“#TBLFCareerDay2018” talk of the town in Nigeria

The Bridge Leadership Foundation’s flagship event, Career Day, was the talk throughout Nigeria on 14th July 2018. The Career Day Conference themed “Youth and Good Governance: The Future We Want” trended on social media with the hashtag “#TBLFCareerDay” and it had thousands on people tweeting about the event, using the hashtag.

The presence of notable speakers with valuable content aided the popularity of the event nationwide.

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http://www.negroidhaven.org/2018/07/tblfcareerday2018-dominates-discussions.html?m=1

BUILD QUALITY NETWORK

At the 8th Career Day Conference organized by The Bridge Leadership Foundation on 14th July, 2018, the need for building quality network was emphasized. This was greatly stressed by the keynote speaker of the event, Tonye Cole, who stressed that quality network makes work easier for entrepreneurs.

The founder of The Bridge Leadership Foundation during his opening remark made known that at the time he was running for office at the age of 30, he had no connections and he stressed on his challenges during his campaign.

To read more, click on the link below…

Group urges young entrepreneurs to build quality network

I Joined Politics As A Novice – Imoke

The founder of The Bridge Leadership Foundation, Liyel Imoke, made known during the 8th Career Day Conference which held on 14th of July, 2018 themed “Youth and Good Governance:The Future We Want” that he joined politics as a novice. He said he joined with the intention of serving the public to the best of the ability.

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I Joined Politics As Novice – Imoke

I became a Senator at 30 without connections, godfathers- Imoke

WHY YOUR VOTE IS IMPORTANT

In a democratic state like Nigeria, the importance of a government “of the people, by the people and for the people” cannot be overemphasized. A country like this should be governed by its citizens, which means that any government in power must be endorsed by the majority (while also giving the minority a say). One of the major principles includes giving eligible citizens the right to vote and be voted for. This makes the representative who has been elected accountable to the people who voted them in.

Voting is the best way to engage in political participation and the most common form of political activity by the masses. Government must be based on representation by its citizen’s vows. It should be a right of every eligible individual in all countries. Universal suffrage is a vital basic right, without which so many others are meaningless. As a citizen, voting is one of the most important duties you can fulfill as a responsible citizen of a country and it also serves as a way for you to express your political opinions by voting for a candidate with similar ideology or policies that support your best interests.

The process of voting also gives individuals the chance to either elect or re-elect government officials at all tiers of government. Voting can also help eliminate the possibility of a dictatorship or tyrannical rulership, thereby impacting the lives of both present and future generations. All members of the population are given the opportunity to contribute to the development of their community regardless of their roots, sex, financial situation, or educational background. This is why most voting choices made in Nigeria are distorted, due to inadequate information. Public policy at the local and national level can also be shaped by voting and it is a duty of citizens to vote for a candidate who represents the lesser evil when all the candidates are shady.

Voters displaying their voter’s cards

 

It is also very important for citizens not to vote for particular political parties but instead, cast their votes for the most eligible candidate, regardless of his or her party. Voting for a candidate out of ignorance, or for money, sex, or religion will result in corrupt and incompetent leaders. This is why it is pertinent to find a candidate that supports your political views and cast your vote for such an individual. The fact remains; each vote counts, therefore you can make a difference with your votes.

So many Nigerians believe voting is a waste of time because the top political parties rig elections. But this is a sham because if your vote does not count, politicians would not spend millions campaigning and trying to sway your mind in voting for them. For rigging to be possible, people’s votes are needed as the inflation of these votes needs to look realistic as well.

On the other hand, apathy to voting could be as a result of illiteracy or unwillingness. This however will not bring change; political apathy and unwillingness to vote usually places a country in the hands of inept and irresponsible government officials. Not voting is indirectly voting against democracy and it also means you are giving up your right to influence government decision. More Nigerians should get involved in elections and acquire political education because they become good and responsible citizens by going through this process.

CHALLENGING THE STATUS QUO

Exceptional leaders are often known to be distinct in their thoughts and deeds thus challenging the system in which they find themselves in. This they do, not for pleasure, but because they realize a need to add to what has been laid down or rip apart what they consider to be dysfunctional.

