Thursday, 9 July 2020



By Ejimofor Idam Esq 

The relationship between leadership and character is sacrosanct and an important phenomena one ought to understand in making choice of leadership.

Leadership and character are like a siemese twins. In an organised society, a likely leader is defined by his character depending on the area of life involved. Character determines leadership and leadership is a temple adorned with the features and character of its worshipers. From the adorned features of the temple, proceeds deeds and actions of the adherents.

Any person, who professes to be a leader and aspires to run/contest for any public office, has by so doing, put his character in issue; his character becomes part of the issues to be discussed, scrutinized and evaluated from the time of declaration of his interest through the campaign period. 

This is principally because of the concept of leading connotes “to go before as a guide”. In a society where pride and uncontrolled temperament is detested, bearers of such trait are not likely to be elected by the people “to go before them as their guide” since such temperament cannot balance the variants of interest an office requires, without disregarding majority of the needs, opinions and choices of the peoples.

Mary Crossan, etal., of the Ivey Business School, in their Article “Developing Leadership Character”  have put forward the following questions, which they believe are necessary in assessing intending leaders:

1. Do they have leadership competencies; 
2. Do they have the knowledge, the understanding of key concepts, facts and relationship needed to deliver efficiently;
3. Do they have the leadership commitment;
4. Are they prepared to do the hard-work of leadership? Engage with others in fulfilling the organizational mission; achieve the vision and deliver on the goals;
5. Do they have the character to be, and strive to be even better, leaders; 
6. Do they have the values, traits and virtues that the broader societies within which they operate will use to determine if they are good leaders?  

Our emphasis remains on character. Character is accessed by three basic variables which are:  (a) Trait; (b) Values; and  (c) Virtues.  Traits are habitual pattern of behavior, thought and emotion that are considered to be comparatively stable in individuals across situations and over time. Values are the guidepost for behavior; values influence behavior, because people seek more of what they value. Virtue is morally good or desirable in a leader because you are likely to be virtuous if you have a good trait and positive values. 

Thus, public statements and analyses on character should form part of discussion during electioneering campaigns. It is the explanation, given to clarify issues bordering on character or personality that swing the pendulum of candidates’ preference and voter selection, without beclouding the populace with sentimental and turbulent views, short of enlightenment but full of psychological assaults.

The idea of attacking the messenger will not and has never changed the message, but attacking the message does change the messenger, even to the extent of switching camps

As the election for the NBA presidency and other offices come up in weeks, lawyers should purge themselves of verbal attacks, ad hominen and mudslinging, but should channel their efforts towards a better understanding of the candidate and their personalities, because their character has been put in issue and form part of the campaign. 

The attitude of lawyers cyber bullying their fellow lawyers and even threatening and stalking them on social media platforms, including but not limited to Twitter, Whatsapp, Facebook et al., should henceforth be put to an end. The election and the position are ephemeral, but our standing in the bar is permanent and will continue to be, whether there is election or no election.

It is on the basis of a demonstrated competence, commitment, character and integrity that I invite lawyers across board to support Dr. Babatunde, Ajibade, SAN in his quest to unify and make the Bar better.

May we witness the impending great reformation of the Bar under a Dr. Babatunde Ajibade, SAN

Ejimofor Idam, Esq.
Port Harcourt.

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