Since everyone believes that Nigeria’s greatest challenge is ‘leadership’, why is so little being done to fix it?
This seems to be the preoccupation of Prof. Princess Halliday, a Nigerian blue-blood, leadership ambassador, professor of ethics, talk show host and motivational speaker, resident in the United States.
In the past nine years, Halliday and her team have buried their attention in engagements that can get African nations like Nigeria working optimally in terms of leadership.
To this end, she has been speaking and mentoring youths and women from Africa, especially Nigeria on what it takes and means to be ‘authentic’ leaders. Therein, according to her strategy, lies the much desired socio-economic emancipation.
She says: “My goal is to make sure that every young person knows that there is the need to learn to be a leader. We hope to educate them on what it takes to be authentic leaders. You will believe with me that one of the biggest challenges we have as a country is leadership and so we have to start this conversation with the younger ones on what it takes to lead.”
Although, she studied petroleum engineering to douse the family’s agitation of having a pie in the oil industry, the mainstay of the people in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria, where she hails from, Princess Halliday would soon veer off to pursue courses in communication and leadership at Harvard and Woodbury universities respectively to prepare herself for the present role, which has seen her speaking on prestigious platforms across the world on issues about leadership and development.
Some of such engagements include speaking on corruption at the British House of Commons in December 2016 at the care of the MP Helen Grant; speaking at the 2017 Nigeria-Agri-Food Investment Forum by addressing the barriers to leadership, business and investment in Nigeria; speaking to leaders at the Mackerel Business and Leadership Conference in Virginia Commonwealth University on ‘How Authenticity Affects Leaders in Africa’; and speaking at the International Monetary Fund forum on women in Washington DC in 2017.
She will also be speaking at the African Youth Summit in Abuja at the end of November 2019.
To bolster these efforts, Halliday has been working closely with the Empower Africa Initiative, a platform that has gone beyond speaking to also attracting physical infrastructures in the Niger Delta Region of Nigeria, where they undertook the reticulation of water pipes alongside the Niger Delta Development Commission, an effort that brought pipe-borne water to many communities in the region.
Quite optimistic about the potential of the African women and youths in leadership, Halliday believes, this class of people in Nigeria will do much better if the barriers placed by the status quo are questioned.
She said, “We need people who will not just be subservient but challenge the status quo by asking questions. One of the major problems we have in Nigeria is that people do not even have the confidence to ask why. They think if they ask questions it means being disrespectful. It is not disrespectful to be heard. You have to speak to power.”
Beyond mentoring, Halliday also does TV broadcasting through the Princess Halliday Show, a variety TV programme with an interview segment that has featured personalities like Don Moen, Chevelle Franklyn, Prof Pat Utomi, Amy Gibson, and Rob Riley amongst other international celebrities. The TV programme shows on the MNET platform across 48 countries of the world.
Interestingly, these efforts have not gone unnoticed, especially in the international circle. The United States government has classified her as one with ‘Extraordinary Ability in Leadership’, an honour reserved for individuals performing above par in their fields of endeavour. At the International Commonwealth Platform, she was also recognized as the Youngest Executive Producer/TV Talk Show Host, while the Canadian government honoured her in 2016 with an Outstanding Leadership Award.