Every leader that has ever wanted to create and achieve greatness has had to challenge the status quo. Challenging the status quo takes an open mind, open heart and open will. To have an open heart, you need to inspire and encourage others to take a chance. To have an open will, you must be willing to risk and take bold steps. And lastly, to have an open mind, you need to be constantly learning and growing. No one who derives bliss in the comfort of his shells can challenge the system. People who challenge the system are outspoken, they test the proven, speak up about the unspoken and as well challenge the unchallenged.

For you to be a great leader, to move from mediocrity to a tangible level of awesomeness and greatness, you have to venture out. To create something meaningful, what you create has to be of tangible significance, different and of value. And to build something substantial, you have to maintain a strong stand on what you are advocating for. Nothing terrific has ever been achieved by doing things the way others do things.

Nothing great is ever achieved easily and instantaneously, it is difficult and takes time. Series of practical and pragmatic decisions leads to success in the long run. To achieve success, you have to be bold, courageous, fearless and brave to stand the storm because the system would always fight back.

Before venturing into challenging the norm, you must first understand what you are going into and ask yourself these:

  • What needs to be amended?
  • What needs to remain and be improved?
  • What outcome do I expect?
  • Who gets to benefit, me or a whole lot of others who the system oppresses?
  • What do we get to learn?

You should understand, when challenging the status quo, you aren’t just challenging the system but yourself by pushing your limits and discovering a whole new side of you. You discover what you can and cannot do. It’s a whole new level of personal voyage of discovery. Taking up a challenge is a personal decision but you should understand it is an obligation to stand up for what is right and challenge what you deem wrong.

As a leader, reflection is vital. After achieving your aim of challenging the status quo, you need to ask yourself these:

  • What have I learned?
  • What could I have done better?
  • Is it really worth it?
  • Are people on board with the new change?

The answers you derive from these questions you ask yourself determines if truly what you fought for was a success of still a work in progress. It makes you aware if what you are fighting for or the results you have gotten so far needs more modifications for improved results.

Great leaders like Mandela, Gandhi, Harriett Tubman, Nnamdi Azikiwe, Kwame Nkrumah and a whole lot of other African independence movement leaders are exceptional leaders who challenged the status quo. Think big and wide and do not wait till you get to top political posts before you can create change. Start from where you are and change things in your locality before aiming too high.

The Bridge Leadership Foundation encourages positive change, a deviation from the status quo and an arrival at something new, creative, innovative, better and beneficial. We charge you to take the world by its helm and make it a better place for everyone who lives in it.

 

REINVENTING EDUCATION IN AFRICA

 

Education across Africa has always been faulted as not far reaching and not enough to cater for the educational need of the continent’s population. The literacy rate of Africa, with the exception of a few countries, is disturbing and needs a lot of efforts in addressing. According to UNESCO, Africa is the only continent where more than half of the parents cannot help their children with their homework because of illiteracy.

This is quite alarming because education is needed in acquiring basic skills needed to get through challenges we go through in life, be you a kid, teenager or adult. With the absence of education, little wonder the epileptic growth of most African countries in the areas of economic growth and development.

The core  issues of African education are the continent’s inability to adapt its curricular, research and teaching methods to a changing continent and world. In so many African educational institutions, outdated books, theories, researches, teaching methods etc. are still in use widely and these tell on the grade of graduates they produce. Graduates who think old, who aren’t well versed with new theories and thoughts, thus a bit backward in a fast changing world as compared to the west. This is why when students graduate; their skills do not fit what the society demands of them.

Another issue with education is accessibility and quality. It is worthy to note that availability does not determine quality. In so many African countries, the availability of schools is limited and cannot accommodate the fast growing population. The available ones are mostly substandard when compared to their counterparts in the west. You go to some African schools and you find students sitting on the floor and windows in classes and the usage of slate, bad chalkboards and the likes for taking notes and teaching respectively. This is quite sad.

