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.

 

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.