Leadership: What Goodluck Jonathan can learn from Stephen Keshi – Ogunyemi Bukola

Published:29 Jan, 2014

Keshi-JonathanSuccessful leadership, be it in business, politics or sports, operates on identical underlying principles. As such, successful leaders learn from one another across the different sectors of life and terrain of leadership in which they operate. Nigeria’s president, Goodluck Jonathan, has a lot to learn about leadership, and he has plenty of options to choose from. But he needs not look far. In his mostly unremarkable government, the sports sector, especially football, especially the national male football team, Super Eagles, have enjoyed unprecedented success. This due in no small parts to the efforts of the Glo/CAF African Football Awards 2014 Coach of the Year, Stephen Keshi.

Since his appointment in 2011, Keshi has led Nigeria to qualification for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations, which they went on to win, becoming one of only two people (along with Egypt’s Mahmoud El-Gohary) to have won it as both a player and a coach, secured qualification to the 2014 World Cup and is through to the semi-final of CHAN2014. Keshi’s success has not been accidental, and in his handling of the team, some particularly stellar leadership attributes shine through that the man from Otuoke can learn from.

Leaders deliver results, not excuses: Jonathan has a readymade excuse for why nothing is working in Nigeria. From corruption to terrorism to poor state of infrastructure nationwide, none is due to Jonathan’s inability/failure to effect change. Past Nigerian leaders, the opposition, the children of anger, some aggrieved ethnicities, these are the groups responsible for everything that is wrong with Nigeria. And this has gone a long way in entrenching the culture of complacency in his largely incompetent team who know they are not to blame for failure. Keshi as Super Eagles manager has an opposite philosophy, get results and you won’t have to give excuses. And this has worked for him, as the team knows a bad pitch or weather and even biased officiating is not a reason to lose.

Leaders make sacrifices, especially big sacrifices: To save Nigeria, we must all be prepared to make sacrifices. On the part of Government, we are taking several measures aimed at cutting the size and cost of governance, including on-going and continuous effort to reduce the size of our recurrent expenditure and increase capital spending. In this regard, I have directed that overseas travels by all political office holders, including the President, should be reduced to the barest minimum” – Goodluck Jonathan (January 2012)

“Our administration believes that the cost of governance in the country is still too high and must be further reduced. We will also take additional steps to stem the tide of corruption and leakages. Foreign travel by government personnel will be further curtailed” – Goodluck Jonathan (January 2014)

In the two years between the two statements from Goodluck Jonathan above, he has spent over N3 billion on foreign trips, recurrent expenditure has increased to 72% of overall government spending, Aso Rock feeding and entertainment budget has stayed at N1 billion and Mr President is planning to acquire an 11th aircraft for the presidential fleet.

Keshi and his assistants on the other hand are being owed a total of 7 months’ salary and allowances running into about N78 million. In the face of this, he has ensured that no player is owed match bonuses and has not failed to deliver results on the pitch. Jonathan and his aides are living in obscene opulence while asking Nigerians to make sacrifices for the nation’s development. Errrrr, it all starts with you sir.

You are only as good as your team: Since his accidental ascendancy to the highest political office in Nigeria, Mr Jonathan has managed to assemble arguably the worst Federal Executive Council since return to democratic rule in 1999. Men and women of low competencies, questionable character and proven records of corruption/mismanagement have been given control of sensitive positions in return for political devotion. Mr Jonathan has shown that he values political loyalty above competency, and that is politics, not leadership. In this regard, he should learn how Keshi picks his team, making sure the best available players are selected, not those who spent more time with the press praising his managerial skills.

Leaders know what and when to celebrate: One of the most disappointing moments of Jonathan’s presidency for me was when he told CNN’s Christine Amanpour during an interview that power situation in Nigeria has vastly improved and Nigerians are happy with his administration in that regard. Amanpour went ahead to disprove this claim so effortlessly. In truth power generation had increased to more than 4000MW then, but that hardly calls for celebration and smugness considering that Nigeria needs about 20,000MW to stand any chance of being one of the top 20 economies in the world by 2020. Jonathan stops short of calling a party for every hundred MW added to the national grid or every kilometre of road patched. Mister, it’s like celebrating victory after winning the first free-kick in a football match. Keep calm and get to work, like Keshi does. Don’t pop the champagne until the trophy is in the cabinet.