There is the need to build more schools to cater for the need of the chronic rise in population. It is the case of unavailability of schools that makes children sit back at home; or have to walk or take buses to long distances to get to school; or overcrowding in classrooms of the available schools. Little is assimilated when a class is crowded and rowdy. And in the case of higher education, due to unavailability of so many universities in some countries, rigorous benchmarks are set to reduce candidates for admission, leaving thousands back and unable to gain admission till the following year. This is quite depressing because this causes emotional trauma for so many people, people giving up on their dreams after so many trials and moving into trade and the likes.

Also the acute shortage of trained teachers for basic education is quite frustrating good education in Africa. This problem is quite vivid in sub-Saharan Africa. According to UNESCO, sub-Saharan Africa would need a number of 2.2 million new teaching positions by 2030, while filling about 3.9 vacant positions due to attrition. The continuous employment of untrained teachers for basic education is of course not advisable as the continent has realized its shortcomings over the years of indulging in such.

This reality is acknowledged by so many governments in Africa and their efforts towards resuscitating the standards of education in their various countries cannot be belittled. But it is also worthy to note that there is still need for more efforts geared in addressing this concern.

The governments of Africa should put more efforts in reforming and revitalizing higher education to better address issues of access, relevance and quality. This should be done for all levels of education.

The government more efforts in capacity building in training and research for higher education institutions in order to strengthen the knowledge society. Also, promoting the use of ICT as a tool to broaden access to information and knowledge and open new opportunities for education should be an approach that should be utilized and maximized.

Also, there is the need for the employment of quality teachers. Trained teachers, and not people who just dabble into the line of teaching because of unemployment, should be employed as teachers and lecturers of schools and tertiary institutions respectively.

Africa is a continent endowed with potentials, talents, creativity and enthusiasm. Access to education and resources to make these endowments thrive would make the continent experience an intense turnaround for good and greatness.

2018 CAREER DAY CONFERENCE

In the last two decades, youths across the globe and particularly Africa have been regarded and talked about as the pillars upon which the advancement and development of the African continent depends upon. The problem however is that youths have been largely excluded from all policy making, decision making, and strategy development and implementation initiatives of government. The enabling environment which should maximize and promote existing youth creativity, potential, innovation and energy across education, health, science and technology, business, agriculture, manufacturing, processing, environment and political space is consistently lacking in varying degrees from one government to the other.

Nigeria’s population is estimated at 182 million with over 70% said to be below 30 years of age and across the country there is a growing concern of how the dividends of democracy inspired by Good Governance is increasingly becoming an unrealistic and unachievable future. Though considered to be a youthful country, the nation is still challenged with a slow economy, decaying education sector, poor health sector, severe unemployment, huge underemployment, incapacitated and unequipped institutions, insecurity and a shocking lack of value for life. This is disturbing as it should be and suggestive of certain probable situations which we are not satisfied with.

The 2018 TBLF Career Day themed “Youths, Good Governance and The Future We Want” would seek to provide a framework for how the youths can actively GET INVOLVED in the demand for good governance in a manner that ensures that the enabling environment for youth to thrive is created; government becomes more strategic in integrating youths into policy and decision matters of nation building and together create a system where all relevant partners can work towards creating THE FUTURE WE WANT.

Sub-Themes

  • Envisioning a New Future: Mind Shift and Human Capacity Development
  • Empowering youths in gainful enterprise: A tool for youth participation in good governance
  • Increasing youth participation in inclusive political and development processes

Date Saturday, July 14, 2018

Venue: Calabar International Convention Centre, CICC Summit Hills, Calabar

Time: 8am prompt

Speakers:

     

    

    

    

    

   

TRANSFORMATIONAL LEADERSHIP

Raising a generation of transformational leaders is at the core of what The Bridge Leadership Foundation stands for. Today, we would be expounding on what the concept of transformational leadership is, who they are and how you can become one.

Transformational leadership is a renowned but not a common leadership style which induces employee productivity, satisfaction and success. This leadership enhances the motivation, morale and performance of followers through a variety of mechanisms. Basically, transformational leadership seeks to create valuable and positive change in the followers with the aim of developing followers into leaders someday.

