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todayAugust 22, 2022

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When passionate and competent leaders are at the helm of affairs, it is easier for transformation to take place, writes Linus Okorie

It is very sad indeed to see so many men and women without passion and competence occupying very sensitive positions of leadership in this country and you wonder why production and proactivity is at its lowest ebb? The very painful reality is that there are several other incompetent humans without passion, and even neutral in this life seeking for political offices or appointments.

Have you ever met someone who is so passionate about something, an idea, a cause, a product? What is usually your reaction? Imagine the possibilities of having leaders who are passionate about the greatness of Nigeria as well as competent individuals in all sectors of Nigeria’s economy. Boom! Nigeria would have experienced prosperity and transformation in all ramifications.

The more passionate an individual is about his or her business, work, and life, the more positive energy the individual brings. Oprah Winfrey said, “Passion shapes our existence, fuels the fires of inspiration and opens us up to opportunities and changes around us.”  True happiness comes when you do what you are most passionate about.

Doing what you love and that which is in alignment with your purpose is what will motivate you to jump out of bed in the morning and look forward to the day ahead. Your work is not “work” because it exciting, rewarding and interesting to you. It is not a ‘job’ but a passion.

You will realise that your work does not seem difficult and you put in more hours than the average person because the hours would seem to fly by so quickly. When you are doing what you love, your passion for it is obvious to others and that makes the difference between a rewarding career and a job.

Passion enables us to overcome obstacles. Whether those obstacles are actual or imagined, you overcome them and see the world as a place of infinite potential. The power of passion also enables us to have self-confidence enough to take the risks required to live every day to its fullest. It stimulates a love for life as life is led by design not by default. This passion leads you on a quest for more which ultimately leads you to a place of competence.

Competence is one’s ability to hold the post or position. This “ability” involves, knowledge of the subject, tackling of the problems, exposure, the capacity to make decisions, convincing others in a proper way in addition to prescribed academic or professional qualification with experience. Experience may play a secondary role if others are predominant.

 Competence is the ability to do something well, measured against a standard, especially the ability acquired through experience or training. A cluster of related abilities, commitments, knowledge, and skills that enable a person (or an organization) to act effectively in a job or situation.

Competence indicates sufficiency of knowledge and skills that enable someone to act in a wide variety of situations. Because each level of responsibility has its own requirements, competence can occur in any period of a person’s life or at any stage of his or her career. A great man said, “The best defense against partisanship is expertise.” A few years ago, I was speaking at the Power Networking event in Washington DC to about two thousand successful African Americans. One of the participants had asked me a question relating to his personal experience of racism.

In response, I told him to work towards becoming so competent and excellent at what he does so that no matter how much his boss hated his face, he would still give him his due because he provided great value.

John Gardner said, “The society which scorns excellence in plumbing because plumbing is a humble activity and tolerates shoddiness in philosophy because it is an exalted activity will have neither good plumbing nor good philosophy. Neither its pipe nor its theories will hold water.” According to Willa A. Foster, “Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction and skillful execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives. “

How can we build a country without a critical mass of passionate and competent people? Nations of the world that have made great progress have understood that the secret of growing economies is putting systems in place to enable citizens discover themselves early in life so they walk the path of personal development, focusing on areas that they love and that is consistent with their potential until they gain mastery. When passionate and competent leaders are at the helm of affairs, it is easier for transformation to take place. Lionel Urwick, Harvard Business Review (1956) wrote, “There is nothing which rots morale more quickly and more completely than … the feeling that those in authority do not know their own minds.”

As we approach the election year, I would like to see more passionate and competent people elected into positions of leadership and responsibilities across the nation.

Secondly, I would love to see more Nigerians committed to the common good of Nigeria. Nigerians who look beyond religion and tribe to vote for competent individuals.

Thirdly, I would love to see the private sector passionately involved in supporting and funding competent individuals who ultimately will create the economic environment for their businesses to thrive.

Finally, I would like to see the current administration coordinate all the stakeholders responsible for organizing elections to ensure that there is free and fair elections.

I call on all ‘neutral’ Nigerians, young or old, to passionately get involved in changing our nation. There is nothing that you feel strongly enough about that you cannot pursue.

Until you find the things in your life that have meaning, things that interest you, and things you wish to excel at, you will have neither passion nor motivation to do anything.

As you pursue passionately the greatness of Nigeria, you will soon realize that your accomplishment lies in the transformation of our nation.

My last words, great people of Nigeria, you must remember, if a person does not have a purpose for waking up, sleeping becomes interesting.

 Okorie is a leadership development expert spanning 27 years in the research, teaching and coaching of leadership in Africa and across the world. He is the CEO of the GOTNI Leadership Centre

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