Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, has called for concerted effort on the part of elites, political and religious leaders to work towards promoting the unity of Nigeria.
Osinbajo made the call at a public presentation of a book written by retired Maj.-Gen. Pat Akem-Vingir titled: “Winning Leadership (Strategic Leadership in a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous world),” on Friday in Abuja.
He commended the author for bringing to the fore a new paradigm to the subject of leadership, saying that the book would compel leaders to rethink leadership.
According to him, exceptional leaders don’t just emerge, they are products of deliberate efforts and products of training and grooming.
Osinbajo said the book came at such an suspicious times when the nation was confronted with unique challenges that demanded new paradigms in leadership.
He said the elites were usually responsible for failure or success of any nation, adding that they must recognise that their role imposed a huge burden of responsibility on the society.
“We in the multi-ethnic and religious society need responsible political leaders, not those who are prepared to destroy the unity of the country so that they can be hailed by their parochial communities.
“The religious leaders who preaches that they hate other religion is really not relevant.
“Any political leader who doesn’t recognise that this is a multi religious and multi ethnic society cannot function today,” he said.
The Vice President added that elites must lead the direction for the nation’s unity, saying the tribal leaders often accuse other tribes of being the problem.
He said that corruption in Nigeria had no tribe or ethnicity, noting that looking at the charge sheet of stolen fund showed that all tribes were involved in it.
He said that the nation should not be talking about division when the rest of the world is thinking how the world can come together to be stronger and more competitive.
Former Head of State, retired Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar, described the author as a fine military officer who provided astute leadership as a commanding officer of Nigerian army.
Abubakar, represented by the former Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika, said there was an urgent call for emergence of strategic leadership in the current volatile and uncertain environment.
He urged leaders to cultivate the culture of putting down their experiences for the young generation to learn from, adding that he believed that Nigeria needed a new generation of leaders that could take the country speedily to the next level of development.
Abubakar described the author as a stern disciplinarian, devout Christian and an astute lawyer with wide experience in military command, staff and training who provided quality leadership with impeccable integrity in his command.
According to him, the author’s unrelenting efforts and uncompromising attitude provided the required gains in mission mandate through massive reduction in illegal bunkering and oil theft activities.
“As a Directing Staff at the country’s apex military institution, the National Defence College, he was responsible for training in strategic leadership for senior officers of the Armed Forces of Nigeria and several others from across Africa.
“He also headed the Nigerian Army Legal Services, where he spearheaded reforms in the military justice system across the Services.
“Over his entire service life, he was involved in the moulding of leadership qualities from tactical, operational and strategic levels of command.
“With his cognate experience, exposure and academic attainments, you will all agree with me that the author is well equipped to write this book on strategic leadership in a volatile and complex world,” he said.
The former Head of State said the nation’s domestic environment was characterised by a myriad of social and economic problems which were manifesting in the several security challenges across the country.
He said the situation was even made complex and volatile with the increasing pace of technological innovation especially the negative use of the social media.
According to him, the social media space today provides a breeding as well as recruitment ground by acclaimed leaders of all sort that could rall youths in pursuit of agendas considered inimical to national security.
“It is for such reasons that there has been a persistent call for a new generation of strategic leaders with clear understanding of the demands of our current complex, volatile and uncertain environment to help in shaping and reorientating the minds of our youths,” he said.
Also, the CEO of Air Peace, Dr Allen Onyema, said the book launch was a celebration of excellence, adding that no one could win without strategies.
Onyema said he was saddened that the country was currently faced with heightened ethnic, regional and religious tension, stressing that strategic thinking was required to address the current challenges.
He called for the unity of segments of the nation, and said he looked forward to have a Nigeria where everybody would think Nigeria.
According to him, our diversity should be our source of strength and not a source of problem.
“I want a Nigeria where we fight for each other irrespective of where we come from and until we start doing that nationhood will elude us.
“A lot of things have happened but we must learn to forgive each other and harness our potentials,” he said.
On his part, Akem-Vingir, said he was inspired by the outbreak of COVID-19 when the whole world was affected and new thinking began to emerge.
Akem-Vingir said that strategic leadership matters in the 21st century globalised world, adding that strategic leaders always spot opportunities out of challenges and harvest them.
He said the challenge of COVID-19 provided opportunities for a lot of strategic thinkers to harvest ideas.
“I noticed the impact of strategic leadership when COVID-19 broke out, I saw how people tried to overcome it and I saw the disruption it cause.
“I realised immediately that a certain new paradigm for leadership was required that the old conventional leadership strategy was not going to be enough to handle event like COVID-19.
“Leaders who were up to their games began to harvest opportunities,” he said.