The concept of transformational leadership was first introduced by James Burns in 1978, in one of his research works on political leaders. According to Burns, transformational leadership is a process in which leaders and followers help each other to advance to a higher level of morale and motivation. He believes transformational leaders are those who seek to change existing thoughts, techniques, and goals for better and greater good. He as well believes people who exhibit this style of leadership are those who focus on the essential needs of the followers.

Examples of Transformational Leaders

  1. Herbert Macaulay: An exceptional Nigerian leader who is considered to be the father of Nigeria’s nationalism. He was born in 1864 and died in 1946. Macaulay was widely known to fight colonial government in Nigeria in his days. He founded the first political party in Nigeria; Nigerian National Democratic Party (NNDP) in 1923. This platform through which Nigerians could rule over Nigerians. The year the political party was created, it won all the whole seats in the legislative council in 1923, 1928 and 1933. His contribution to Nigeria’s political sphere cannot be overemphasized. He started the wave of Nigeria’s nationalism and other leaders in the Nigerian hemisphere were stimulated and they keyed into his ideology. His party laid the foundation towards Nigeria gaining its independence in 1960.

  1. Harriet Tubman: She was an American abolitionist who was born into slavery in 1822. She was able to escape from Maryland to Philadelphia. But she did amazing things which distinguished her as a transformational leader. After her escape, she made 13 successful rescue missions for slaves of her kind at from Maryland – parents, friends and other enslaved people. She was able to free up to 70 people without experiencing any death of any during those missions. She as well fought for women’s suffrage in America, as far back as 1896. She collaborated with the Union Army, a party in the American civil war, which led to the freedom of 700 slaves from brutal slavery. She is distinguished for excellence because of her bravery and her zeal to fight the system. Her zeal to end slavery and the determination in giving women of her kind a voice in the determination of who rules over them.

 

Noticeable Characteristics of Transformational Leaders

The following are some of the attributes of transformational leaders:

  1. Self-management: Transformational leaders have a sense of direction within them. They are focused and think future, hence manage themselves well.
  2. Make difficult decisions: Times come when leaders have to take difficult decisions. Transformational leaders do not shy away from taking hard decisions for the benefit of attaining organizations’ values, visions goals and objectives.
  3. Share collective organizational consciousness: Transformational leaders share the collective consciousness of the entire organization. He understands the employees and knows how to encourage and stimulate desired results from the team members.
  4. Inspirational: The leaders inspire their employee and colleagues. People who work for them and with them draw inspiration from their lifestyle, what they stand for and what they work towards achieving.
  5. Entertain new ideas: Transformational leaders do not turn down new ideas or the thoughts of those they work with. They entertain new diverse ideas and extract what could be of value to the movement, association or organization, from it.
  6. Proactive: These leaders are those who work the talk and not just talk the talk. They act rather than complain over circumstances.
  7. Lead with vision: Transformational leaders set practical, realistic and achievable visions. These visions are communicated to others so they can fit into them and they can work in unison towards achieving a common vision.

The characteristics of transformational leaders are inexhaustible. The above listed are just a few.

Steps in Becoming a Transformational Leader

  1. Create an inspiring vision: The main reason people follow a leader is because of his visions. The vision you want people to fit into has to be creative and inspiring.
  2. Motivate and convince people on why they should fit into your vision: You make them understand why this vision exists, what it tends to achieve, the problems it tends to solve and they get to benefit from the cause.
  3. Manage delivery of the vision: Working on set out objectives and visions is important. You must be able to combine effective time management, change management and project management. Get as much hands on deck if need be.
  4. Ensure you build honest and trust based relationships with people: In the course of achieving your vision, avoid losing the trust of those you work with. Carry everyone along, motivate and inspire them towards achieving their own goals and dreams.

The Bridge Leadership Foundation is committed to transforming the lives of marginalized youths who will ultimately become our future leaders. We look forward to you changing things for the better wherever you find yourself.

A GENERATIONAL SHIFT OF LEADERS IN AFRICA

The concept of leadership in Africa has begun to gain more momentum than ever among Africans with everyone willing to cast their votes in electing leaders of their choice, removing mediocre leaders and standing up against long time autocrats.