Leaders know the people are priority: I do not understand the polimathics of FIFA rankings, and I got even more confused when in December 2013 Nigeria slipped three places from 33 to 36 despite having arguably the best year of all African teams. So was Keshi, but something struck me about his response:

“I am shocked (by the latest rankings). We won the Africa Cup of Nations this year, qualified for the World Cup and four-time world champions Italy held us to a draw, so I am surprised. We should continue to win and make Nigerians proud because that is what is most important to me and Nigerians. If we remain in wherever we are in the ranking and keep winning and Nigerians are happy, then I am happy.”

This contrasts sharply with the selective acceptance game Jonathan’s government plays with global governance and human development rankings. It is not unusual to see Mr Jonathan’s media aides base their principal’s successes on positive comments from international organizations like the World Bank and IMF. When however, the spotlight is on corruption and poverty, in which the report is almost always unfavourable, they swing to action and give a thousand and one reasons why such reports are inaccurate.

Failure to realize that democracy is a government of the people, and the most acceptable index is the people’s assessment, is the foundation of Mr Jonathan’s woeful performance as Nigeria’s president. And as long as he continues to seek acceptance from local power blocs and international organizations at the detriment of the wishes of the people, the story is not likely to change.

If Jonathan is to record any success worth remembering as he enters the final year of his presidency, he should learn from how Keshi has managed to turn around the fortunes of a Super Eagles team that failed to qualify for the nations cup into African champions. While Keshi has proven to be Nigeria’s most successful football coach, Mr Jonathan might just be the worst president in Nigeria’s modern democratic history. It’s all about leadership.

Ogunyemi Bukola (@zebbook) writes from Lagos, Nigeria.

  • Adelaja Oriade

    A very good piece. If only GEJ’s aides will give him the chance to be a better president.

  • Baba

    Bukola in your word this was suppose to be a lesson to be learn not criticising all and everything the government are doing.Keshi won all the accolade because he is been supported by the same man ur deriding,..Some years ago we were all glamouring for Siasia when this very Keshi wanted the job as good as Siasia had been did he deliver?please for goodness be creative in your criticism cuz to me it seems nothing this government will do will ever be worth in your eyes not till your saviour[APC] is in power

  • http://www.betternigeriaforum.blogspot.com Solabetter

    God Bless you Bukola.
    The Leadership of GEJ is people Bias. I believe if he makes it People Oriented then he will perform.

Related Posts

Recent Posts

‘Consider South East In Your Appointments’ – Okorocha Appeals To Buhari

Imo state governor, Rochas Okorocha has appealed to President Buhari to consider the people of the South East in his appointments. According to Vanguard, Governor Okorocha made the appeal during a meeting with selected stakeholders in the state over the weekend "What I can only do is to continue to appeal to the president to consider the South-East in his appointments. And as far as I am concerned, the president had executed what the office empowers him to do,...

Ohanaeze appeals to Ndigbo for calm over skewed appointments

Following the outrageous outcries that have greeted the recent appointments made by President Muhammad Buhari, Secretary General,apex Igbo socio-cultural group, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Dr. Joe Nwaorgu, has called on Ndigbo to remain calm in the present circumstance of unexplainable and skewed pattern of appointments which has completely excluded Ndigbo from key strategic positions in the Federal Government. Speaking with Journalists in Enugu, Monday, against the backdrop of the appointment of principal officers in the presidency and Secretary to the Government of...

P-Square brothers narrowly escape death in auto crash

Peter and Paul Okoye of the popular pop duo, Psquare, narrowly escaped death on Sunday after a ghastly auto-crash along the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway. The Sensational R&B duo, suffered a crash in their ox-blood coloured Range Rover Sport Jeep on their way back from a concert staged in Ibadan, the Oyo state capital. Peter Okoye who took to Instagram, narrated that an oncoming lorry bashed their car as they were returning from a show alongside their assistant manager and lead drummer, Papi...

