“Those who govern us are as good or bad as the society that we have because it’s from the society, we employ individuals that lead us”. This statement was made on why it is important for Nigerians to develop strong ethical standards that will enable them to live value-driven lives by Mr. Hope Nuka, Special Performance Lead, SNEPCo during LEAP’s Values and Leadership Skills Programme (VLSP).
Selected among a throng of over 2000 applicants, 70 young Nigerians (under 35 years) benefitted from LEAP Africa’s VLSP in partnership with NNPC/SNEPCo, on January 18 and 19, 2017 in Lagos. The two-day training focused on soft skills that would engineer the leadership process in young people.
NNPC/SNEPCo partnered with LEAP Africa to tackle some of societies deteriorating values such as integrity, accountability, responsibility, excellence, hard work, and capacity building to develop a new generation of global shapers. SNEPCO is investing in youth to become instrumental leaders of change. Put simply by Nuka, “What we are doing today, is our smallest contribution to prepare the future. If you ask me whether we stand to benefit anything, I’ll say yes. But I wish we could do this in a larger scale and in multiple locations because you are the tomorrow that we have. That is why, what we have done is modest but it’s an investment into the future and we would also be one of the beneficiaries of what you are learning today”.
The VLSP curriculum was designed to stimulate a combination of individual and community development in young Nigerians. It is centered on values-driven leadership, and at this training, LEAP brought to fore the issues on ethics and corruption, which has become a cultural menace.
Values define the life you want to live. You determine the quality of your reputation through the ethical decisions you make on a daily basis. LEAP discussed in detail some pertinent questions raised on ethical issues, bringing clarity to the subject, with various scenarios such as, how much information one discloses, in terms of reporting financial expenses from an official assignment.
Mr. Nuka who attended the training and interacted with beneficiaries also shared his views on how institutions are shaped by the society using law enforcement such as the Nigerian Police Force. According to him, “It’s from the society that we employ people that will be the Nigerian Police. What you have in society is what is replicated in the police force. The older citizens have probably missed it; in fact we are responsible for recession in Nigeria today. It’s the younger generation that will likely pull us out of it”.
In a nation hugely populated by the youth, it is hoped that the desired effect of the VLSP will enable the younger generation to take a stand to abide by ethical codes of conduct that can reroute and prepare them for leadership both now and in the future.
However, our inability to “speak up” as Nigerians, may hinder the progress that can be ours. Rather than identifying the root cause of a problem and taking the necessary steps to resolve it, we either misguidedly remain silent or inappropriately express our concerns. This is another factor that thwarts the process through which “change” can be realized.
We all need to speak up and stand up for what is true. It is important to let your voice be heard. You can express your displeasures respectfully not violently. And no matter how difficult that person(s) is, you can leave a lasting impression that challenges them to rethink their actions.
Acknowledging that “In leadership, self-awareness is a key determinant of success,” which emphasizes that all human beings must know who they are in-order to take on leadership roles and lead successfully. Notwithstanding, knowledge is not power. The application of knowledge is power. That is why, to stem the ravaging menace of corruption, individuals in authority must be representatives of an ethical society.
It is important for all, to conscientiously make the right decisions now, which will bring to reality the Nigeria of our dreams.
LEAP is resolute on its mission to inspire, empower and equip a new cadre of African leaders. We want to do more when we measure our impact through stories of dynamic young men and women found with the ability to confidently project themselves and take positive actions.