“I have always dreamed about climbing the horse but I never found the courage to do so, and indeed I actually feared doing that. But on a day that the Port Harcourt Polo Club chose to honor my father, High Chief (Dr.) O. B. Lulu-Briggs, I found the courage finally and the opportunity to mount the horse.”
“I thank the Port Harcourt Polo Club for this wonderful honor; not just having named the building after my father, they have also decided to give him double immortalization by renaming the Governor’s cup after him.”
“I’m very excited today; on the next horse with me is a very close friend, a colleague, and major partner in the oil industry, ChuChu (Engr. Chukwudi Dimkpa). I see old friends, members of the public, and people who love Port Harcourt here, and it’s really a moment to cherish and keep throughout life. I thank Port Harcourt Polo Club for the great honor.”
It was indeed a great day that will stay in memory forever. God bless Rivers State.

Thanks to God

I give thanks to God for the success of my father’s burial and I am very grateful to everyone from all over the world who one way or another made the burial a success.
There were a lot of talks before we even started, and of course there were also a lot of prayers. The story of the family was everywhere and it looked like it was never going to happen. Remember, our father past on at least some two years and few months ago and we just buried him on the 13th of March. So it seemed impossible. It looked like there was a lot of crisis in the family and we couldn’t put the finger on what was going on. But when you know how to pray and invite God into all your affairs, His grace and mercy shall always be sufficient. And that was sufficient, we were able to give our father a befitting passage.
I will of course express my gratitude to everyone in a more elaborate and comprehensive manner but while that waits let me use this medium to say thank you to my beloved Abonnema people, my respected Chiefs, my dear family members; women, men, young boys and girls who all through the weeks participated in all the cultural and customary activities to mark the glorious passing of our beloved Opuda. May God bless you immensely.
I will remain ever grateful to the First Family, His Excellency President Muhammadu Buhari and his beloved wife Her Excellency Mrs. Aisha Muhammadu Buhari who was represented by the wife of my good friend and brother the former Governor of Bayelsa State and current Minister of state for petroleum, His Excellency Timi Sylva; to the former president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan and his loving wife Dame Patience Goodluck Ebele Jonathan and to the ever vibrant Governor of our loving Rivers State, His Excellency Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike and members of his Cabinet and other government officials who accompanied him to honor my father.
Thank you to all the clergymen, members of the bar, political leaders, elder statesmen, Royal Highnesses, the media, the general public and of course members of the Central Burial Committee who put in their very best to ensure that we achieved success.
May God bless everyone in Jesus name.


My father had a tough life; he never had a formal education all his life but grew to become what he was. And it gladdens our heart to know that when affluence came he embraced the world with the warmth of that affluence, and he gave like giving was out of fashion. And he would always say to you “to thyself always be true, and as day follows night that which will be will be”. He taught me that love is not an exchange, so you don’t love because you expect to be loved in return. Love is an act of faith; you just do it because you have to do it expecting nothing in return. You are doing it because you believe in God. And from my father’s story it is very clear that your background is not the reason you back is on the ground; you can always get moving.
So, on behalf of the Lulu-Briggs family, I thank all of us who are seated here; traditional rulers who are here that have come from Bakassi in Cross/Rivers State, friends of my father who came from Plateau State, the former Governor, Dr. Peter Odili and all those who spoke glowingly of our father; one of my teachers that I have tremendous respect for, O. C. J. Okocha, my friend Senator Magnus Abe, the choirs, the orchestra, Oma Pitch, Mercy Chinwo and all of the wonderful and respectable personalities who came to honor my father today, we can’t thank you enough but I will still say thank you so much on behalf of the Lulu-Briggs family.
My younger sister Rachael is here and she spoke very glowingly and I will like to say that we are a family; we want to be a family with everybody, with our stepmother and with all. There is nothing that has happened that we shall allow it to define us. The life of our father must be the only mirror through which we see the world. He was a very forgiving person; a very loving person and so we forgive ourselves and all of us. We pray that we keep the flag flying and that we do not bury the Lulu-Briggs family with our dearly departed father. So, we must come together; we need all your prayers. Thank you and God bless us all.
Chief Dumo O. B. Lulu-Briggs