Nigerian woman among 10 killed in Saudi fire

An unnamed Nigerian woman, three Canadians and one Pakistani, were among the 10 people killed in a fire outbreak at a residential complex rented by oil giant, Saudi Aramco over the weekend as reported by Saudi authorities.   According to the report, the fire resulted from an electric shock circuit in the underground park where 130 cars were parked. It is believed that about 35 vehicles were completely destroyed by the fire.   The civil defense confirmed that 259 people were wounded but 179...

Buhari Congratulates D’Tigers For Winning African Basketball Championship

President Muhammadu Buhari has congratulated the national men’s basketball team, D’Tigers, on their victory over Angola in Sunday’s final of the FIBA Africa Basketball Championship in Tunisia. In a statement on Monday, presidential spokesperson, Femi Adesina, said the President has assured that his administration will give the team and Nigeria’s other representatives at the next year’s Olympic Games, in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, the fullest possible support to ensure that they are well prepared to excel against the...

Nigeria Police Force reduces governors’ security detail from 150 to 62

The Nigeria Police has reduced the number of security detail attached to Governors in obedience to the admonition of President Muhammadu Buhari for it to prune down the number of personnel attached to VIPs.   This followed the reorganisation of the functions of police officers and men, which has led to police security attached to the governors being reduced to a maximum of 62 men – which is a unit – from the 150 policemen which some governors used to have...

Tyga Features Kylie Jenner In New Music Video, Kissing Scene Confirms It’s Official

Tyga has just dropped the music video for his new song "Stimulated," and oh, look, it serves as another ~official~ confirmation that he and Kylie Jenner are coupled up. Watch video below... https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=196&v=X8AurWRkRpo

Former Governor Akpabio involved in auto crash after disobeying traffic light

Former governor of Akwa Ibom state,  Godswill Akpabio on Monday morning escaped death narrowly after his car got involved in an accident along the Airport Road in Abuja, having violated traffic law.   An eye witness narrated that the Senate Minority Leader, was moving in a motorcade towards the City Gate when his vehicle ran into another car near the Bolingo Junction close to the Ship House.   “My wife and I were coming from the NNPC Mega Station and we stopped at...

Kanye West Declares 2020 Presidential Bid

Kanye West says he's planning to run for president in 2020. In a candid and at times heartfelt acceptance speech at Sunday night's MTV Video Music Awards, the rapper concluded his remarks by announcing a presidential bid for the election five years from now. "I don't know what I finna lose after this. It don't matter, though; It's not about me. It's about ideas. New ideas. People with ideas. People...

Femi Adesina, others sworn in

Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, has been sworn in today, 31st August, 2015, by President Muhammadu Buhari, a few weeks after his appointment was announced.   Others sworn in at the event included the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Babachir Lawal; and the National Security Adviser, Maj.-Gen....

Amber Rose & Blac Chyna Make Bold Statements At The VMAs

Leave it to none other than Amber Rose and Blac Chyna to show up at the 2015 VMAs with choice words emblazoned on their outfits. The models-turned-entrepreneurs strutted down the red carpet with "golddigger," "stripper," "slut" and other racy terms painted all over their nude ensembles to promote Rose's upcoming Slut Walk in Los Angeles, California this October. While Rose revealed that she and her bestie have both been called these names, here they are taking back control with bold...

Watch How Nicki Minaj Almost Started A Fight With Miley Cyrus On The VMAs’ Stage

While accepting the award for Best Hip-Hop Video at tonight's MTV Video Music Awards, Nicki Minaj held host Miley Cyrus accountable for comments she made in an interview. Watch video... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2YAR1yxUh7o Credit: HollywoodScoop/ YouTube

Fayose apprehends over 30 civil servants for lateness

Ekiti State Governor, Mr. Ayodele Fayose, apprehended over 30 civil servants who came late to work on Monday. The Governor arrived the state Secretariat at 8:00am today to the surprise of the state workers. Many of the civil servants on sighting the Governor scampered around to avoid being apprehended.   Fayose has directed that a disciplinary committee be set up to try...

