By Balarabe Oshiafi
The President and Chairman of Council of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR), Dr. Ike Neliaku has been honoured with the prestigious award of Distinguished Leadership, in recognition of his roles in the training of quality leaders in the country’s public and private sectors.
The award was conferred on him by the Vice Chancellor, University of Abuja, Prof. Abdul-Rasheed Na’Allah on behalf of the Abuja Leadership Centre (ALC), a TETFund Centre of Excellence in Public Governance and Leadership domiciled at the University.
The award presentation was the high point of the third induction ceremony of 140 masters and doctoral students of the Centre in Abuja on Friday where Dr. Neliaku spoke as Guest Lecturer on the topic, “Leadership And Politics: Towards A Paradigm Shift for Africa”.
Dr. Neliaku, a leadership development expert and Executive Secretary of Nigerian Prize for Leadership (NPL), an organisation that has been actively involved in training high quality leaders since its inauguration in 2019, said this is time for Africa to seize the moment and reclaim its economic, social and political values.
He told the inductees and audience at the event that grooming leaders who will change the society requires due attention and investment, adding that good leaders are often trained and not by accidental emergence.
While underlining the need to rebuild trust, Dr. Neliaku said there is loss of trust between the citizens and the government, elders and young people who believe their future was not properly protected as well as distrust in the general society.
He therefore, called for the building of strong and effective system that will ensure leadership questions are properly answered.
“We must build strong and effective systems. Others call it institutions, however, my challenge with institutions is that institutions are manned by people and once people come with bad intentions, they transfer such to the institution. So I go for systems because systems can run themselves if they are properly programmed”, he noted.
In his call for all-inclusive governance, Dr. Neliaku said beyond women and youths, people with disabilities also ought to be included in the country’s scheme of affairs, even as he thanked President Bola Tinubu for appointing appreciable number of youths in his cabinet.
The President said that NIPR as a responsible Institute has a responsibility to speak out against societal ills and commend when and where necessary as its allegiance is first, to Nigeria as an entity that houses both the government and the people.
In his address, the Vice Chancellor appealed to the inductees to demonstrate leadership wherever they find themselves and be good ambassadors of the Centre and UniAbuja.
According to Neliaku, bad leadership has done incalculable damage to Africa, particularly in Nigeria, calling for deliberate efforts to nurse and groom passionate leaders to activate numerous latent potentials of the country.
In his lecture titled, “Leadership and Politics: Towards a Paradigm Shift for Africa”, during the induction ceremony of masters and doctoral students of Abuja Leadership Centre (ALC) at University of Abuja on Saturday, Dr. Neliaku noted that good leaders do not just emerge, but are groomed and prepared to render services.
While describing bad leadership as an anathema in the life of Nigeria, he expressed delight that through such initiatives like ALC, the society is beginning to build a new generation of Nigerians that will build a new Nigeria.
“If you don’t groom good leaders, don’t expect to have one. What is going on here today is grooming good leaders, but I call it ‘growthing’ new leaders that will have a new mindset to give new leadership to Nigeria”, he stated.
Stressing the importance of serious investment in the process of training leaders, he said that it took about 10 years of intensive research for the Nigerian Prize For Leadership (NPL) the organisation he serves as the Executive Secretary to set up a proper leadership grooming structure as a platform to give leadership training to young Nigerians.
Speaking on what looks like a paradigm shift in Nigeria, he commended the Federal Government for appointing nine youths as Ministers and called for more inclusivity in other components of the society, such as people with disabilities.
The NIPR President thanked the Vice Chancellor of University of Abuja, Prof. Abdul-Rasheed Na’Allah for his roles in ensuring that the ALC is fully activated for optimal functioning and urged the inductees of the centre to demonstrate leadership in every sphere of influence.
Earlier in his remarks, the Director of Abuja Leadership Centre (ALC) and University of Abuja Deputy Vice Chancellor, Prof. Philip Afaha said eventhough leadership challenge is a global phenomenon, there is need to begin to address leadership questions in Nigeria.
He expressed gratitude to the Management of TETFund for citing the Centre at the University of Abuja, a Centre that trains individuals in Masters and Doctorate Degrees in Leadership and Public Governance, Military Studies, and Policy and Strategic Studies.