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Loyalty Vs Competence: An Interrogation Of Political Leadership In Nigeria

By Ewere Okonta



Political leadership

In the intricate tapestry of political leadership, Nigeria stands as a dynamic canvas, where the interplay between loyalty and competence often shapes the trajectory of governance.

The juxtaposition of these two attributes forms the crux of effective leadership, defining the essence of service delivery and decision-making processes. In this discourse, we delve into the essence of political leadership, dissect the concepts of loyalty and competence, weigh their merits, and advocate for a paradigm shift where competence reigns supreme over blind allegiance.

Political leadership, in essence, embodies the stewardship of a nation’s affairs, requiring astute decision-making, visionary foresight, and a commitment to the welfare of the populace. It is the fulcrum upon which the aspirations and destinies of millions hinge. Within this sphere, loyalty and competence emerge as pivotal traits, each possessing its own set of merits.

Loyalty, often lauded as a cornerstone of cohesive leadership, engenders trust, fosters unity, and cultivates a sense of camaraderie among followers. It breeds a culture of solidarity, where individuals rally behind their leaders, irrespective of challenges or adversities. However, while loyalty serves as a binding force, its intrinsic value can sometimes overshadow the imperative of competence.

Competence, on the other hand, epitomizes proficiency, expertise, and a mastery of requisite skills. A competent leader exhibits sound judgment, strategic acumen, and an unwavering commitment to excellence in governance. It is the driving force behind effective policy formulation, innovative solutions, and sustainable development initiatives. Competence ensures that leaders navigate the complex terrain of governance with precision and efficacy, delivering tangible results that uplift society.

In the context of Nigerian political leadership, the imperative for embracing competence over blind loyalty cannot be overstated. The nation stands at a pivotal juncture, grappling with multifaceted challenges ranging from economic volatility to social unrest. In such a landscape, leaders must prioritize meritocracy and proficiency over nepotism and favoritism.

The elevation of competence over loyalty fosters a merit-based system, where individuals ascend to positions of authority based on their capabilities and track record of performance. This ensures that governance structures are fortified with talent, expertise, and innovation, thereby enhancing service delivery and engendering public trust.

While loyalty undoubtedly has its place in leadership, it must not supersede competence in the hierarchy of priorities. A judicious blend of both loyalty and competence fosters a symbiotic relationship, where allegiance is tempered by a commitment to excellence. Leaders who recognize and reward this dual attribute among their followers sow the seeds of sustainable leadership and societal progress.

Regrettably, the prevalent tendency among Nigerian political leaders to prioritize loyalty over competence has perpetuated a cycle of mediocrity and inefficiency. Decisions driven by allegiance rather than merit often lead to suboptimal outcomes, hindering national development and eroding public confidence in governance institutions.

It is incumbent upon Nigerian political leaders to recalibrate their approach, placing competence at the forefront of their leadership ethos. By championing meritocracy, nurturing talent, and fostering a culture of excellence, they can steer the nation towards a brighter future characterized by prosperity, equity, and social cohesion.

In conclusion, the dichotomy between loyalty and competence underscores the essence of effective political leadership in Nigeria. While loyalty fosters unity and solidarity, competence drives innovation and excellence in governance. To propel the nation forward, leaders must prioritize competence over blind allegiance, rewarding merit and proficiency while fostering a culture of inclusivity and collaboration. Only through this paradigm shift can Nigeria realize its full potential and emerge as a beacon of progress on the global stage.

Ewere Okonta is the CEO, EOB Media. He writes from the Department of Business Administration, University of Delta, Agbor. He can be reached at 08037383019 and

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