Today was an eventful day. It started gracefully with an Art Exhibition at the Ebitimi Banigo Hall and ended gloriously with an evening of Tributes, Music, and Drama at the University’s Convocation Arena. The awesome words, the soul-lifting songs, and the dramatic performances all made it wonderful and memorable.
I thank the University of Port Harcourt, the Vice-Chancellor of the school Prof. Stephen Okodudu and the various respectable former Vice-Chancellors including Emeritus Prof. Nimi D. Briggs, OON, 5th VC of the school; Prof. Don Baridam, 6th VC; Prof. Joseph A. Ajienka, 7th VC of the school and the Registrar for the great honor done a great man; my father today. This institution has always shown a sense of oneness with my family; truly, the school has always appreciated my family. And in keeping faith in the legacies of my father, I will also be a friend in need with the school.
God bless you all.

May be an image of 3 people, people standing, indoor and text


It was very solemn.
Today, without formal ceremonies or celebrations, the Young Briggs House of Abonnema placed me on the century-old Young Briggs stool and presented me to the Oruwari War Canoe House of Abonnema as the Ini-ikeiroari VI. My presentation to the Abonnema Council of Chiefs shall take place soon by the grace of God. The formal ceremonies shall also take place after we have laid my father, the Ini-ikeiroari V, and Paramount Head of the Oruwari War Canoe House of Abonnema to rest early next year. A date shall be announced soon. By the special grace of God, the process of uniting the Oruwari House and Abonnema in general has started in earnest.
I am grateful to God for his enduring grace and blessings. And I am delightedly thankful to my family Chiefs, men, women, and youths who have demonstrated their invaluable confidence in me. I pray for God’s divine wisdom and mercy as I commit myself earnestly to the task of offering sincere and productive leadership for the good of my people, to the service of mankind, and to the glory of God.

BBC Governorship Debate Rivers State



‘‘I’m in this race to pursue the aspirations of the people of Rivers State who yearn for a truly representative government.’’

‘‘I want to be known as Mr. Jobs, not Mr. Projects. I want to be judged by the number of Rivers people that will have been taken out of poverty into prosperity.’’

‘‘My vision for Rivers State is a state with well-appointed multiple cities that boosts of peace and security, good roads, and an efficient transportation network.’’

‘‘My vision for Rivers State is that of a developed and modern state globally recognized as a primary destination for business, residence and tourism in Africa.’’

‘‘I am bringing credibility, rationality and civility to governance.’’

‘‘The Innovation Triangle” – a revolutionary job creation approach – is a synergistic ‘coitus’ of Government, Business Community and Academia. We will use ‘The Innovation Triangle’ strategy to create a jobs revolution in Rivers State.’’

– Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs


For these and more, listen to Accord Party Gubernatorial Candidate in Rivers State, Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs, tomorrow, at BBC News Pidgin Gubernatorial Debate in Rivers State.

See details on the flier.

#BBCGovDebate #RiversDecides2019 #DumoLuluBriggs #MrJobs #MrJobsNotMrProjects  #DumoDoMore #Dumo2019


Beloved brothers and sisters of the All Progressives Congress, Rivers State, I greet you with mixed feelings, as I write these lines to accordingly Express a hard decision.

Yes, hard decision because I formally joined you in April last year and you received me with warmth and love. You made me feel at home, and we worked hard as a family to reposition the party and stabilize our leader, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, who was then under tremendous pressure. We quickly rolled up our sleeves and labored behind our leader and with you.

Inspired by the leader’s claim to equity, justice, and fair-play we inconvenienced ourselves to ensure success and our beloved All Progressives Congress became bigger and stronger. The claim by the leader that Rivers State should be governed at this time by someone of riverine extraction was believed to be a sincere and patriotic position. Hence we encouraged the membership to follow wholeheartedly.

