By Muyiwa Olasehinde Texas is a state of mind.…
By: Sani Abdulrazak
At a time when the country was bedeviled by the lurid miasma of kidnappings, cattle rustling, terrorism, shortage of basic amenities, and dwindling resources, we ushered in a new administration determined to steer us out of this mammoth challenges. They found out that basic among other challenges is the lack of a system to painstakingly nurture and mould leaders that will pilot our affairs in a way unique to us, because the solution to our problem is local. Simply put, the fons et origo of strife in any society is bad leadership, one with poverty of ideas and fragile of mind. They identified this “salient” moral burden when they came on board and put machineries in place to tackle it.
The process of nurturing and developing leaders is therefore of paramount importance in order to have competent leaders. If we are serious about leadership in Nigeria, we must take cognizance of the processes and ways these leaders are trained. We cannot pontificate on “Project Nigeria” and be insensitive to leadership training, because good leadership is a sine qua non for national development. Developed countries of the world invest so much in leadership training, the resulting product of which they have strong workable institutions and ethical leadership. One that lifts up people, investing them with hope and promise, one that yields good governance, provide quality education and basic healthcare. It therefore becomes imperative that we begin to train and nuture competent, accountable and integral leaders with values that will stir the affairs of our nation in the coming decades. The reality is, there are no shortcuts to producing good leaders today.
There is this “Imaginary” binary thinking that dominates and energizes our polity that leaders are not trained, they simply fall from trees. In essence, leadership is a natural talent; it is either you have it or you don’t, but this argument fails completely when tested in the lab of reality. This is a truly misleading perception. The Kaduna state Governor, Malam Nasir El-Rufai as always, took the lead and is proving this “Imaginary” status quo wrong by initiating the Kashim Ibrahim Fellowship, a brainchild of the Governor. A one year training program where selected young Nigerians from all parts of the country irrespective of gender, religion and/or ethnic group go through rigorous processes that nurture and mould them into the leaders we seek. They benefit from the experience of the highly experienced in order to better their achievements and avoid their mistakes. The non-partisan program is aimed at creating and producing potential young Nigerians who are expected to rise to top political positions in both public and private sector over the next decade through developing leadership ability in these young Nigerians. The point here, at the risk of overstating what is by now too obvious is, Kashim Ibrahim Fellowship is the missing piece of the puzzle in our quest for producing the set of leaders we admire and crave for.
I must commend you Sir, the Executive Governor of Kaduna state, Malam Nasiru El-Rufai, for believing in our youths and giving them this rare opportunity through Kashim Ibrahim Fellowship. You have indeed walked the walk of exceptional leaders, delivering telling leadership skills time after time. The timing of this program was well calculated and in time as the giant strides you are making at repositioning the state on the map and making Kaduna great again. Brilliance is one thing, wisdom is another, and they do not always coalesce, Malam Nasiru El-Rufai typifies that homogenous concrescence. With Kashim Ibrahim Fellowship, You will be remembered for prioritizing selfless service to the nation as your highest common factor in the scheme of developing our next generation of leaders. Sir, The good people of Kaduna state say, “Merci Mille Fois”.
As the clock ticks towards the completion of the training for the pioneer Fellows, I must admit that you have exceeded all expectations and have renewed our hope that it is indeed possible to develop the leaders that will redefine ethical leadership in Nigeria. To these wonderful, exceptional and extremely intelligent pioneer set of Fellows: Abdulhakeem Miko Muhammad, Abimbola K. Adetunji, Abubakar Saleh Joji, Aliyu Suleiman Iya Bamalli, Anas Sani Ali, Dorcas Kadangs, Enyinnaya Danjuma Chukwueke, Fatima Kessington, Jemima Jatau, Leonell Echa, Micheal Medubi, Mohammad Maccido, Muhammad Kona, Padonu Rebecca Maulome, Rabi Usman Aminu and Tasiu Ibrahim. The magnanimous community service at Government Secondary School, Rigasa will be remembered and appreciated for decades to come. You have really touched lives and continue to do so. We will forever remain grateful. We wish you the very best in your endeavors. We hope to see you at the very top of the leadership cadre. It was never at any point in doubt, that you will be the role models we hope others will look up to.
Good governance becomes truly not negotiable when we train our leaders the best way possible like the Kashim Ibrahim Fellowship. Some people have argued that there is a psychological warmth people get from knowing that they have competent and purposeful leaders, this is a moot point. However, what is beyond any reasonable doubt is that Kashim Ibrahim Fellowship is a stitch in time, leading a rapid paradigm shift in our view and understanding of leadership in Nigeria.
Sani Abdulrazak is an Academic Technologist with Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, and can be reached via email@example.com.