An Assessment of the Roles of Leadership and Followership in Nation Building: The Nigerian Experience
This paper examined leadership and followership in nation building in Nigeria. In an ethno-centred and highly heterogeneous society life Nigeria, a well-articulated leadership and followership structure could have served for the good of all and promote the spirit of “live and let live”. But on the contrary, leadership and followership tussles have been the bane of unity and collective existence of the people. The study employed both primary and secondary sources of data collection such as oral interviews, archival materials, journals and articles, published text books etc. Since knowledge cut across disciplines, the study also adopted the interdisciplinary approach, using knowledge from related disciplines in the Humanities and Social Sciences to add to the available historical sources. The paper established that leadership and followership is the major challenge to nation building in Nigeria because it has over the years walked through the part of ethnicity and favouritism. Leadership and followership in Nigeria is without a clear vision and focus due to deliberate neglect of history, experiences of predecessors and consequences of visionless leadership and followership across the globe. The paper argued that the failure of leadership in Nigeria is as a result of the failure of followership. The followership is the watch dog of every society and as such must ensure the policing and accountability of leadership in the country. Ironically, the Nigerian followership are divided along ethnic lines with a biased approach to actions and inactions of leaders from their ethnic divides. It is against this background that the paper submits that nationhood can only be attained in Nigeria if leadership and followership is redefined with the consciousness of building a nation devoid of ethnic and religious sentiments, favouritism, nepotism and dictatorial leadership. The paper concludes that Nigeria can only be respected as the giant of Africa if her leadership and followership are restructured with national integration, unity, sustainable peace and development as the watch words.
Keywords: Leadership, Followership, Nigeria, Nation Building, Development.