For those who know Dumo Lulu Briggs intimately, I am an unrepentant team player who puts group interest over self. We didn’t walk the streets because we were idle, we were not insulted because we were hated; instead, we did because sacrifices were required to liberate our state.

Our loyalty to the leader and party was total as is necessary for Party Democracy to thrive. As you all know, the principles of loyalty and fidelity demand justice for all. “To lead and we follow” must always bear the supposition of truth, equity, and justice.

We need to create a Rivers State of expanding opportunities and citizen responsibility. A State growing in diversity and in the bonds of love and ONENESS. Therefore, nothing must be allowed to threaten our sense of a common future.

The facts are known, we took steps to protect the party from sliding into a personal estate, if the PDP in Rivers State is owned by a strong man and our leader in the APC by default becomes a feudal lord, then our state is doomed. I have nothing personal to lose or gain, but we have all to lose if in a democracy we allow the aberration of overlords, hence my decision. While we were together I enjoyed your comradeship and so find it hard to leave, yet, men of conscience would when necessary overlook personal sentiments and emotions.

I am 100% Rivers just as you and so I trust that we shall keep our friendship and possibly realign if and when we feel the need. I bear no grudge or malice and I implore that you take none toward me, what is obvious is that I have to continue my quest to help liberate our state by advancing my vision on another platform.

I take from the experience valuable lessons, and from you, I took warm memories. I pray that God keeps us healthy and able to rescue Rivers State and elect a governor who will give Rivers people quality leadership and service.

Once again, I reiterate that it is about Rivers people and my doors are open, praying that we find ourselves in ONE ACCORD.

God bless us all.

I am ceaselessly yours,
Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs


Saturday, July 7, was a remarkable day for young people in Port Harcourt, the Rivers state capital, as Rivers born renowned statesman and leading political figure, Chief Barr. Dumo Lulu-Briggs, appeared as the guest of honour at a Leaders Lounge, hosted by Sterling Toastmaster Club, Port Harcourt.

The theme for the epic event at the Leaders lounge was: “The Leadership challenge” and Chief Barr. Dumo Lulu-Briggs, himself a distinguished lawyer, a business mogul, a technocrat, a politician and philanthropist, did adequate justice to the topic in his capacity as keynote speaker.

Chief Barr. Dumo Lulu-Briggs was called upon to impart knowledge and wisdom into the life of those present, especially the young people and share highly inspiring experiences from his very robust life as Legal luminary, corporate mogul, entrepreneur and philanthropist, and he did not disappoint his listeners.

In his keynote address titled ‘The Leadership Challenge’, DLB, as he is fondly addressed, posited that the most important and and yet difficult of all questions that people are often faced with is: ‘What is leadership?’. According to him, this is due to the fact that there is no general consensus on what makes a leader, what constitutes the qualities of a leader, if leaders are born or made, the context of leadership and who determines the direction of leadership.

In trying to explain who a leader is He was quick to point out that his talk would dwell basically on political leadership and governance and in that light, referenced the former EFCC Chairman Mrs. Farida Waziri, who said that, ‘a leader is one who is involved in the activity of leading others’ and ‘a leader is one who fosters change and not necessarily one who holds a leadership position’.

He then stated that:
• Leadership is concerned with fostering change.
• Leadership is inherently value-based.
• All people are potential leaders.
• Leadership is a group process.

According to him, the UNDP defines governance as the exercise of economic, political and administrative authority to manage a country’s affairs at all levels. It comprises the mechanisms, processes and institutions through which citizens and groups articulate their interests, exercise their legal rights, meet their obligations and mediate their differences.

He further noted that good governance had three legs: economic, political and administrative.

Economic governance includes decision-making processes that affect a country’s economic activities and its relationships with other economies.

Political governance is the process of decision-making to formulate policy. Administrative governance is the system of policy implementation.

