ARE WE READY FOR THE NEXT GENERATION LEADERS?

In the world today, so many countries have great plans for their next generation; countries like USA, and China, have developed plans that will take care of their future leaders. Ones they discover leadership qualities in a child, that child is groomed for leadership. But here in Nigeria the story is different. If we must move forward we must find a way to address this.

As a teacher who teaches leadership and entrepreneurial skills, one incident took place in my class that prompted me to ask this question. I was teaching a particular class about leadership and entrepreneurship. In the cause of my teaching, I asked my students to write down their ambition, and the vision they have for themselves in the next 25 years. Their answers were amazing, some wrote that, they will be doctors by then, some engineers, some businessmen, and so on. I discovered that none of them said anything about taking up political position, or becoming a politician.

I decided to encourage them, by telling them that by 2040, the Dangote of that time may be in a classroom somewhere right now; the shouted out of excitement and were very happy. I said again; the Bill Gate of that era is in the classroom here or somewhere else right now, they were very excited, then I said; the senators of Nigeria by the year 2040 is in this class now. And in unison they replied ‘’God forbid’’!

Their exclamation came as a surprise to me, I was expecting a louder cheer, but no, what I got was a huge shock. This got me thinking, and I asked myself, ‘’who gave these children this picture and mindset they have about politics and politicians? And the answer was right there before me; the first culprit was their parents, second the media, and third the society.

How do we discuss politics in the presence of our children? How we do this, is very important. Politics is not a dirty game, only some of the players are dirty. If we paint politics as a dirty game that is the picture our children will have in their young mind. If we give it a good name that’s what they will adopt. I remember, during the 2015 Nigerian presidential election, a political party during their campaign in Lagos used a nine years old girl, as one of their campaign tool. Though they may not have seen it from my perspective, but for me; it was a wrong move. If President Goodluck Jonathan happens to be her father, will that same child address him the way she did? The answer is no! No matter who occupy that seat, the office of the President should be reverenced. WE should not bring children into politics for the wrong reasons. Let them see it as something to aspire for, something that is reserved for people of integrity.

If we Africans don’t address this issue of leadership now, definitely there will be leadership apathy in Africa. Yes, we have the Mandela Fellowship initiated by President Obama, that will not be enough. More need to be done. I know I am not alone in this. The school where the above incident took place is not an inner city school, but a school where the students are from the middle and upper class families of the society.

To get our society right, we must first get our families right, we must learn to give our children responsibilities, teach them to take up voluntary work in their schools and in the environment where they live. Make them to understand that, for every of their action there is an equal reaction or consequence. We cannot continue to do the same thing over and over again, and expect to get a different result. The bad politicians we have today grew up in our mist. I remember the words of late Michael Jackson in his song MAN IN THE MIRROR, He said ‘’if you want to make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and then make a change.’’ That means it starts with every one of us. Another great musician, John Legend said, ‘’the future started yesterday we are already late.’’ It’s better late than never. Tomorrow is starting now, just like other countries and continent of the world, let’s get our NEXT GENRATION leaders ready today we shouldn’t wait till tomorrow. Let’s be the role models they can look up to. Be the change you want to see in the world today.