The Chairman, Heirs Holdings, Mr. Tony Elumelu on Wednesday emphasised the importance of quality leadership in Nigeria and other countries in Africa while delivering a lecture at the Armed Forces Command and Staff College, Jaji, Kaduna.
Speaking at a lecture titled “Leadership: Private Sector Perspective,” Elumelu noted that leadership makes the deference between poverty and prosperity.
He further explained that the reason why a country without much endowment prospers while the one with lots of endowment lives in poverty is leadership.
Leaders are made and not born. Although certain factors shape whether a leader succeeds, these factors are not necessarily destiny-driven factors. Those who succeed are driven by a mission, they prepare for leadership.
Elumelu added that great leaders set the purpose; define it clearly, and ensures that everyone in the chain of command not only understands this purpose, but buys into it.
He called on leaders in both private and public sectors to consider legacy.
Leaders who succeed are those who think about legacy, who are concerned about how history would judge them. They understand that leadership opportunities don’t last forever. As a continent endowed with so much we must raise the standard of living of our people through conscientious leadership.
He also stressed the need for leaders to get the people equation right, while noting that leadership is about instilling confidence in people. You work and deliver results through people, he said.
The participants included the senior military officers from the rank of Major and equivalent, of the Nigerian Army, Navy and Airforce, and their instructors.
Mr. Elumelu’s commitment to leadership is perfectly illustrated in his own professional accomplishments. In 1997, aged 34, he assembled a group of other young professionals to take over a distressed bank. Within 8 -10 years, they grew the bank to a position to merge with the 3rd largest bank in Nigeria at the time. Going beyond Nigeria to Africa, United Bank for Africa (UBA) has now become a pan-African bank in 19 African countries and global footprint in key financial centres of the world – Paris, New York and London.