He then summarized the qualities of a leader, referencing the book: The Leadership Challenge, written by James Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner and first published in 1987, which highlights the five core practices common to all leaders, and while suggesting that though some of the aspects may thrive well in the corporate space, a good leader must necessarily:

– Model the Way: where the leader creates standards of excellence and then set an example for others to follow;

– Inspire a Shared Vision: where the leader passionately believes that he can make a difference and envisions the future, creating an ideal and unique image of what the organization can become, even as he enlists and inspires others to key into the vision and dreams, through his magnetism and quiet persuasion;

– Challenge the Process: where the leaders search for opportunities to change the status quo and look for innovative ways to improve the organization by experiments and risks taking, which may involve mistakes, failures and the inevitable disappointments, which eventually serve as learning opportunities.;

– Enable Others to Act: where the leaders foster collaboration and build spirited teams, actively involve others and strive to create an atmosphere of trust and human dignity, strengthen others and make each person feel capable and powerful;

– Encourage the Heart: where leaders recognize contributions that individuals make, rewards their effirts, celebrate accomplishments and make people feel like heroes.

Going further on the concept of leadership, Chief DLB said: ‘leadership is a people and value based activity, leadership is dependent on followership. Leadership is contextual because it varies across situations, cultures and societies. All situations do not, will not and cannot require the same leadership patterns, there is no one-size-fits-all leadership.

He further maintained that the problem of Nigeria is not leadership. It is rather the lack of leadership and the attitude of people being led. In his words, ‘Leadership plays a role in the advancement of every human society. It is an indicator of progress or the absence of it’.

Laying emphasis on the necessity of attaining leadership at a personal level before advancing to any other level because the foundation of leadership is to lead one’s self first, he noted that the importance of attaining personal leadership cannot be overemphasized because, however good a political leadership may be, if personal leadership is poor, political leadership will not make much difference.

At the close of his speech, he admonished his audience saying,

‘Let us be driven by our convictions and not by our fears! Let us decide to do only what is right! The time is now!!!’

The Leaders Lounge event had started with the call to order and introduction of the President, Toast Master Otobore Olumoye, by the Sergeant at arms,Toastmaster Monima Georgewill. The president in turn gave the welcome remarks and introduced the Toastmaster topic of the day and also the word of the day which was: EPITOME
The event was anchored by Toastmaster Nkwachukwu Njoku, who led the national pledge and the Toastmaster promise, introduced his team and invited each member to explain their roles.

Prepared speeches were given by Toastmaster Monima Georgewill on FAILURE IS SUCCESS and Toastmaster Otobore Olumoye on WHAT HAPPENED TO YOU?

The table topics which came next was anchored by the Toastmaster Nkwachukwu Njoku who called upon members of the audience to address the topics.
The table topics handled today are:
-Leadership is a challenge that is enormous unlike any other challenge of life.
-Oprah Winfrey once said, “Excellence is the antidote to racism and sexism.
-You don’t have to be great to get started,you have to get started to be great.
-Man must put an end to war or war will put an end to man.
-Life is sweet. The purpose of life is defined by you. True or not???

The audience, including the highly cerebral and well respected legal luminary, Barr. Zubby Nwuke, did exceptionally well in addressing these table topics, which they discussed extempore.

This was then followed by the Leaders Lounge Keynote address and a special, no-holds-barred, interactive session where Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs not only discussed his humble beginnings as a child in the heart of old Port Harcourt town, but also offered very useful and illuminating insights, tips and admonitions on leadership and governance, business successes and philosophy of life and living.

The highlight of the event was when the Special Guest, Chief Barr. Dumo Lulu-Briggs offered to sponsor 20 females and 10 males to be members of the Toastmasters club. The club executives were sincerely grateful and expressed their profound gratitude.

The Port Harcourt Hall of Hotel Presidential, Poŕt-Harcourt, where the event was hosted, was filled to the brim with an enthusiatic crowd of mostly young people and was attended by some distinguished guests from the corporate, academic and business circles; including; Mr. Aderemi Akeem, Dr. Ikedife Uba, Mr. Precious Tamunotonye Batubo, Mrs Oby Njoku, Mr Solomon Ikegwuru, Mr Adamu Yusuf Muhammad, Mrs May Ikpeme and Mr Tiamiyu Kehinde Akeem, amongst others.