After the wave of decolonization, states which benefited from the leadership of enlightened rulers experienced advanced development while those who had mediocre leaders were hunched down in misery and plagued with poor management. This is the reason why, after 50 years of independence, we cannot help raising this question of leadership; the future of the black continent will, in effect, depend on a proper understanding of this issue.

Since independence, there have been three categories of African leaders over the years. The freedom fighters, i.e. those that led the independence struggle for different African states and eventually led their countries; the military rulers; and the democratic rulers who came in as a result of the wave of democratization in Africa. But looking back in time and looking at the decadence of the African continent, there is a need for a fourth generation of leaders.

From 1960 to 1970 the management of political power was handled, on the whole, by people of different professions, from teachers to African union leaders. Despite their rather diverse levels of training, these first African leaders were all united in their clamour for the same demand, i.e. that of nationalism, which was considered to be requisite in order to free themselves more effectively from the colonial yoke and build the foundations of a true nation.

Even at a time different African political leaders believed and operated in different ideologies, they still had the interest of Africa at heart. Statesmen like Félix Houphouët-Boigny (Côte d’Ivoire), Ahmed Sékou Touré (Guinea) and Modibo Keita (Mali), Obafemi Awolowo (Nigeria), Kwame Nkrumah in Ghana, Mau Mauof Jomo Kenyatta (Kenya), Léopold Sédar Senghor (Senegal), Omar Bongo (Gabon) and Amadou Ahidjo (Cameroon), William Richard Tolbert (Liberia), Aboubacar Sangoulé Lamizana (former Upper Volta) Ngarta Tombalbaye (Chad) amongst so many others worked towards the realization of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) in 1963 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Despite the difficulties that these first leaders faced in the management of their respective countries, they nonetheless left an important legacy that continues to serve as a reference today. This legacy is Pan-Africanism, which has become a major requirement to better confront the risks of turning Africa into a warring continent.

Also, it is worth noting that these founding fathers, in West Africa, worked towards the establishment of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

The struggle started by these first leaders in support of building a nation and Pan-Africanism was still in its early phase when a new generation of leaders, i.e. the military, came and put an end to it. Thus, from 1970 to 1990 almost all African States, with some rare exceptions, fell into the hands of the military. This marked the start of autocratic regimes, even in those rare countries whose leaders were not from the military. This was characterized by the reign of single parties, bringing an end to the hope that was born of independence.

The period from 1980 to 1990 was particularly hard for African countries, as a result of widespread economic recession and high levels of debt. The search for a solution to this period of economic crises brought a certain generalization of structural adjustment programmes. However, such programmes can only be implemented properly against a political backdrop of freedom and a free market economy. Consequently, as from 1990, Africa was subjected to the democratization of State and society, with a return to multi-party politics and the arrival on the African scene of a new generation of leaders, made up of both “civilized” military officers, some old leaders of civilian origin and young politicians, many of whom had served as advisers to the military regimes between 1970 and 1990.

The arrival of democracy in Africa did not bring a radical transformation of the political classes. The combination of leaders during this democratic period, between civilians and military, did not allow democracy to be a true success or, more importantly, a factor for progress.

All told, African political leaders since 1960, whether nationalists in the first instance, military personnel during the autocratic period, or leaders during the decade of structural adjustment, have, with very few exceptions, failed in their mission, by making Africa the least advanced continent on the planet. So, since 1960 the State has never been adopted by the Africans. The State is the product of foreign powers and represents the passing of the baton of colonial ideology. Therefore, the political leaders that Africa has known so far are largely seen as mere puppets of the dominant powers.

This brings us to the next category of leaders. Leaders Africans need to change or are already changing the narrative of their countries and the African continent at large. These are transformational leaders. Young leaders who have the interest of the state they rule at heart and not their personal gains. These are people who understand leadership and know how to wield it with all humility, responsibility and accountability. These are ones who would cause a change and turn around the poverty of the continent, resist imperialism, bring back to reality pan-Africanism and ensure progress on the African continent.

The era of these set of leaders is fast approaching. Africans are more than ever interested in having competent leaders to lead them and take them out of the persistent hardship and poverty the continent has been experiencing over the years. The narrative of Africa is set to change in a number of years to come.