positively on the people with their business clouts and acumen like Donald Trump is doing positively on the economy of the United States, I feel a moral obligation as a citizen of Nigeria, to call your attention to the fact that when politics meets with business, the individual who is at the centre of the two interests would need a great deal of vision, understanding, commitment, aggressiveness, discipline, selflessness and sacrifice to see politics not as a means of advancing personal interest given his capitalistic orientation from the business world.

As you prepare to contest for the presidency of this nation come 2019, I have elected to offer some advice to the respected, and wonderful possible future president of my great and beloved nation, Nigeria, on the need for transformational leadership and creating and implementing change in the real Nigerian world. I find it very relevant here, without pretenses, to state that it is not easy to create and implement change in the real Nigerian world. Obviously, there are a good number of factors that will militate against effecting transformative leadership and creating and implementing necessary and lasting change. The following incontrovertible facts and factors lend credence to my above-stated position:

One dominant nature of the animal kingdom, especially man, is resistance to change, and a consuming desire to maintain the status quo, especially when those needed to play a role in the implementation of the change/ creative change stand to reap and benefit from the status quo. This factor is the strongest militant against any true and ‘sticking’ restructuring in Nigeria. With the benefit of hindsight, and predicated on history and antecedents, I dare say it is difficult but not impossible for any political leader from the North, to be committed to pursuing and implementing true restructuring in Nigeria, except a generational leader that will spring up from there with the help of Divine Providence. Though this will be very difficult, once again, I believe it is not impossible. It is like the ever-reigning campaign promise by successive American Presidents to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel without the political will and strength to do so once elected, even though they knew it was the ‘right’ thing to do.

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Sometimes, lack of resources, logistics and needed manpower militate against successful implementation of creative change. Nigeria has the resources to create and implement the needed change. What the nation needs are patriotic, prudent, and dependable resource managers. With such individuals, you could achieve so much with so little. Political instability and interest on the other hand could be a strong foe of creative change and implementation.

On the other hand, cultural and religious factors have been experienced as great barriers to change implementation, especially when such change is wrongly or rightly perceived as a threat to the propagation of the local culture of natives or their religion. This particular factor would need a lot of quality education, orientation, enlightenment and civilization to be dealt with. The National Orientation Agency could be comprehensively repositioned to achieve this.

In my experience, population distribution, rural-urban migration and demographics, and their correct or wrong capturing and reporting, as being contested from time to time in nations and countries like Nigeria, have at various times hampered the effective and successful implementation of transformational leadership/creative change in the real Nigerian world. These factors have affected policies, allocation of resources, planning and representations, among other things. No government in Nigeria will make the needed change; even the prospective new government in 2019 will definitely not make any creative change from the past if it does not create the needed transformative technical, administrative, and operational platforms to address these issues. Politicians whose interests go beyond true creative change and transformational leadership are not the best candidates for this particular job.

Another experience is that corruption in the government and business circles, even in our educational institutions, is destructive to transformational leadership and creative change.

Corruption corrodes the life of a leader; conquers his/her pride and honour; criminalizes his/her records; controls his/her freewill; cancels his/her reputation; confuses his/her vision and conviction; compromises his/her principles; crushes his/her integrity; cripples his/her confidence and boldness; clips his/her wings; and crashes the future of a nation.

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Onyedi writes via [email protected]