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Transformational Leadership as Tool for Economic Sustainability in Nigeria 

Transformational Leadership as Tool for Economic Sustainability in Nigeria 

At the recently concluded 28th edition of the annual Nigerian Economic Summit, which was supported by the leading ICT company, MTN Nigeria, panellists discuss transformational leadership that will attain inclusive prosperity for the nation, Vanessa Obioha reports

Leadership means different things to different people and this often depends on the level of leadership or the nature of the organisation.

To some, leadership is the product of the utilisation of authority, while to others, it is the ability to influence people towards a common goal. The influence of leadership models, citizen quality of life, GDP, and regulatory policies are only a few of the key evaluation paradigms for political leadership.

Over the years, Nigeria’s leadership practices have had a significant impact on its economy, global positioning and policymaking. Throughout its history, the country has witnessed basically every form of governance. Despite the evolution in systems of government, it is evident that it has not birthed the kind of quality in the leadership structures that could deliver the most benefits to the citizenry.  

One can also not deny that this has had far-reaching consequences across the country’s different sectors and spheres of living. Admittedly, Nigeria has the potential to compete with global leaders. Nigeria’s leadership structures over the years have been characterised by strict and conflicting policies, heavy taxation and increased insecurities. For a country that is at the threshold of choosing new leaders for 2023, good representation across the board must be ensured. Beyond 2023 for Nigeria, visionary leadership can be attained through proper planning, implementation and execution, then it can address the most apparent lapses in governance and improve where necessary. 

Given the importance of having visionary leaders,  leadership was the major point of discussion at the recently concluded 28th edition of the annual Nigerian Economic Summit, which was supported by the leading ICT company, MTN Nigeria. Beyond the leadership discourse, the aim of the summit was to articulate the country’s development imperatives for economic security, social justice, governance, political stability and environmental sustainability, especially in this transition year. The deliberations at the summit mainly focused on five areas: economic sustainability, visionary leadership, execution, political economy, and inclusive growth. 

Visionary leadership for Nigeria constitutes a clear understanding of the strategic and tactical plans for sustainability, innovative ideas and shared goals; and leadership models directly affect economic growth, decisions made, and policies formulated. Simply put, there is an evident repercussion of the leadership styles on the Nigerian economy; and its ripple effects cannot be overemphasized.   

In his keynote speech, Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo said “the theme for the summit, ‘2023 and Beyond: Priorities for Shared Prosperity’ calls on us to reflect on what our priority should be to attain inclusive prosperity from 2023 and beyond. The discussion that we must have, shun of sentiments, is how best to mise the situation by finding a mechanism for increases in life and more durable demand. A mechanism that will be transparent and which will boost confidence. It is time for us to look at the issues that most concern us and require urgent action”. 

Chief Executive Officer, MTN Nigeria, Karl Toriola, during a plenary session emphasized the need to “harness the human capital potential of Nigerians, by setting up developmental and educational institutions that go beyond the traditional types of education and address the opportunities of the future.” 

Using a three-pronged approach, improving the ease of doing business, easing multiple taxations and resolving insecurities should be the core focus of the government, to prove visionary leadership in the country. 

Nevertheless, a stable, clear and consistent policy disposition would position the government as strategic and determined to positively impact the Nigerian economy, and help the private sector thrive. Multiple and inconsistent policies have done more harm than good; and there is a need for a better synergy between regulators and operators, especially in industries like telecommunications, which is a leading contributor to the nation’s GDP. 

Some of the ways this can be implemented by the government is to upskill the civil servants. Cues and standards can be taken from the private sector leaders. In the private sector, accountability and performance are not debatable. 

The private sector leaders and mid-management that also seek to work with the government should have a basic understanding of how the government works, to enhance this synergy. 

Transformational leadership is the first step to economic sustainability; and for this to happen, there should be collaboration. Collaborations like cross-sectoral engagements for better working relationships and cross-sectorial recruitments, that is, private to public rotation; conferences, seminars, and forums such as the National Economic Summit for knowledge building and improving learning at all levels is very crucial. Conversations that will drive sustainable development should be constantly deliberated upon.

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