“Without self-discipline, your streams of grace become a flood of disgrace.” – Israelmore Ayivor
Unfortunately, the avoided history has repeated itself!
However, what makes history repeat itself is not in isolation of failure of a leadership to learn from past mistake(s) as registered in history, even in memory. No matter how well an administration might have started and run thus far, the end always crowns the beginning, whether it set off on a good note or not is never a concern for a momentous end. Hence, the maxim: the end justifies the means (how it started).
Contrary to contextualization of leadership in Nigeria, inclusive of the grass root level as the case may be, leadership is more than what to gain? Or just the benefits or advantages that accrue from being a leader. Leadership is not about the leader(s) but the people who are being led. It is, therefore, the question of what will people say after your departure as leader(s). Or what would posterity heard or read of your leadership?
Note, as a leader, your beginning would not be told or heard by posterity, but how honourably you bowed out. In short, the ugly fact is that leadership in Nigerian context is an avenue to make name for oneself and pursue self-goals and less about the people. It is a vehicle of greediness and limitless ambitions. Consequently, a leader hardly muster or earn trust, loyalty and absolute commitment of his cabinet, when egocentrism is the drive of his leadership instead of the comfortableness of those he leads. Hence, in Nigerian context of leadership, you find cabinet of a leader lying waste like a loose thread.
Nevertheless, maybe the end of the ancient Israel king, Saul as recounted in the Christian scripture and also the ugly departure of other like-minded contemporary leaders is not enough a lesson for leaders still sprouting like bud of a flower. These are men who in most case started on a good note, had the people’s best in mind but ended up in a household of disappointing the people, all because they navigated the wrong path of a fork. Maybe the exit or bow out of Sustainability Team, another leadership, which would be subsequently recounted will hopefully remind the coming H.O.P.E Team to set their path straight, even till the sun of their tenure eventually set.
Traditionally, in many student associations in University of Ibadan, particularly, Nigerian Universities Education Student Association (NUESA), as we all know, Dinner comes last of the notable events that featured an administration. In the same way, Royal Gala, as the Dinner was tagged, came last of the notable events that featured the Sustainability administration of NUESA. However, what can be said of Sustainability Team after their departure? Was it a momentous one that put into consideration “giving educators the best” of their departing savour?
Well, these questions would later be tend to after glancing back at how Sustainability Team set off on the course of their tenure while considering notable events that unfolded then. As matter of fact, they started well considering some events they facilitated in conjunction with the Faculty of Education Management. Notable among them is the personality lecture in commemoration of UI@70 that brought the Senior Special Adviser to the President on Diaspora and Foreign Affairs (SSAFD), Hon. Arike Dabiri-Arewa to University of Ibadan on Monday, 29th of October, 2018 as guest lecturer of the event.
In the last three years, packages received from NUESA are known to be of low quality and not worth the monetary amount that was paid by the recipients. The era of Reformation Team of NUESA in 2015/2016 led by Akinwande Kazeem shared mere sticker and constitution as package asides the shirt, which washed off and shrunk in less than few months of use. Also, the era of Legacy Team of NUESA in 2016/2017 led by Awonusi Orimidara shared a small size (probably irrelevant) bucket. However, the Ogbonnaya Uchechukwu led Sustainabilty Team of 2017/2018 NUESA administration is commendable to some extent as many will agree, in that the package which was paid for and received by educators, particularly, the shirt and book were admirable and of good quality, though the side/cross bag was not satisfactory in some people’s opinion. Without an iota of reservation, in the last three years and probably four years or more, this is the most remarkable package ever received.
On the questions asked earlier on the nature of Sustainability Team departure, sadly, the honest answer to the pending question is that: the avoided history has finally repeated itself! Leadership of greed, lack of discipline and cabinet like a loose thread have eventually come to play. The ominous sound playing in the background of the aforementioned remarkable events and effort to “give educators the best” as always claimed, came to lime light at the Royal Gala, particularly, in the way the event was terribly handled and how educators were cast the feelings of fools, who paid for copper but received stone unknowingly. This really contradicts the claimed intention of Sustainability Team to “give educators the best” as always explicitly stated in their broadcasts and press releases, particularly, in the broadcast announcing the date of Royal Gala, the last notable event that marked the exit of Sustainability Team. It was there the Ogbonnaya Uchechukwu (Uchman) led 2017/2018 NUESA administration bit off more than it can chew.
STORY OF THE ROYAL GALA
At the Royal gala, which occurred on Wednesday, 17th of April, 2019 many events which unfolded are nothing to write home about for an overnight dinner that was overemphasized or hyped with publicity and carried on in every talk in the nook and cranny of Ibadan, as though a blue moon will appear. Unfortunately, the Sustainability Team reneged on the promised intended best expectation of the event.
