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Leadership is responsibility, the ability to respond appropriately

Leadership is responsibility, the ability to respond appropriately
September 17
15:00 2016
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“…all of a sudden, Mazi Chibuzor Nwariwe slumped. He was sandwiched between two chairs. He had been very furious about his brother’s suggestions about their father’s land.

The meeting had been sour. The men ran and pulled him out, pouring on him several bowl of water as the women ran in different direction supplying whatever they thought could be a solution – bottles of local healing oil, bottles of concoction, bowls of herbs, powdery dry leaves in palm oil, and even bottles of holy water from the reverend father.

“Ha chineke…chinekeeee meeeeee…..Chibuzor oooooo, Hia!” Mazi Emeka dropped him on the floor and dusted his hands. He shrugged his shoulders several times and shook his head. Others rushed to him and one after the other; they rose and shook their head.

“Chibuzor don die…….” The words hit Matilda like a big boulder. She ran flapping her hands like a bird with broken wings, Indeed her wings were broken. Chibuzor was her wing, It was not only broken but chopped off. Matilda wailed, peeling off her wrapper and running blindly towards the market square.

“Hey, Chineke, everything has ended, everything. Finally, my enemies have me where they want …” Matilda shouted pulling at her hair and tearing her blouse. She sobbed as she dropped to the sand, rolling and screaming. The women ran after her and brought her home. The neighbours and her friends consoled her.

The girls arrived first but females had no right to take decisions especially when there was a son involved. Ada called her husband and narrated the whole story while Nneka just moped beside their mum. The kinsmen continue to hang around days after talking in a hush-hush voice about Mazi Chibuzors houses, land, cars and the long awaited surprise of the century.

Everyone wanted a share. Nnamdi arrived with one of his friends and nobody needed to introduce him to anyone. Although he was the son of an Osu woman, yet his father made it clear when he was alive that he was the heir, the only heir. His step mother and sisters waited for his verdict.

He had a closed door meeting with his father’s kinsmen and a lot of noise ensued from the enclave. The voices rose and fell one over another like the waves from the sea, washing ashore in different frenzy. One after the other the men left, hands on their waist, head covered in shame, tucked away under their smelly armpit, faces to the earth, bowing away. Negotiation had failed, bullying had no place. The owner of the property had arrived and tradition stipulates they leave. He had just finished his final year exam at the university and was the youngest in the family.

Nnamdi buried his father amidst pomp and pageantry. Ada and her husband played their role and Nneka contributed the little she had to the ceremony. After two months, Nnamdi sold three duplexes in Lagos, two flats in Portharcourt, and two cars that were both worth 7.5 million Naira.

He retained the land in the village, relocated his step-mother to the village and gave her some money, sent 250,000.00 naira each to his sisters and left the country for the US. His own mother had longed passed away, so he had no immediate ties that will require frequent home coming. His sisters became furious because it was an actual reap-off, his step-mother became speechless, watching her years of labour squandered away by a boy, a step son who knew nothing about her years of commitment and pains. But tradition does not permit her to talk or give her the right to complain. Besides, she just lost her husband and still has a whole year to mourn. Moreover legally and traditionally, Nnamdi was the beneficiary of the properties, he indeed had a right to administer it as suited him. However, morally, has he done the best?

On the shoulders of many boys too young to understand was the drape of authority hung, by virtue of position of arrival (firstborn) or one necessitated by sex (first Boy). It was forcefully, culturally or otherwise placed in the hands of some men who didn’t know their left from right. One of the many societal standards that have brought out the beast in men started as mere authority given to boys without requisite responsibility.

In most culture and tradition, Nigeria and I dare to say Africa, Boys are authorized by mere sex and not expertise or experience to function in leadership roles. However, first comes the authority by position or sex, then comes the ability to respond –responsibility which is a lesson that is mostly never taught this gender.

In human resources, when a recruitment is being done using a competency-based interview questions, candidates are tested for both technical/professional fit as well as emotional fit. If found wanting in the emotional fit, then (s)he may not be hired. But in the world of family life, boys are hired into the leadership positions with no requisite training.

In the workplace, succession plans may show that your current role as a junior accountant is in the career path that can lead to the role of a director of finance, yet before you can assume the potential, you must go through requisite training, cross functional exposure, job rotation, international exposure etc.

In real family life, when boys are thrust with the responsibility of taking care of their family, taking the leadership role and ensuring everything works, they are not given the ability to respond right (responsibility) under varying circumstances. They are assumed competent. When given so much without the emotional intelligence to support it, it births selfish, self-centred boys who grow up to become a thorn in the flesh of women.
Nnamdi sold his father’s properties and left the country. He had every right to administer the properties as he wished especially in the absence of a will. Was it fair? Is it really Nnamdi’s fault? Nnamdi is just an opportunist who found a loophole and lashed on it.

If as a boy Nnamdi had been taught empathy and had been equipped with the right dose of emotional intelligence, he would have realized the moral disposition of that role. Women are then taught to go to court to fight, women are told not to agree to the terms and condition etc. Although some women win, many lose because the root cause of this issue had not been addressed.

However, women are never told to raise the crop of boys that will do what will be adjudged right and fair amidst any circumstances of the law. If Mama Nnamdi had disabused his mind and pointed out the unfairness in the authority, Nnamdi would have behaved more appropriately. If Nnamdi’s father had educated him properly about fairness and natural justice, he wouldn’t have behaved that way. If the school had engaged boys differently, they would have influenced their mindset positively.

If Nnamdi can do this to his sisters and mother, what do you think he will do to his wife?

There are several Nnamdi’s, Ojo’s or Musa’s who believe they can massage anything and everything with their masculine ego. We reserve the right to teach them responsibility. We need to rewrite compassion and empathy in the slate of the heart of boys. Remember, it is not about perfection but genuineness.
Dayo Oladele-Ilori

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