The Implications of leadership without vision

Muhammadu Buhari

According to Winifred E. Newman, associate Professor in Architecture, Florida International University, “vision is the world’s most desperate need. There are no hopeless situations, only people who think hopelessly.” This understanding means that the foremost need of the world is not really new laws, policies and programmes but rather a guiding vision that should give birth to laws, policies and programmes to achieve it. The place of vision in the life of a person, organization or society is so vital that the Bible revealed that, “where there is no vision, the people perish” (Proverbs 29:18). Another Bible translation states that “where there is no vision the people live carelessly.” Living without vision is tantamount to careless living which ultimately ushers in disaster, trouble and all other unwanted social and economic situations that make life very miserable. Absence of a guiding vision is like taking a journey to nowhere. Vision, which
Pastor Casey Treat defines as “a mental picture of a future state” is what actually defines a leader. Whether it is an individual leading himself or a CEO of a company or a government leader, the absence of a guiding vision means that such a person has no legitimate reason for leading. He only wants to occupy a position for whatever reason other than results delivery and leaving the position better than he met it. The only justifiable reason to have the privileges and responsibilities of leadership is that the leader has a compelling, consuming vision to bring a certain mental picture into physical manifestation. When a leader is driven by a vision, his spiritual, physical and mental energies are activated and channelled towards its accomplishment. The powers of imagination are aroused to proffer means towards achieving such a vision. The leader with a vision has all his thoughts and actions defined by the vision. He leaves no stone unturned and does not allow sentiments of any kind to inform his actions as they could be inimical to achieving the vision. The pursuit of vision transforms a person into something he was not known for. The passion for the vision and its associated enthusiasm are catalysts that organize the powers of heaven to help the one with vision achieve milestones in the journey of life, hence it is said that heavens make way for a person who seems to know where he is going. Nothing can stop such a person, Even the forces of darkness flee in fear of a person or leader who has truly decided to take his destiny into his own hand s by pursuing a vision. However, Nigeria’s leadership experience has been devoid of any guiding vision.
The presence of a vision is what really determines if a person is a leader or merely occupying a leadership position. In Nigeria and other undeveloped nations, we have people who talk like leaders, dress like leaders, possess various academic, religious and social titles and unfortunately, we mistake them for real leaders. We fail to challenge such people in their vision. Titles do not define leadership. Evidence abounds of very highly educated people who have failed woefully in leadership. Religious titles don’t help either. The poor state of infrastructure in Nigeria today has its root in leadership without vision. So also, are unprecedented high rate of unemployment, insecurity, ritual killing, robbery runaway hyperinflation and a general sense of hopelessness pervading the nation. Nigeria is a country where corruption is glorified and given choice seats at events. It is a country where personal interest over-rides public interest. It a country where a person’s leadership antecedents and credentials do not count. What counts is money-however you acquire it. This is a country where everyone-criminals, looters of the public treasury, fraudsters and others like them are in positions of leadership. Nothing worthwhile can be achieved by them. A bad system doesn’t appear wrong to those who benefit from it. They do everything to defend it to the detriment of the larger society.
For our positional leaders in Nigeria, all they need do is make “promises” and deceive their way into political offices. I recall the “job, job, job. Factory, factory, factory, industry, industry, industry” campaign slogan of former Governor Rochas Okorocha in the 2015 election year. He knew he didn’t mean it and did not have the capacity to do those things. However, he presented it to the people and his “salesmen” took it up from there. That slogan was supposed to be Okorocha’s vision for Imo State, but he touted it to deceive the people into allowing him another four years of plunder and emasculation of the state. The followers don’t bother! They are more interested in the crumbs that fall from the master’s table. Adolf Hitter knew this when he said, “what luck for rulers that men do not think.” When Okorocha and his merchants of deception were busy playing games with the people’s intelligence, no one bothered to ask him how he was going to provide the jobs, factories and industries. Many believed him, irrespective of the man’s long track record of failed promises!
Vision, of the cause, is not a mere pronouncement of a lofty ideal. It must-have properties and ingredients that distinguish it from a mere pipe dream. In order words, a vision must be S.M. A.R.T. it must be specific (to the point), measurable, communicable, tangible, time-related, etc. our purpose here is not to dwell into the deeper analysis of vision. Rather, the main purpose is to state that lack of vision is behind all our woes as a nation. All, I say, because our leaders have been shooting without aim. The general confusion in Nigeria today whereby it has become the poverty capital of the world and the third most terrorism-impacted nation, after Afghanistan and Iraq, according to the Global Terrorism Index (GTI) assessment, calls for deeper reflections. Nigeria needs to introduce leadership studies as a subject in secondary schools and as a prominent topic in the General studies of tertiary institutions. Nigerians need to know what leadership is supposed to accomplish in the society, organizations and personal lives. Where there is no vision, the people perish as it is in Nigeria today. Voters should make demands on leaders and not be passive about issues that concern and affect them. Passivity means that we want all these physical manifestations of visionless leading to assume wide dimensions. There has to be a change of mind on the part of both the leaders and the led. If our leaders do not amend their ways now, Nigeria will very likely be too hot for them to live in the future.

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