Character is an indispensable contrivance for effective leadership and political positivism. Frankly speaking, one of the major challenges of developmental politics and good governance in our contemporary democracy with specific reference to our country is the issue of leadership. Leadership has generally been considered as the key impediment to our national progress. It has remained a recurring issue in our developmental aspiration and prospection. Lack of committed and purposeful Leadership has continued to inhibit and mitigate against the progress and development of our society.
It is an indisputable submission that Nigeria lacks insightful, decisive, visionary and selfless leadership that can meaningfully mobilize the people for a futuristic agenda.
From a general opinion, our major challenge in the state today is leadership failure. Leadership failure is a manifestation of character failure engendered by low moral. No wonder Stephen Covey in one of his works insightfully opined that; ninety percent of all leadership failure is character failure. Character is a fulcrum of leadership and a mirror that reflects the real embodiment of a leader. Leadership without character is a deception.
Any Government can only be sustained and prevailed by the character disposition of those in the saddle. It is only Leaders with measurable character can impactfully shape and give a sense of direction to any Government. The present administration of Governor Hope Uzodinma can only make impact in the lives of the people if its affairs will be administered by leaders with character. In leadership theory, character is a virtue that drives inspiration and influence among leaders.
The big question is, do we still have Leaders who have character?. It is only Leaders with character, extraordinary self discipline and sense of personal mission can make the difference in leadership. It is only Leaders with character can advise the Governor to pay workers their salaries and pensioners their pensions and gratuities. It is only Leaders with character can initiate a sound policy framework that will give direction to the present Government. Leaders with character will only be concerned on how to improve the welfare of the people not on how to live a life of frivolity.
Leadership is sacrificial, a leader must be dead to personal inordinate desires and associated social interest.
Our expectation is therefore that our leaders must have character and a clearly defined vision of where we are going and how we can get there. As Napoleon Bonaparte puts it “a leader is a dealer in hope. It is this hope that empowers the people to keep faith with the leadership that there is a defined destination.
It is, however, pertinent that our present leaders must know the way, be committed to towing the way, and also, must be willing to show the people the way, but most importantly, they must go all the way with the people. However, as Rosalyn Carter observes in one of his books ” a leader takes people to their destination, a great leader takes the people where they don’t necessarily want to go, but ought to be” . In this process there must be trust between the people and the leader. The people according to John Maxwell “buy into the leader before they buy into the vision”. The character of the leader therefore is essential in effective leadership. In the words of Winston Churchill, ” character is the beauty of effective leadership” . A visionary, strategic and transformational leadership is essential for good governance and socioeconomic transformation. As it is today, the question is, to what extent have we developed such leadership that will sustain us on the path of fundamental development and political progressivism? Imo State can only progress if we begin to make case for real Leaders with character.