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NBA conference: Taking the lead in women’s voice and leadership

The ongoing annual general conference of the Nigerian Bar Association in Port Harcourt is genuinely the largest gathering of the bar members in Africa. I was invited as one of the segments’ speakers and a panellist. Without any thought, I gladly accepted the invitation to speak to this group of nation builders. Lawyers as nation builders are within the value chain of my targeted influence, just like the students, teachers, youth, and the employees and employers that I engaged regularly.

The NBA conference truly lived to its galactic nature as lawyers trouped from all the corners of Nigeria despite the fear of pandemics. Social distance protocols were put in place, and the Yakubu Gowon Stadium in the garden city was in a rare fastidious mood. I took part in the opening programme and the first breakout session. Governor Nyesom Wike’s speech as the host and Rev. Dr Matthew Kukah’s keynote remarks were jocular with the truth needed to build a new Nigeria.

Read Also: Nigerians are tired, angry, says Kukah at NBA conference

By the time you are reading this column, I would have participated in taking the lead on women’s voices and leadership. Incidentally, my book, take the lead, came in handy. My effort in putting pen to paper in 2017 was rewarded with one of the largest and influential platforms for nation-building.

I have seen car stickers with many inscriptions relating to the law and the accountancy professions. The stickers with the phrase ‘Wetin lawyers dey do’ and ‘I am a lawyer, trouble na my work’ caught my attention in the past. My team of consultants at Mentoras Limited designed a stick with the sentence ‘I am a lawyer; I’m taking the lead for a greater Nigeria’. As a team of consultants and nation builders, we are using the sticker to extract a commitment and anchor of reminders to the members of the Nigeria Bar Association, on a key action point for Mr Olumide Akpata and his erudite team of lawyers. Nigeria needs the action of the lawyers from the conference.

How did my session go, you want to ask? I do not know, as the event is ahead of me when writing this article. However, I am sharing with you what I planned to tell the lawyers. I will follow the established protocols and acknowledge the speakers who would have spoken before me.

Our women will do more if they can be different from the men who led us to a state of tinderbox.

I will lay a foundation. The craving for women’s voice and participation in leadership is not the absence of the capacity to lead. I believe women have more leadership capacity than men and wonder how the men got the first movers’ advantages. I would support my claims of the endowments in women with a British Poet and Playwriter’s comments. William Golding said, “I think women are foolish to pretend they are equal to men. They are far superior and always have been. Whatever you give a woman, she will make it greater. If you give her sperm, she will give you a baby. If you give her a house, she will give you a home. If you give her groceries, she will give you a meal. If you smile at her, she will give you, her heart. She multiplies and enlarges what is given to her. So, if you give her any crap, be ready to receive a ton of shit!”

Women, especially knowledgeable lawyers, are mighty and could build nations if given the proper access to leadership. I will support my position with a few extracts from my book on taking the lead. Taking the lead is to live, energise, activate, and develop your strength zone. I wrote the book in 2017, published in 2018, to bring people through how to maximise fulfilment and avert regrets at their old age by setting in motion what would outlive them. I will explain to the audience how I found greater fulfilment in writing and coaching to impart lives than in the activities of my previous life. I started what I now do for a fortune as voluntary and for the fun of fulfilment.

The first person that led me was my mother. Women have leadership capacity, and I would give a working definition of leadership and expose my audience to the four stages of leadership. Women are rated high at the first three stages: personal, one-on-one, and team leadership due to nature and their involvement in moulding people. Women are missing and relatively low in their involvement in the fourth stage, the organisation or institutional leadership. The latter includes politics as women’s governors or presidents are still far away from us in Nigeria.

I will set out my discussion on the four pillars for taking the lead. The pillars are the presence of a compelling purpose, the need for a clear perspective, the necessity for courageous persistence, and finally, the expectation of a fulfilled outcome.

The need for a compelling purpose is evident in the pathetic state of our nation. Men have led us to be the most divided country where her citizens are looking to get out. All our ‘Andrews’ are checking out. We have been misled to a point where those who hold power are not secured and sleep with one eye opened. We have embraced mediocrity using religion and ethnicity. We have eschewed inequality, entitlement mindset, and they crave power and resources without justice. We are proud of a population that is not productive but useful as an election tool and is now a threat to the innocent majority. If we look diligently into what our founding fathers did and achieved, they have succeeded in erasing their so-called legacy with the mess of results and not the message of results we are currently seeing. The result shows that those who fought and led Nigeria after independence and till today are transactional leaders. We are still in search of trans-generational leaders in Nigeria. We can never tell; it could be from womanhood.

Therefore, women have a compelling reason to want to take the lead and do better than our politicians, especially if we compare our retrogressions with progressions in Singapore, Turkey, Ghana, and Rwanda. Our women will do more if they can be different from the men who led us to a state of tinderbox.

Time and space will not permit me to explore the other points, But I shall come back to write on my experience in the garden city.

Conclusively, the NBA did incredible work in the organisation of the conference from my day one experience and kudos, to Akinmade Ajibola, the co-chairman of the conference technical planning committee ((for taking the lead before the event) and International Federation of Women in Nigeria for having me in Nyesom Wike’s clan.

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