Moghalu: Leadership under Threat Worldwide


Obinna Chima

A former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Prof. Kingsley Moghalu, has said that globally, leadership is presently confronted with “big challenges, big opportunities, and big possibilities.”

According to him, from corporate leaders in advanced industrial countries who have to worry about the implications of disruptive innovation, the demands of corporate citizenship on business models, and the rising political risk to bottom lines from the surge in populism in western democracies, to entrepreneurs in Africa faced with unstable macroeconomic environments, absent infrastructure, policy inconsistency, and weak institutions, leadership is facing stress and challenges.

Moghalu, who is the Chairman & CEO, Sogato Strategies LLC, said this in a speech titled: ‘Africa’s Future: The Leadership Imperative,’ he presented at the Africa Leadership Conference, that was organised by Guardians of the Nation International (GOTNI) USA in Washington, DC, recently.

For Africa, Moghalu said that leadership remains a critical challenge that must be confronted and overcome if democracy was to yield good governance, if entrepreneurial talent expressed “in the narrative of an Emerging Africa is to yield true economic transformation, and if Africa’s rich historical scientific heritage is to translate into an explosion of innovation that can make us competitive in a globalised world.”

According to him, Africa’s leadership problem was located mainly in its internal political spaces. But, he pointed out that precisely these spaces determine what kind of societies, economies, education and health systems in the continent.

He added: “The first order of business, as I have argued consistently, is that of our minds. We must reinvent the African mind. Our minds determine whether or how we understand what leadership means or doesn’t. Our minds determine what kind of mindset or worldview we bring to the task and responsibility of leadership. And our minds determine whether we have, or can acquire, the character and competence of leadership.

“My personal understanding of leadership, especially in the context of countries like those in Africa, is that great leadership must be transformational. And I always approach the subject with the end in mind: what, for example, would be said about my service after I have completed a specific leadership task or responsibility? Indeed, to envision more radically, what will be said at my funeral? (One should hope that that event will hold somewhere north of my 100th birthday!).

“From the political ferment in the United States in the era of Donald Trump to the stunning victory of Emmanuel Macron in response to the yearnings of French citizens for bold, new leadership. From the electoral shifts in the recent elections in the United Kingdom in the era of Brexit to the political crisis in Brazil over allegations of corruption against its elected leaders, leadership is the big issue. For good or ill, we live in its shadow.
“We can understand why: in all its manifestations – political, corporate and entrepreneurial, science and innovation, academia, healthcare and public policy, leadership is the main determinant of social and economic progress.

“Although our focus here is on leadership in Africa, we must understand that the leadership challenge in the world today is universal. That should help us keep things in perspective,” he explained.
However, in order to address the current challenges confronting leadership in the continent, Moghalu stressed that the economic, social and political conditions in African countries remains the responsibility of African leaders, saying It is not that of Donald Trump.

According to him, one of the ultimately beneficial outcomes of the rise of populism in the West for African countries is that it will enable our countries look inwards and take responsibility for driving their own destiny; even in a world of globalisation, sovereignty and the authority and responsibilities that go with it have not gone away.

“Our destiny is not the responsibility of the foreign aid agencies. And we cannot continue to blame the colonial powers. The leaders of our countries must build real nation-states out of what Count Clemens von Metternich, Europe’s leading statesman in the early 19th century, referring to Italy, called “a mere geographical expression” – in other words, countries that are artificially formed and are not nations in a real sense.
“Our leaders have the responsibility of building institutions that can create a level playing field for everyone and shield citizens from tyranny, to achieve economic transformation, and to reclaim our countries’ place in the world.”

He added: “Citizens, on their part, have the responsibility to decide who has responsibility for their welfare. In many African countries, they have not taken this duty as seriously as they should. Professor Ameena Gurib-Fakim, the competent and erudite President of Mauritius — one of Africa’s most successful countries — put it so pithily: “But the onus is also on all Africans. People have to start asking the right questions. Politicians, leaders, policymakers in normal democracies are all accountable to the people. But, and I am sorry for saying this brutally, we get the government we deserve.”