Tunde Leye: Mr. President, lead and inspire us! (Y! FrontPage)

by Tunde Leye


Mr. President sir, lead and inspire us. This cannot be too much to ask, considering the financial burden our nation carries for your office.

Our President and his aides just don’t get it. When a person goes around before an election campaigning for votes to be elected as the President of this nation, it seems they are more interested in the trappings of power, the routine of office and the perks than actual leadership. They think it is about being able to shut down roads and airports so they can pass, or having a shot at being the one who allocates who gets what from the national cake. They forget that it the office they aspire to is one which must inspire the nation to greatness. They fail to lead. Why campaign for the position of leadership, the highest one in the land, when you will fail to truly inspire at the most crucial of times, when the nation is in crisis. It is what leaders do in times like these that set apart the mediocre from the exceptional. And unlike we will not lower the bar on what it means to be an exceptional leader for any one individual.

In the 1600s when Idris Alooma became the Mai of the Kanem-Borno empire, it was a shadow of its former self. In fact, their neighbors, the Bulala, had taken much of their territory and were raiding the Kanem-Borno for slaves. The new Mai had to fight a series of battles to repel them, reclaim Borno lands and finally subjugate them. In the battle that proved to be the turning point, the Bulala were having the upper hand and the Borno Calvary had turned heel and begun to flee. What did the Mai do at this time? Flee to safety with his army? He recognized the fact that they could win and saw what the real issue was; the morale of his men. So rather than flee, he charged into battle and started to mow the startled Bulala down. The Kanem-Borno army, upon seeing the actions of their leader turned around and fought. They won a decisive victory that day. That was a leader who recognized that he was Mai not just to enjoy the perks of office, but to actually lead when it mattered most.

When the rumours began that the President had scheduled a visit to Maiduguri weeks after the Chibok girls were abducted, my reaction was one of better late than never. Before that time, the President had said on national TV that if he and his minister went to the Sambisa, they would be killed. I ask, what about the soldiers who are fighting for this country under the leadership of the government in which you are Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces? So we held our breath for the presidential visit. It would boost the morale of the men, give him opportunity to assess the condition of the men on ground and it would communicate empathy to the people that they were not alone.

So I was extremely disappointed when the President did not visit the warfront. Then to make matters worse, the wraiths came online to defend their principal and try to justify his not visiting Chibok. They said it was not secure. They asked if his visit would #BringBackOurGirls or win the war against insurgency. They didn’t read history at all. Great leaders from all over, like J.F Kennedy during the Cuban Missile Crises and more like these, take the initiative and seize these crises to galvanize the people and lead them into greatness.

So as if to remind them with a present situation of how to motivate and empathize with your soldiers as C in C whilst they are in a combat situation, the President of the United States visited American troops stationed in Afghanistan. He spoke words of encouragement and motivation and reassured them of the way the state takes care of veterans and their spouses. Has that finally won the war in Afghanistan? Let us call a spade a spade and not a farming utensil. It is unacceptable that the troops in Maiduguri have never been visited by the President. Mr. President sir, lead and inspire us. This cannot be too much to ask, considering the financial burden our nation carries for your office.


On Sunday,  I was at the launch of Chude Jideonwo’s Are We the Turning Point Generation. It was a great one and I congratulate him for pulling this off. Plan to buy one when it reaches your area. Highly recommended.




Tunde Leye tweets from @TundeLeye


Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.




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