BusinessDay
NigeriaDecides2023

Our Moses

“Mba!”We will not remain in Egypt.

We need a Moses who will teach Nigerians to take responsibility for their actions and behaviour – ingraining in us the principles of self-leadership, critical for nation building. He must lead us to lead ourselves.

A man who sneakily shunts the fuel queue, displacing and effectively cheating others who have queued for hours of their rightful position on the line, will still that very same evening at the beer parlour, join others to lament how bad our leaders are! He fails to see the very clear link between his own behaviour and the decrepit state of the nation he complains about. What an irony. We Nigerians know what the problems are but none of us sees himself as part of the problem. That indeed is our biggest problem.

Leadership is a topic that has been defined, examined and dissected by the most brilliant minds over the centuries. The likes of Niccolo Machiavelli concluded that in the art of leadership, the end without doubt justifies the means. So, for as long as the goal is a noble one which ultimately advances the interest of the people, the means employed to achieve it does not matter. There are others however who argue that once the means corrupts the society’s values, no matter how good the end product is, the society and its people have already lost. For once that sense of moral rectitude or humanity bolts, it’s extremely difficult to rein in. So, for such people, the end is not all that matters. How you get there does too.

Moses, the biblical character, was not a random choice of God to lead His people out of the cruelty of slavery in Egypt. Like everything that God does, whether we understand it at the time or not, it was deliberate and intentional. Moses, we got to learn was a humble and selfless man. Though all he could see were his own inadequacies regarding the huge task God assigned to him, he was actually imbued with many of the attributes required of a leader already – whether that be back in those days or even in our modern times.

Moses was humane, focused, compassionate and according to Charles Manz, Karen Manz, Robert Marx and Christopher Neck in the book they all co-authored, The Wisdom of Solomon at Work, he “rose above his own needs to seek the rights of his people”. A true leader thinks of the collective and not only himself. Even when his own interest remained intact and was not in anyway threatened, Moses still went ahead to plead on behalf of the people he led when God threatened to punish them for going astray. He exemplified several qualities of an effective leader, hence he was successful in His God given assignment, though it appeared overwhelming at first.

A true leader thinks of the collective and not only himself. Even when his own interest remained intact and was not in anyway threatened,….

God deliberately picked out a decent and just individual to pass His Ten Commandments – on which the tenets of justice is built – through to His people. Quoting the authors of The Wisdom of Solomon at Work (with the rider, Ancient Virtues for Living and Leading Today) “justice involves the pursuit of moral rightness, fairness, equality and respect for individual and collective rights”. It continues, “Moses became the vehicle through which God provided a basis for justice”.

Nigeria needs a Moses in 2023. Just as Moses “reproduced” himself by appointing judges to dispense justice on his behalf when the burden became too much for him to bear, so must our next president reproduce himself when appointing his cabinet by selecting those who share his vision and values and are equal in competence. And this brings me to another trait that I observed in Moses; Moses listened to the advice of his father-in-law. He was not a leader who believed he knew it all. Agreeing with the book above, many so called leaders make the mistake of believing they were chosen or appointed because they have all the answers.

No one man or woman has all the answers, therefore they do themselves a great disservice when they relegate their subordinates or followers to something akin to a robot who merely follows the leader’s instructions, without making any input or evoking in them, any sense of ownership. A wise leader empowers his followers and makes them leaders of themselves, involving them in decision making and thereby causing them to see themselves as leaders as well, and not mere followers who would naturally feel no sense of responsibility in following their leader’s orders, no matter how awful the result might be.

We need a leader who makes every Nigerian feel the need to take responsibility in the success or failure of the Nigerian project. Once the leader achieves this, half of his work is done. The kind of leadership which espouses this philosophy of leading others to lead themselves is referred to as SuperLeadership because according to the aforementioned book, a leader who practices this, “gains access to the strength of many by unleashing their unique knowledge, experience, creativity, justice and self-leadership.” Moses, we are told was meek and humble – an effective leader listens to advice on how best to serve the people, from the people.

Read also: Presidential leadership precepts

I will make bold here to say that Nigeria does not need a Messiah and never has. How can such an imperfect world and putrid environment such as Nigeria produce a Messiah? What this country needs is its own Moses. An individual who in spite of several character flaws and shortcomings, whether by nature (as man is by nature imperfect) or by nurture (having lived in this foetid society), can still lead us to that land that our natural and human resources, our people’s indefatigable and can-do spirit, has long promised us. Our own long awaited promised land.

We need our own Moses who will deliver the country from enslavement, the common man from oppression and the majority of Nigerians from grinding poverty. Over 133m Nigerians, to be precise. A Moses whose sincerity will be enough to convince Nigerians of all tribe and religion to share in his vision of a prosperous nation. Our very own Moses who will from the get-go establish a culture of fairness and justice, leaving no one guessing where he will stand on matters of truth; insisting always that good is indeed good and bad is actually bad; leading from the front to bring to an end the current trend of the guilty being left to roam free while the innocent are punished.

We need our Moses who will accept nothing short of the use of honest scales, wiping out daylight robbery and the hydra headed corruption which manifests itself in budget padding, inflation of government contracts, the menace of kickbacks and the like. We need a Moses who will take the country to a point of no return, setting the right course for his successors who will eventually usher this nation into its promised land.

Let’s not deceive ourselves, the rot and the degradation done to both the social and economic health of our dear country will take more than the constitutional limit of eight years for one individual to salvage. The damage is deep. We need that Moses who will hang up his boots when his tenure expires and will allow his successor advance the cause of a better Nigeria, baton in hand.

Now, what we do not need are doubters who cannot imagine anything good emanating from this country or traducers who cause us to veer off on an Israelite’s journey. Mba! We refuse to remain in Egypt.

Changing the nation…one mind at a time.