Prof. John Egbeazien Oshodi
The leadership of the moment in Nigeria draws from a leadership performance deficit, especially in the public service, which has plundered the socio-economic affairs of the nation to a pitiful state.
By the way of her life experiences, Oluwatobiloba Amusan, readily known as Tobi Amusan, is Nigeria’s first-ever world champion, and her background has showed some merit-based leadership ways that are worth emulating in public service and corporate quarters in Nigeria.
Tobi Amosun was decorated with a gold medal after she set a world record in the women’s 100-meter hurdles at the global track and field championships in Eugene, Oregon. The world noticed her crying as the Nigeria national anthem was played in honour of the country she was born in, Nigeria.
Tobi, as I would prefer to call her here, seemed reflective with a distant expression, and cried with tears rolling down her face. Who knows what she was thinking as handclapping came mostly from admirers, mostly white? Let’s just say she could have cried during the Nigerian national anthem because of her enduring love for her native country, despite all the ongoing chaos, pain, suffering, confusion, and resentment.
Tobi, who seemed as surprised as anyone by the blistering time she now set for the world, could be experiencing a deep thought as she let her tears flow out. For a good reason, the bad social reputation of Nigeria has just changed, if only for a time of 12.12 seconds, the record and remarkable time it took her to win the World Championship gold medal.
For Tobi, could it be that the emoticons of the Nigerian flag and the applause by those physically present inform her of discriminative barriers as a female in Nigeria and her cultivated leadership identity?
Tobi once recalled that she had to overcome doubts from Nigerian athletics officials before picking up her first senior hurdles title in 2015 at the African Games in Congo-Brazzaville. She said, “The typical Nigerian approach is to make you feel like you cannot make it..”
Tobi, who understands the pervasive and often subtle attitudes and beliefs about females in Africa, in terms of women’s achievement, which includes sports, said her father doubted her, as he felt like “there’s more to life than running around,” but in her own way, she always had plenty of belief in her own ability. With an encouraging mother, Tobi showed a commitment to ethical courage.
Regarding her current world record, she said, “I believe in my abilities.” “You know, the goal is always just to execute well and get the win.”
In one of her athletic journeys, Tobi in 2016 tweeted: “Unknown now but soon I will be unforgettable, I will persist until I succeed.”
Tobi, while speaking of talents, recalled that in Nigeria, “The officials were always picking who they wanted in the relay team. Sometimes they would say I didn’t have the experience, so they would pick whoever was their favorite” Tobi learned the importance of team psychology when she said, “My coach suggested I go try out for the track team, and I became the fastest girl on the team, and that’s how I got on the school relay team.”
The Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State-born sportsperson began her journey at Our Lady of Apostles Secondary School in Ogun State, Nigeria. Tobi received a scholarship to attend the University of Texas, El Paso (UTEP), got her degree in health promotion, and is now a full-time athlete, running track.
From Amusan’s leadership identity and styles, lessons for the Nigerian leadership, especially in our current times, include engaging in global leadership mentality with true strength, not being undisciplined, incompetent, desperate, and narrow-minded. Make sure that leadership lessons are not mixed with anti-constructive criticism, do not lead through fear, and avoid non-participatory conduct.
Tobi’s ways point to leadership lessons not categorized with the mentality of being served, tolerating wrong-doing, connections-based conduct, entitlement, unaccountability, unproductive ways, and monopoly-conscious manners.
Amusan, on that ceremony podium of a leader, showed how to lead through various turning points with allure and do it truthfully. In the words of the Labour Party (LP) presidential candidate, Pater Obi, “her tears at the ceremony podium while the Nigerian anthem played, connect that our dear country needs leaders to match the talents and ambitions of her youths.” If Tobi appears to be sending a message to Nigerian-style leadership, she is saying to those aspiring for and in power to cultivate well, to positively open themselves and practice decently, to create change, and to always pull for the greater good.
Bola Tinubu, Atiku Abubakar and others, are certainly proud of Tobi, and hopefully no one will see her as ‘that small girl’ as she comes with defining lessons on leadership and candid service. Tobi was just seen dancing to Kizz Daniel’s hit song Buga to a crowd of admirers and the international world, so I say cry no more. You have done an excellent job of teaching present and potential leaders of Nigeria different traits, qualities, and models of sportsmanship and leadership like discipline, respect, responsibility, accountability, dedication, and gratitude. It is now up to Nigerians to engage them for positive change.
Prof. Oshodi wrote in via firstname.lastname@example.org