Toastmasters club was founded by Ralph .C. Smedley in Illinois, USA. It was borne out of the desire to teach men how to speak, conduct meetings, plan programmes and work in committees. It was established on October 22, 1924 with Ralph .C. Smedley as both the President and Secretary. It has its headquarters in California, USA.
The Sterling Toastmasters club is Located in Port Harcourt, Rivers State and holds her meeting in Hotel Presidential on the 1st and 3rd Fridays of every month. The essence of this club is to equip people with leadership and communication skills. The club encourages people to speak and communicate effectively with people in their environment.

For us young people, who witnessed the event, it was an amazing experience to encounter a man like Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs, whose personality has become legendary as the epitome of a highly successful corporate mogul and yet was filled with so much humilty and exuded so much simplicity that was simply breathtaking as he mingled with everybody and told his touching life story of ‘rags to riches’ with candour, honesty and heartfelt sincerity.

It was a wonderful learning curve for us to finally come face to face with the mercurial and quintessential Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs, at the Leadership Lounge, all thanks to Sterling Toast Masters Club, Port Harcourt.

~ Isosiya Benson and Salome Chiboka



On the 7th of July, 2018; at The Sterling Toasmasters Leaders Lounge, Port Harcourt.

Ladies and gentlemen good afternoon. All protocols observed.

I imagine that those who put the topic together want me to give honest answers to the tough questions arising from the challenges of leadership. However, while my answers are honest, I have more questions than answers. Really tough questions. By this I mean it was easier to come up with questions than it was to answer them. Be that as it may, I will in the course of my discussion try to provide some answers to the questions posed by the leadership challenge, by providing some context to the challenges of leadership.

To do this, my presentation will be in three parts. In the first part we will look at leadership to try to give meaning to it, part two will examine leadership at the political level. In the third part, I will present what some researchers have identified as the practices of effective leaders, then I will conclude.

1. What is leadership?
It would perhaps be best to start with what I consider the most important and hardest question of all. What is leadership? And, who is a leader? This is because, if we do not know the answers, we will not be able to identify a leader when one comes along, or worse still, we will fail to lead if the need arises because we do not know what it involves. With leadership, there are no simple answers here.

The Advanced English Dictionary defines leadership as: 1. the activity of leading and 2. the body of people who lead a group. While most discussions on leadership tend to focus on the second meaning, the first is perhaps the more relevant one for this discussion. As such, I am going to wrap the two in one to mean leadership is the “activity that involves a body/group of people leading another group of people or leading the rest of the people”. This means, the leader is the one who leads people. But is this all there is to leadership? I think not!

The whole concept of leadership and identifying leaders, is challenging because there does not appear to be agreement about “who a leader is, what constitute leadership, the qualities of a good leader, whether leaders are born or made/trained. Everybody seem to have a different notion of leadership and who a leader is. The definition above for example, does not tell us why one group is qualified to lead the other, neither where they are leading the other group to, nor are we able to tell how to conclude if the leadership is good or bad. Similarly, why should the group being led follow the leader? Should followers just go ahead and follow their leaders? If not, how can they determine when or not to follow?

Who determines the direction in which the leadership should take the followers? The leader or the followers? If we say the leader, it will presume the followers lack the capacity to determine the direction they want or have to go that is why they need leaders. This cannot be correct, because a leader has to have a follower to be a leader. Else we will be implying that leadership and leaders exist in and of themselves. Arising from this question is another one. Is leadership contextual? That is, does leadership vary across the different sectors of society and the diverse professions? If yes, this will mean there is no leader or leadership style that is fit for all situations.

All these and more is what I believe constitute the “leadership challenge”. The leadership challenge must consider the qualities that define a leader, so we recognise one when we see her/him or know when a leader is succeeding in leading or failing to lead.

I agree with Farida Waziri (2009) that the “leader” is that “one who fosters change”, and not necessarily those who hold formal “leadership” positions. Therefore, we are or will be leaders at some point, time and place. Because leadership is the act of leading people, it is inherently a people and value-based activity. A value based leadership must involve the people being led.

