The perennial challenge of poor leadership in Nigeria and Africa has been attributed to lack of preparatory processes for persons that attain leadership positions at all levels of the education sector.
Professor Aize Obayan disclosed this while delivering the 15th inaugural lecture of the Covenant University, Ota, Ogun State titled â€˜Lengthening Cords and Strengthening Stakes: Leadership Praxis and Transcendence in Counselling Practiceâ€™.
She stated that knowledge is a fundamental stake in leadership, “it does not only introduce a person to the practice and how to be a leader, it also determines ones effectiveness as a leader.
“There is a serious lack of preparatory processes for persons who attain leadership positions at all levels of the education sector from primary to tertiary. There is the faulty precept that years of experience in the sector automatically translates to an ability to provide leadership.
â€œWhen this happens, such institutions are on the path of decline. Everything rises and falls on leadership. The expectation therefore is that leadership praxis is not incidental, but intentional.â€
While describing education as the most powerful weapon that can be used to change a nation, Obayan however disclosed that based on the National Educational Profile of 2014 by Education Policy and Data Centre, a total of 25 per cent of 15-24 year-olds have not completed primary education.
“To further signpost some of the major issues that challenge Nigeria’s educational situation, the Education Policy and Data Centre carried out the National Educational Profile of 2014 and discovered that out of a total of 30,615,000 pupils that enrolled in primary and secondary schools in the whole of Nigeria in 2014, about 21,558,000 (70 per cent) are enrolled in primary education. Approximately, 19 per cent of Nigerian youths have no formal education and 5 per cent of them have attained at most incomplete primary education, meaning that in total 25 per cent of 15-24 year olds have not completed primary education in Nigeria.”
The Professor of Multicultural Counselling added that her many years of practice, teaching, researching, community service and university administration have revealed that Nigeria and Africa’s major challenge is leadership. She said the leadership question is not unconnected to the general lack of quality education, misplaced valued and cultural disorientation.
“This is where my work on multicultural counselling becomes relevant and my call for transcendence in counselling practice becomes very apt. This means there must be a committed and concerted effort in lengthening the cords and strengthening the stakes in leadership practices.
“To this end, I propose that leading and inspiring influence in the education context for viability should be a cardinal goal of this nation. Educating is a liberating force and will definitely lead to the emergence of a new generation of leaders, as the Covenant University stable has proven in the last 12 years.â€
Obayan said one of the challenges extended family structure and belief pose on formal counselling when dealing with a Nigerian client is the counsellor not being part of the client’s family and is seen as an outsider.
“The counsellor is therefore not able to work within the therapeutic space and environment of trust, genuineness, acceptance and unconditional positive regard, which are core elements that facilitate counselling, thereby rendering counselling ineffective and irrelevant.
According to her, among the cords needed to be lengthened for a better society that is hinged on good leadership include the institution of the family, parenthood, child rearing practices, youth engagements, and agents of socialisation such as the schools and vocational development centres.