MTV VMAs 2015 Winners, See Full List

Here is the full list of winners from the 2015 MTV VMAs (winners in bold/ Italics): BEST FEMALE VIDEO Beyoncé – "7/11? Taylor Swift – "Blank Space" Nicki Minaj – "Anaconda" Sia – "Elastic Heart" Ellie Goulding – "Love Me Like You Do" BEST HIP-HOP VIDEO Fetty Wap – "Trap Queen" Nicki Minaj – "Anaconda" Kendrick Lamar – "Alright" Wiz Khalifa ft. Charlie Puth – "See You Again" Big Sean ft. E-40 – "I Don’t F–k With You" BEST MALE VIDEO Ed Sheeran...

Chibok Girls Narrate Life In America

Emmanuel Ogebe, a U.S.-based Nigerian human rights lawyer collaborated with a couple in Nigeria to help bring some Chibok schoolgirls who had escaped from Boko Haram to the United States. Boko Haram kidnapped Lily and 275 other schoolgirls one night in April 2014. In a remote town in northeastern Nigeria, the radical fighters grabbed Lily and the others as they slept inside the local high school’s dormitory. They stuffed them into trucks and drove off into...

Boluwatife Adekunle: What Are The Sins Of Home Less Nigerians (The IDPs)

It’s one of such days where it would seem the writer of this article woke up to a rather sobering morning. I couldn’t help but ask again the very question I am sure many concerned Nigerians home and abroad have asked on numerous occasions.  And naturally it’s almost sounding like rhetoric. Nonetheless, I believe as a people we must continue to scream and overwork our voice until the deaf finally get the message. I understand several...

Police Foils Sea Pirates’ Attack In Bayelsa

Bayelsa Police Command yesterday said its Marine Division in Southern Ijaw local government area of the state had repelled an attack by sea pirates on a passenger boat in the area. Mr. Asinim Butswat, an ASP and spokesman of the Command, said in a statement that the attack occurred on August 28 at Gina-Gbene area of Southern Ijaw. According to the spokesman, an AK-47 assault rifle and live ammunition were recovered from the pirates who...

Buhari Set To Swear In SGF, Others

President Muhammadu Buhari is set to swear in the newly appointed Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Engr. Babachir David Lawal. The event which would be held at the presidential villa, Abuja any time soon will also include other newly appointed presidential aides. President last week Thursday, appointed Babachir David Lawal as Chief of Staff to the President; Col. Hameed Ibrahim Ali (rtd.) as new Comptroller-General, Nigerian Customs Service; Mr. Kure Martin Abeshi,...

Low: Germany Less Reliant On Schweinsteiger Now

The 55-year-old boss believes he no longer needs to start the Manchester United midfielder in every game, while he is already laying plans to defend the World Cup in 2018   Germany boss Joachim Low has suggested he will use captain Bastian Schweinsteiger sparingly over the coming years amid concerns over the midfielder's...

ISIS Shows New Gold/Silver Coins In New Video

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has come out with plans to mint its own gold and silver coins,which it reveals in its latest video, entitled: "The Rise of the Khilafah and the Return of the Gold Dinar.” The hour-long video, released on Saturday, which ISIS narrated in English but subtitled in Arabic, began with an extensive analysis on “the capitalist financial system of enslavement, underpinned by a piece of paper called the Federal...

Sola Ajibola: The Case For Youth Inclusion in Top Government Positions In Nigeria

To many Nigerians, 'Change' has finally come and to some others, every move by the new government must be critiqued. The overall interest of Nigerians is priority and as such, it is important that we do not take the usual route of praise singing or blind criticism of the current administration, but point out salient issues that have held the nation bound for years. The general elections has come and gone, but it is safe to say the campaign...