Mr Jeffrey Abidoye is a leadership consultant, and was a former Chairman, Ondo State Scholarship Board in the immediate past administration in the state. In this interview with KAYODE CROWN, he explores the matters of leadership as it affects the nation among other issues.
Give a brief introduction of yourself.
My name is Jeffery Abidoye, a consultant in Leadership, Public Affairs Analyst, Principal Consultant and C.E.O, Leadership 247 Coaching Institute.
Leadership is a big deal everywhere in the world, what is wrong with Nigerian leadership?
My response to that is very simple. I’ll start by saying that the trouble with Nigeria is simply and squarely a failure of leadership overtime.
There’s nothing wrong with the Nigerian land, our climate or weather or anything else in our nation.
Nigeria’s problem is the unwillingness and the inability of leadership overtime to rise to the responsibility, the obligations and duty leadership.
Because leadership anywhere is very vital. It’s not about the size of the dog, but the fight in the dog.
Overtime, especially when you look at the post independence era especially between 1999 and now talking about 18 years, the longest of broken democracy in the nation, when you look at the resources that the leadership has had in its disposal, in terms of dollars, in terms of naira, even the human effort, where we are is far from where we ought to be.
I’m yet to see a nation or country in the world that is uncommonly endowed, in terms of human and natural endowment, the way Nigeria is.
There is absolutely nothing Nigeria is lacking, but those who have been privileged to have led us at one point or the other, with special reference to the last 18 years that we are looking at, have not given us the best.
So as such, it’s a pathetic situation, it’s a painful situation, an agonizing scenario for our nation today.
However, we may actually not be where we ought to be, but we are no more were we used to be.
Nobody becomes a leader without God Himself backing you and all that. So what you need to do is go back to the Author of leadership himself, God, and seek His counsel as Solomon did.
How to lead exceptionally well is not learnt in the four walls of any classroom, regardless of who you are. It’s about you knowing the principal purpose for your emergence as a leader.
Myles Munroe said that when you live a life without a purpose, abuse is inevitable.
Who would you say stands out when it comes to leadership?
There are several of them across the globe. For instance, you can talk about Nelson Mandela who believed even when there was hopelessness in the land.
He believed in himself and put his life on the line for the salvation of the people of South Africa, when people were being killed. And he was jailed for 27years.
Some people lost their lives but not minding the odds, he chose to stand for what he believed in.
He stood for the liberation of his people and became the first black president in his country.
When you move outside Africa and go to some of these developed countries, for example, you have Winston Churchill who was on board when there was hopelessness not only in Britain, or Europe but everywhere in the world and he stood his ground against Hitler’s Germany in World War Two.
In America, we have the likes of Bill Clinton who served as the president in one of the most respected countries in the world, which also had Barack Obama, Martin Luther etc.
In Nigeria, there are quite a number of them. We have Aminu Kano, Tafawa Balewa, Ahmadu Bello, Nnamdi Azikiwe, Obafemi Awolowo.
These are the most respectable leaders we can say we have ever produced. Not only are they notable Nigerian leaders but also renowned across Africa as a whole.
I wish Awolowo had the opportunity to rule Nigeria. He displayed unusual competence.
What drives you as a person? Tell us your background story.
I was born into a poor background. My father, who died two years ago, never saw the four walls of any classroom. My mother is still alive in her 80s.
The highest my father had was a bicycle and his farm. An uncle decided to put me in school.
He took me away and started teaching me leadership and what great values mean, ethical conduct and beliefs. He was a disciplinarian.
In primary school, I led my class. At that point in my life, I started taking interest in matters of leadership. As I grew up, I started discovering that the challenges of our nation is Leadership.
As parents, we should know that we are supposed to teach our children and set good leadership examples. Overtime our contemporary challenges started making it clear to me that we are losing our values, our ethical conduct and morals, culture and ultimately good leadership standard.
To the glory of God, when I finished my secondary school, I went to Kaduna, where I stayed with an aunt.
Initially my intention was to get an admission into the tertiary institution but because of some things, I got a job and was staffed. After a while I started developing myself but I kept thinking that the only reason I am still alive in the midst of so many challenges and crisis is because I have to fulfill purpose and destiny and that’s why I kept thinking of what I can do in the society.
What gives you satisfaction?
Events, experiences overtime have taught me that no matter how rich, wealthy you are, you will go back naked to your Creator someday.
So all is vanity. It’s not by age, it’s not your educational qualification that will make God bless you. Whoever He’s going to bless, He will bless and I know that my blessing will come.
I want to make my money with a good name, I want my daughter to mention my name and have people say she’s lucky. Whatever you acquire in life that does not impact the life of the people you see on daily basis, you’re just wasting your time.
People have the opportunity to impact lives positively, but just won’t do so for reasons best known to them.
Lately, my wife, kids and I were having a review and we discussed when I started work, when I left 13years after and how it has been.
Most times I wake up and think about the lives I’ve impacted and that is what the life of a good leader should be about.