This began with the uneventful Royal Gala that was bored with lack of time management, which is quite evident in the testimonies of attendees, who noted on their WhatsApp status were feeling “sleepy” and bored as the event was yet to kick off around 12am on Thursday, 18th April, 2019, the following day. Significantly, according to an attendee on his WhatsApp status at exactly 1:43am, “The only reason I am not asleep now is because my phone is still on”, otherwise, as inferred from his statement, he would rest his head on the empty table while he slept with unfed belly. About an hour twenty minutes later, the same individual again commented on his status that “This dinner did not want to be sweet but it must be sweet by fire by force”, which simply expresses the boredom that the hyped Royal Gala cast on the attendee(s).
Another burden laid on the expected eventful Royal Gala was lack of discipline of the dinner committee and Sustainability Team, who are responsible for the excess of the event ticket that was either sold or freely given out of sentiment. Because obviously, anyone that was at the dinner can objectively testify that the number of attendees out rightly overridden the plan or preparation made for the event. According to an educator present at the event, “…the organiser knew many ticket were in circulation, but didn’t make sitting and feeding arrangement with that in mind…” Without exaggeration, it was like filling a cup of 0.5 litre with 1 litre of liquid content.
As reported, some people had no chair to seat. In fact, each of the tables initially set for about eight seats later grew in number ranging from ten seats to about fourteen. According to an attendee while expressing her displeasure in an interview, “the hall was not sufficient for the massive number of people that showed up.” It is, therefore, apparent they called more than they could cater for. Hence, Sustainability Team and the dinner committee bit off more than they could chew, and consequently, their sustainability could not rescue them from indigestion or throwing up. An unfortunate incident which Yoruba would describe as “omí pò jú okà lo” – meaning the event was out of hand. Really, the avoided history repeated itself at Royal Gala: as similar incident happened during such last notable event that featured Awonusi Orimidara led Legacy Team.
This virtue (discipline) lack by the concerned individuals made the dinner committee and Sustainability Team seem smart and at the same time a guild of fools, considering their supposedly beautiful plan with ugly execution. With their well meaning plan or set goals for the event, they set off on a good course but were swayed by greed borne out of indiscipline, which toppled their plan with sour execution. It is a reasonable fact that a good execution is not borne out of bad plan but feasible plan. In contrast, a bad or no plan at all beget sour execution or unfortunate incidents similar to that of Royal Gala.
Of these unfortunate incidents is the meagre food with three chops of meat hanging on a toothpick that some people were served very late, even though a few people were served well with lap of chicken. However, the attendees were definitely starved before they were eventually served. In fact, a part of the hall was not served the meagre food with the chops of meat until exactly 3:41am of the following morning. According to the same interviewee referenced earlier, “refreshment and food did not circulate.” This incident later got out of hand when some people started darting for for food, as though it was a struggle for destiny rather than filling the belly.
In a bid to obtain more facts about how well and fair the Royal Gala was, interviews were conducted with some attendees. In the opinion of interviewee 1, “well and fair is not how I will describe the gala.” ” The preparation only sufficed half of the people in attendance”, she added. On the nature of the food that was served, she noted that ” meagrely fed would be an understatement.”
According to interviewee 2 on the plan and execution of the event, “The plans were excellent, but poor execution of these plans made the gala a sour event for some.” “The main issue for me: the organizers knew that many tickets were in circulation, but didn’t make sitting and feeding arrangements with that in mind, hence resulting in chaos.”, he noted.
According to interviewee 3, “Over population outweighed their preparation.” “NUESA executive ought to have bite, not more than what they can chew.”, he stressed. He also mentioned “not having enough waitperson” as one of the shortcomings of the event.
From the forgoing, it can be concluded that the answer to what would be heard or read of Sustainability Team is not for debate. Indeed, they would be remembered for the ironic exquisite Royal Gala. With no doubt, the crown of an administration solely depends on its momentous exit and not necessarily its beginning.
TAKE HOME FOR REFLECTION
Here are other leadership lessons Sustainability Team and every follower that witnessed their administration should take home for reflection:
First, Nigeria’s perspective of leadership as seen at the federal, state, and local government, even tertiary institution changes nothing, but showcases dying Nigeria. Such perspective does not get us any further, but rather farther from change. Contrary to this perspective or nature of leadership in Nigeria, a successful leader must skirt his tenure with committed team or cabinet and build trust and confidence in them. For progress is a matter of trust and confidence.
Second, a leader is responsible for every mistake and success of his administration, his cabinet or team is only instrumental to both. In essence, he must learn how to handle or manage stress that may lead to error or fall short of his responsibility. This imply, no justifiable excuse is tenable for all that went wrong at the Royal Gala.
Third, it is true that from the forgoing, many will ask if it is that easy to run an administration without shortcoming. Even though, shortcoming may be inevitable, the honest response is the maxim: uneasy lies the head that wears a crown. However, do we ever wonder why a follower is not the leader? That is because he knew he was not fit for the role, but a true leader thought deeply and knew he fits well into the role. For ignorance of what lies ahead does not define a true leader.
And lastly, according to Israelmore Ayivor, “Never let indiscipline weigh you down for critics to pick mockeries on.”
Kehinde Amusan, a campus journalist writes from the premier university. He can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org.