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Emmanuel Onwubiko: The philosophy of leadership

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“…tactics …is only a small part of generalship. For a general must also be capable of furnishing military equipment and providing supplies for the men; he must be resourceful, active, careful, hardy and quick-witted; he must be both gentle and brutal, at once straightforward and designing, capable of both caution and surprise, lavish and rapacious, generous and mean, skilful in defence and attack; and there are many other qualifications, some natural, some acquired, that are necessary to one who would succeed as a general”.

A writer on charismatic leadership once credited the phenomenal successes of leadership to their faith in the Use of Influence, and Not Power.

The writer submits that no one likes a pompous leader. Rather than relying on the shortsighted and limiting power of position, reap the long-term benefits that come from building trust and influence. If you use power, good people will leave you and other people will get you. When you rely on the external power of your leadership position you not only expose weakness in yourself, you build weakness in others by forcing them to acquiesce, stifling their growth and the potential for their unique contribution.

Ultimately, the entire relationship is weakened. Defensiveness ensues, low trust follows, and potential for cooperation is lost—smothered by negative emotion. Fight the imprudent impulse to command, and direct and invest in the higher, more refined skills of finesse, influence, and persuasion.

Patience, finesse, influence, and persuasion are the building blocks of increased impact.

The writer affirmed that leaders promote Daily Progress because leaders are only deemed successful if they get results, and they get those results through working with people. The only way people do great things is by focusing on their strengths and possibilities. Leaders set the stage for this focus. On any given day, your team’s efforts will be influenced by a mix of perceptions, emotions, and motivations that can either pull them to higher performance or drag them down. Setbacks can send team spirit spiraling downward to the point where frustration and disgust take over.

Leaders have tremendous influence in promoting daily progress by ensuring team members have the environment they need to make steady progress and maintain momentum. Avoid the toxicity of high pressure, punitive, and judgmental measures that constrain momentum. Rather, set clear goals for meaningful work. Provide autonomy and promote ownership of the outcomes. Nourish your team’s efforts through affiliation, showing respect, words of encouragement, and minimizing daily hassles.

Charismatic leaders the writer says meticulously builds a Body of Behavior.

Besides the writer says be more of a model than a critic. Eschew the all-too-common “Killer Cs” that will keep you in the weakness of victim mode. Negativity will rob you of energy, initiative, and impact. Avoid these killer Cs: Criticizing; Complaining; Competing; Comparing; Colluding; and Contending.

The authors says don’t ’t criticize. Talk about what went well. Show your team what is possible. Add energy to the context. Be consistent. Your team is faced with being productive in spite of problems and hassles. When they know that they can consistently count on you for support and direction, momentum skyrockets.

Great leaders the author says focuses on What Is Right, Not Who Is Right.

Team members, the author says, rely on leaders to create an environment that is impartial, where everyone has the same opportunities that are based on merit. Don’t take sides. Use conflict to demonstrate your commitment to organizational success. Model a higher perspective that lifts others from their petty preoccupations and carries them above the fray. Be a stronghold trailblazer that guides the upward purpose of your team.

The unique and distinct actions of a leader can create ripples, delivering an ever-increasing impact felt within and among teams. The greatest impact, however, might be a unique and distinct competitive advantage that can be difficult, if not impossible, for others to duplicate. When you employ these seven secrets and increase your leadership impact, you set up your entire organization for success.

The above snippets of phenomenal leadership attributes are from Brian Braudis who is a certified coach, speaker, and author of High Impact Leadership: 10 Action Strategies for Your Ascent, Galloway, New Jersey (www.TheBraudisGroup.com). Jun 27, 2017 | PM MAGAZINE.

The beginning quotation from a book I read long ago that I can’t put my hands on the attribution best describes generalship in every sense of it hence the subject of this article.

Pundits with patriotic flavour have, on numerous occasions, stated that the former Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Yusufu Buratai (rtd.) is a gift to Nigeria. This position is hinged on the exploits of the Nigerian Army under his command in the counter-insurgency operations in North-East Nigeria, as well as the Nigerian Army’ involvement in internal security operations.

