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UI SU: WHEN ARE WE GETTING THE BEST?
In the 21st century global society, the impact of the quality of leadership on the level of development of a country cannot be overemphasized. Therefore, it is not surprising that for almost every problem facing Africa today, the poor performance of the leaders is identified as a reason for the problem at hand.
It is often said that every society deserves the kind of leaders bestowed on them. The logic behind this reasoning is that the leaders are chosen from the citizens and thus the leader was once a part of the followers. In Nigeria today, we have heard of leaders who started from humble beginning and when given the mantle of leadership, they fail to perform and improve the standard of living of those they promise to serve.
It is about that time of the session again when students promise heaven and earth to deliver the dividends of democracy to their fellow students in a bid to win seats in the Student Union government. For the freshmen on campus, they might even marvel at how aspirants for different spots greet them at every available opportunity in a bid to win their hearts. For the returning students and the finalists, we have seen it all and some of us have even lost hope about any aspirant making a difference if elected.
Of course, it is easy to criticise when not the one wearing the crown but we have also seen and heard about how students in previous generations made significant impact on the society. The conditions then were even more stringent as the student leaders at that time battled with military government at the top. The question we ask ourselves now is what has changed? A visit to the Student Union Facebook page would make one’s heart sink. Most times, all we read about our union is that they have puppets of politicians in the state and country at large all in a bid to get money from those politicians.
It would be hypocritical if criticisms are made about the Union leaders without also criticising my fellow students. During the recently concluded Presidential and Gubernatorial elections, I witnessed a show of shame among my fellow students which showed that some of us are not different from our Union leaders that we blame. Students were selling their votes to political parties that were ready to pay for as low as N250. One begins to wonder whether the paltry sum collected who last them for four years of misrule that would be perpetrated if power gets in the hand of the wrong set of people. Is it that some of us have lost our sense of reasoning or we are just too short-sighted to realise the folly of our action?
Judging from the situation during the elections, it should not surprise us when our leaders misbehave. After all, the leader was once a follower and no one on earth can give what he/she doesn’t have. The plain truth is that, among us, there are just few quality leaders. The reason for this is not far-fetched. There are few examples of people to emulate in terms of quality leadership. From the religious organisations to the economic and socio-cultural institutions, most of those we emulate are bad examples. For example, a junior clerk working in the civil service may not want to carry out his duties unless bribed by those who need help. The same can be said of some of our religious institution who spew messages of marginalisation against people of other beliefs. Here, I must say that are a whole lot of some other religious organisations who preach messages of unity and love. We can only hope that we emulate the right set of people eventually.
In conclusion, we should not be surprised that the leadership problems that affect the larger society affect this great university as well. After all, the university is a microcosm of the larger society. We can only hope that the change mantra which is the new slogan everywhere will also affect the Student Union of this great University in a positive way.
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