So permit me to ask you the following questions at a personal leadership level.
● What are the most important decisions you make as a leader?
● How do you encourage creative thinking around you?
● Which is most important to you as a person – mission, core values or vision?
● How do you communicate your “core values”?
● How do you encourage others around you to communicate these “core values”?
● How do you ensure your organization or the activities around you are aligned with your “core values”?
● When faced with two equally-qualified candidates, how do you determine whom to hire?
● What is one characteristic that you believe every leader should possess?
● Is this found in you? The reason this should be found in you is that you, and indeed all of us, are leaders.
● What do you consider the biggest challenge facing leaders today?
● What is one mistake you witness leaders making more frequently than others?
● What is the one behavioural trait that you have seen derail more leaders’ careers?
● What are a few resources you would recommend to someone looking to gain insight into becoming a better leader?
● Why is credibility “the foundation of leadership”?

When you consider these questions, if you find either that you have not given thought to these before or you realize that you come short on the yardstick you use to judge others in similar positions, then it is indicative that you have not prepared yourself for leadership at the personal level. This is perhaps why it is difficult to effectively judge leadership by others; we do not have the right values or parameter to judge them. The absence of leadership at the personal level is what manifests as failure/absence of leadership at the societal and national level.

The sum of what I have tried to highlight in this section is that we are all leaders, because leaders are those who foster change. This is the foundation of leadership that involves leading others.

2. Political Leadership
Because most time when we discourse leadership it is in the context of political leadership, I will shift my attention to that now. I am sure if I were to ask, “what is the problem with Nigeria or Rivers State since all politics is local”? most of us will say Leadership! And I agree only to the extent that when we say “leadership” we actually mean lack of leadership. But when we say the problem with Nigeria is leadership, I must ask, what do we mean by leadership in the political setting or context? Above, we have said leadership is the “activity that involves a body/group of people leading another group of people”.

But we also asked if leadership is contextual, i.e. if there is a “one size fits all” kind of leadership. There cannot be a “one size fits all” kind of leadership as the context of leadership varies. The story of Churchill is perhaps a good example of the contextual nature of leadership to illustrate this. This former British Prime Minister demonstrated remarkable success in global leadership during World War II which was in stark contrast to the lacklustre results of his earlier leadership on domestic issues. This was largely because the war context demanded the ability to negotiate among conflicting global political interests, a context the domestic situation at the time did not afford him.

All situations do not, will not and cannot require the same leadership approach or personality. Therefore, when we say the problem with Nigeria is leadership it cannot be the same thing we have discussed up to this point, i.e. an “activity that involves a body/group of people leading another group of people”. A lot of us may disagree with this but we shall see why this is so shortly.

But let us first get some perspective of history to help us understand why leadership and the attitude of those being led is Nigeria’s problem. The history of Nigeria from independence, in particular from the very first military coup of 1966, is a history in the search for effective political leadership, the absence of which has been the bane of our development as a nation. From a generation of brilliant, job-discriminating Nigerians, we have plummeted to a generation of unemployed and unemployable Nigerians. How did we get here? Lack of leadership, which includes you, going by our earlier definition. I am therefore inclined to agree with Babalobi’s (2018) conclusion that the “real issue in our leadership challenge is not a Northern/Southern; Christian/Muslim; or Igbo/Yoruba/Hausa President nor is it restructuring, insurgency/militancy or corruption, but the dearth of selfless and visionary leadership” and I add, the attitude of the led.

But we were once on the path to greatness when we had leaders in the likes of Chief Obafemi Awolowo at the helm of affairs in the West; Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe in the East and Sir Ahmadu Bello in the North. These men dreamt great dreams for their regions, and we saw the results. We saw the economic boom. We also once had a Murtala Ramat Muhammed, the six months head of state, who in the short time he occupied the office dared what others couldn’t and haven’t dared to dream. We may have forgotten, but Abuja was his dream.