The name Ambassador Tukur Yusufu Buratai, Lieutenant General (retd) sure rings a bell in the annals of the country. Take it or leave it, it would continue to resonate for a long time, especially at the mention of the Boko Haram insurgency in the country.

The significance of General Buratai as the 24th Army Chief and the longest-serving in the history of the nation can be primarily conceptualized in the context of his continued achievements in terms of the nation’s security and sovereignty, and the strengthening of the Army to previously unprecedented heights.

Beyond opinions and sentiments, Buratai’s legendary of service critically situates the retired officer and man in the context of his time as an officer and Army Chief and dwells on concrete, clinical evidence of how he has continued to impact the Nigerian polity, and the lengths and limits of his achievements in and out of military uniform.

Ambassador TY Buratai is a former Chief of Army Staff; one that redefined purpose and engagement. He is such a great thinker. One won’t be wrong to regard him as one of the great strategists in the modern-day era because his exploits are legendary especially his desire to transform and enhance operational efficiency in combating insurgency.

Most striking is that as an Ambassador, he is still actively involved in the preservation of the country’s territorial integrity covertly. He may have dropped the uniform, but his contributions to national security and nation building are invaluable. This is a statement of fact, which those in the security and leadership space can attest to.

Only recently, the master strategist canvassed for strong and innovative think thank as a panacea to Nigeria Development during when he identified ignorance, a weak justice system and poor leadership among others as factors responsible for insecurity and other social challenges in the country.

Buratai, Nigeria’s Ambassador to the Republic of Benin, said this at the groundbreaking and fundraising for Tukur Buratai Research Centre (TBRC) at Gora in Nasarawa State.

The former Chief of Army Staff said the Centre would collaborate with the Nasarawa State University, Keffi, in the fields of strategic studies, peace and conflict studies and leadership for development.

He said: “One may want to know why a retired general cum diplomat will decide to collaborate with a university to set up a think-tank like TBRC. Since this is a straight question, I will respond with an answer that is precise and straight to the point.

“My simple philosophy about life is to continue to live a life of value by improving on the system that we have. As someone from the military, I reckoned the best way for me and my associates to add value to our society and make our country better and stronger is through a think-tank like TBRC.’’

Buratai said Nigeria has potential for greatness but there were insufficient capabilities to transfer that potential into socio-economic benefits for the people. According to him, inadequate research and development implementation in Nigeria create a massive void in the nation’s progress.

“When properly focused research and training institutes are established, innovation and development become a natural progressive activity that benefits the nation’s life. In other words, Nigeria gains the ability to develop positively as a result of enhanced study and training.

“Corruption, insecurity due to terrorism and banditry, inadequate infrastructure, issues in governance and an inept educational system are all systemic flaws. With every amount of commitment made to research and training, as well as a strong national orientation one may be confident that we, as a people and a nation, are on the right track.’’

“I would like to utilize this TBRC platform to emphasize that now is the moment for us to turn within and devise home-grown solutions to our unique difficulties,’’ he said.

The ambassador further said that TBRC was his way of contributing to national development and giving back to society through a well-thought-out approach that would have a long-lasting impact on the country.

“As a result of the myriad of socio-economic and political challenges, it may be reasonable to argue that Nigeria can, to a large degree, resolve her development issues through research Buratai said’’

Prof. Suleiman Mohammed, the Vice-Chancellor, Nasarawa State University, said the institute and TBRC had identified their research and development partnership based primarily on security and strategic studies.

“The vision and mission of the Buratai centre align with the university’s policy and strategy for impacting the society. The centre’s motto which is to promote research for leadership and development is a strong statement about the ultimate value of research to impact humanity positively.

“We envisage that the centre will be a hub for cross-fertilization of ideas on security, peace, conflict, leadership and development issues,’’ Mohammed said.

Observably, life has different experiences for different people. Gen. Buratai (Rtd) has proven to be one of the greatest accomplished soldiers, innovators, strategists and conquerors to ever emerge in Nigeria’s recent history of the Army.

Today, the Tukur Buratai Research Centre has once again demonstrated the extent of Gen. Buratai’s desire in the search of peace and security for Nigerians. These aspirations are uncommon in most leaders in our clime. Beyond sentiments, it explains why he stands tall at all times and his name may not fade away anytime soon.

While one may avoid any discussion on the desire and aspirations of Lt Gen TY Buratai, the fact remains that his life as COAS and as a diplomat has became a beacon of hope and practical demonstration of leadership, patriotism, loyalty and defender of the supreme document, the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Many a times, nationalism is understood in a narrow sense to mean one’s loyalty and service to the fatherland, especially involving those serving in the army, risking their lives and defending their fatherland. More than that, Buratai has demonstrated that nationalism also includes civilians who serve with honesty and commitment to the ideals of the land.

This is not borne out of some frenzied outbursts of emotions, but as Adlai Stevenson puts it, “patriotism involves the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime. It consists not in waving the flag, but in striving that the country shall be righteous as well as strong.”

Introspectively, Ambassador TY Buratai’s commitment to nation building and loyalty was recognized when on July 13, 2015, President Muhammadu Buhari appointed him as Chief of Army Staff, which made him the highest military officer of the Nigerian Army, with the statutory responsibility to formulate and execute policies towards the highest attainment of national security and operational competence of the force.

As a patriotic Nigerian and COAS, TY Buratai demonstrated loyalty and kept faith with the relevant provisions of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Section 217 (2) states that the federation shall, subject to an Act of the National Assembly made in that behalf, equip and maintain the armed forces as may be considered adequate and effective for the purpose of defending Nigeria from external aggression, maintaining its territorial integrity and securing its borders from violation on land, sea or air.

In the past beginning with first military intervention in Nigeria on January 15, 1966, it was fashionable to hear and witness coups and counter coups, with reasons such as corruption, abuse of power, nepotism and insecurity. Military interventions became so frequent that Afro-pessimists would say that, “coups were as frequent as breakfast.”

Even the events of military interventions in Zimbabwe, Mali and the Sudan, were enough to sway the COAS to grab power because of man’s insatiable quest for power after power. For TY Buratai however, the constitution as a grundnorm that embodies the laws of the land is sacrosanct.

There is no gain saying that Nigeria was bleeding on all fronts, providing a fertile ground for conspiracy leading ultimately to military intervention to save the ugly trend. The economy was and still structured in favour of few privileged individuals who live in affluence to the detriment of the majority of the people who live in misery and excruciating poverty, laying credence to Roberto Michel’s “Iron Law of Oligarchy,” that played out to ensure a gulf between the rich and the poor in Nigeria.

It is amazing that the institutions of higher learning in Nigeria, with their research centres in a state of being moribund, and hardly provides findings that would address the myriad challenges affecting life across the spectrum. These institutions produce medical doctors, but whenever we are sick, especially those from the political class, embark on medical tourism in foreign countries because in Nigeria, people die of even avoidable disease. Life has lost its value in the country.

Poverty is worn like breastplate in Nigeria, and this inhibits the people from exercising their volition on issues affecting their lives as daily as they live. Nigeria became the official world headquarters of poverty in 2019 based on a report from the World Poverty Clock. The same report predicts that, by the year 2030, more Nigerians would join the league of extremely poor people, making the country a home to the world poorest people.

Nigeria, the most populace nation amongst the black race has been embroiled in brutal campaigns occasioned by Boko-Haram insurgents, and accentuated by the religious extremism of the Islamic State West African Province (ISWAP). Banditry, kidnapping, and armed-robbery attacks have taken the centre stage. Climate change too, has threatened Nigeria’s food security with the consequence of increased forced migration, and rising tensions that trigger conflict, including presently herdsmen attacks nationwide.

For TY Buratai, an enduring solution to the above socioeconomic and political debacles could not be found in the desecration of Nigeria’s democracy, but through dialogue, collaboration and synergy of arms of government, tiers of government and other critical stakeholders.

His stock in trade was not taking to ‘blame-game,’ casting aspersions on other institutions for poor budgetary allocation, corruption, complicity, conspiracies of some stakeholders and the likes. The task before TY Buratai as a nationalist is the decimation of Boko-Haram terrorists and other elements of insecurity in Nigeria to achieve national integration, which he has continued to pursue even after dropping the military gag, evident from the vision and mission of the TBRC.

*EMMANUEL ONWUBIKO is head of the HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA and writes from www.thenigerianinsidernews.com.