“Every great achievement is a dream before it becomes reality,” said Henry Kissinger, while reviewing the transformation that Singapore had become. “Singapore’s amazing rags-to-riches story is the story of one man’s vision, and his tenacity in pursuing it to fruition”. Countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia and many others that were at the same development level with Nigeria in the 60’s during the peak of decolonisation process have since gone ahead on the human, material and infrastructural development scales.

Leadership plays a key role in the advancement or decay of any human society. It is the foundation that determines progress or the absence of it. It is not the absence of resources that hinders growth or the age of a Nation that determines growth, it is the absence of leadership and I must add the attitude of the people who are led. “Countries like Egypt and India are 2,000 years old but are said to be poor countries, whereas Canada and New Zealand which were insignificant 200years ago are developed and rich countries today.” It also does not depend on the availability of natural resources but human resources. “Japan, for instance has a small, mountainous territory, unsuitable for even agriculture or farming” but it is about the 3rd in world’s economy. She imports raw materials from all over the world and exporting manufactured products. Switzerland does not grow cocoa but produces the best chocolates in the world. At the local level, Lagos and Rivers States were at par at the birth of the 4th Republic in 1999. Lagos had sea ports, we had sea ports, they have domestic and international airports just like us but we had two refineries, aplenty oil and gas which they don’t have, and by military decree, all the multinational oil and gas companies had their headquarters in Port Harcourt. Also, unlike us, in 1999, Lagos State was bedevilled by all manner of security issues as armed robberies, kidnappings and assassinations were almost hourly occurrences at the time PH was the garden city and the State of security and hospitality. I won’t dwell on that today; it was just an appropriate example.

Political leadership is about governance. The UNDP defines governance as the “exercise of economic, political and administrative authority to manage a country’s affairs at all levels. It comprises the mechanisms, processes and institutions through which citizens and groups articulate their interests, exercise their legal rights, meet their obligations and mediate their differences”.

Because governance comprises the operational space (mechanisms, processes and institutions) through which citizens articulate their interests, rights and obligations and, mediate their differences, we should understand that governance is the exercise of authority on behalf of a people. Since governance is what political leadership is all about, we may also conclude that political leadership is not just about leading a group of people from one place to another but the “mediation of the operational space to reduce the interpersonal frictions that will certainly arise as citizens pursue and actualize their personal interests, rights and obligations”. This is saying that political leadership should guarantee for every citizen both the freedom and capacity to undertake their legitimate pursuits. Abraham Lincoln said governments“ have to lift artificial weights from the shoulders of men and clear the paths of laudable pursuits for all, to afford all, an unfettered start and a fair chance, in the race of life.”

It therefore follows that we have a yardstick for assessing governance as good or bad. Good governance is among other things, participatory, transparent and accountable. The UNDP will further add that it is also effective and equitable, by ensuring that the voices of the poorest and the most vulnerable are heard in decision-making over the allocation of resources. The standard of good governance therefore becomes the yardstick to benchmark political leadership as good or bad.

But let us go back for a moment to leadership at the individual level. Of the three aspects of governance (economic, political and administrative) defining the processes and structures that guide political and socio-economic relationships, let us consider economic governance for a moment since it has major implications for the quality of life and wellbeing of all. I want to encourage us to assume more actively economic leadership at a very personal level, in line with my earlier comment that we are all leaders.

If, at the individual economic level, we all act to bring about changes, we will be leading. “We have nothing with which to bring about any change” some might say. But I disagree. Essentially, because vision is as fundamental to leadership as integrity. I will argue that we all have vision of how we will like our lives to be. Then you have the first element to changing your quality of life, the first element of leadership at the personal level. Please note that however good the political leadership may be, if the leadership at the personal level is poor, political leadership will not make a lot of difference. We can therefore, not afford to be deficient in the mentality and courage necessary to pursue our aspirations as individuals and as a people. Even when God promised the people of Israel Canaan, they had to go through the wilderness to get there. Attitude at the personal level is key.

However, at the societal level, I agree with many who argue that deficit of political leadership will manifest in worsening conditions of living of the citizenry. Jide Osuntokun, Haruna Wando (2017) says “Leadership plays a pivotal role in a nation’s descent into failure and collapse. The result of failed leadership is that governments are unable to set in place transparent and accountable institutions capable of securing economic progress, governing effectively, and protecting their citizens. This lack of capacity creates opportunities for corrupted elites to model the state to serve their narrow interests, instead of the interests of the citizens. In addition, it provides an opening for political upheavals and crisis, situations that other states, non-state actors, and criminals seek to fill with violent, hostile, or illicit acts. According to Reuben Abati, our “sensibilities have been inured by too much familiarity with tragedy.” But we have to rise above collective trauma, we have to rise above the weight of our history. It is time for us to engineer in a generation, the transition of a people, from poverty to prosperity. The political debate must not spiral into acrimony and paralysis according to Barack Obama.

3. Leadership Practices
Let me conclude by mentioning the five practices of exemplary leadership as identified by Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner (2012). The activities listed here are more in line with corporate and political leadership than for leadership at the personal level. However, if you begin by practicing them, it is likely you will rise to the top of corporate and political leadership.

These practices are:
a) Model the Way
b) Inspire a Shared Vision
c) Challenge the Process
d) Enable Others to Act
e) Encourage the Heart

Model the Way refers to the most fundamental way in which leaders earn and sustain credibility. They do what they say they will do. The two parts to this practice require leaders to model behaviour effectively, by clarifying their values. A leader must first find his/her own voice and then clearly and distinctively express their values to everyone around them.

The second practice is to Inspire a Shared Vision. This also is a two-part practice. The first requires leaders to envision the future by imagining and believing in an exciting, highly attractive future for the organization, which they are confident can come true. An exemplary leader is exceptionally good at imagining a future that does not yet exist. The second part of this practice demands leaders share with or enlist others in vision. In order to do this, the leader has to convince people that they understand their needs and value them. Leadership is a dialogue, not a monologue. You must have intimate knowledge of people’s dreams, hopes, aspirations, visions, and values.

The third practice is to Challenge the Process. Most leadership challenges involve a
change in the status quo. All leaders therefore must challenge the current process. The first step in doing this is to search for opportunities to innovate, grow, and improve. This search comes from listening to people around you, and people on the front lines. You must constantly look outside yourself and your organization for new products, processes, and services. The second part of challenging the existing process is to experiment and take risks, despite the possibility of failure. Good leaders look for small victories that can build confidence in their team. Each small win builds confidence in long-term success. Failure is also a valuable learning experience.

The fourth practice is to Enable Others to Act. Success requires a team effort. It requires group collaboration and individual accountability. Enabling others to act entails two things: First, foster collaboration and build trust. Engage all those who must make the project work, including peers, managers, customers, clients, and suppliers. Second, make it possible for others to do good work. Strengthen others by increasing self-determination and developing competence. Good leaders do not hoard power. They give it away.

The fifth practice is to Encourage the Heart. This refers to genuine acts of caring to uplift the spirits of the people on the team. First, recognize contributions. Show appreciation for individual excellence. For example, write a personal note rather than send an e-mail. Second, celebrate values and victories through creating a spirit of community. For example, establish a public recognition program that rewards performance. This serves to align behaviour with the cherished values expressed at the outset.

4. Conclusion
We need leaders with integrity at all levels of leadership. A leadership that is visionary, inspired and driven by ideas. But most fundamentally, we need a political leadership that has the people’s mandate; that is sensitive to the yearnings and aspirations of the people. A leadership that is accountable and abide by due process. A leadership that renews itself on such social categories as workers, youth, and women. Unless we begin to rethink the leadership question we may not be able to meet the challenges of the twenty-first century. The time is now. We can resist invading armies, we cannot resist an invasion of ideas. Let us live in the inspirations of the pressing needs of this present time. “Margaret Thatcher who was most reluctant to wear trousers, nevertheless did so when she knew she would have to climb a ladder.” Let’s be driven by our convictions and not our fears. And the Lord of our weary years and our silent tears, shall answer our cry.

The most important thing I meant to say is THANK YOU and GOD BLESS.