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Long time ago, many Nigerian scholars were constructively bothered about how and why Nigeria still remained backward inspite of the abundance of top rated and highly prized human and natural resources.

The interrogation about the paradox of a Country that is so enormously wealthy and yet the greatest percentage of the citizenry are miserably poor has resonated since the last five decades.

One of the finest thinkers to have emerged on the African scene  Professor Chinua Achebe thought through this interrogatory and came to the philosophical conclusion that basically the foundation of the entire gamuts of the Nigerian deplorable situations originate undoubtedly from dysfunctionality in the quality of leaders we churn out as a nation in all spheres of life.

Writing in his classic titled “The Trouble with Nigeria” Professor Chinua Achebe agreed that indeed if Nigeria is to make phenomenal progress and achieve some kind of developmental milestones, the Country needs to just find a way of bringing charismatic citizens to the position of leadership in every fields of human endeavours because basically there is nothing functionally wrong with the Nigerian climate or weather.

Charismatic leadership in the calculation of some experts who constituted the teamwork is basically the method of encouraging particular behaviors in others by way of eloquent communication, persuasion and force of personality.  Charismatic leaders motivate followers to get things done or improve the way certain things are done.  This is accomplished by conjuring up eagerness in others to achieve a stated goal or vision.  In essence, the charismatic leadership style has its basis in a form of heroism.  This leadership style is almost of divine origin.

What are the Characteristics of Charismatic Leaders? If one may ask.

As previously mentioned, charismatic leaders are communicators who are extremely skilled.  These individuals are very eloquent verbally and they have the ability to communicate with the people they lead on a profound, emotional level.  One of the advantages of charismatic leadership is the ability of these individuals to articulate a captivating or compelling vision.  They have the capacity to evoke strong emotions in their followers as well, (see

Not done yet, these group of scholars also affirmed that In addition, charismatic leaders have the distinct ability to dissect and decipher any inefficiency within an organization.  These visionary traits attributed to this leadership style often result from critical thinking, the compilation of facts and finding ways to solve a variety of problems.

In the year 2015, the concept of Charismatic leadership  resonated with those who sought to win the mantle of political leadership in the Country.

This was exactly why the electioneering process that culminated in the general elections became vibrant and passionate.

Both the then incumbent President and his then frontline opponent who later emerged victorious Muhammadu Buhari took the conversations around the issues of charismatic leadership with added impetus.

Buhari was able to convince the majority of the electorate then that he was an agent of change and therefore imbued with charisma for service to fatherland.

Three years down the line the current President is credited with making some kind of landmark appointments that turned up as golden opportunities for the nation to witness phenomenal turn around.

One of his achievements however is the appointment of a tested and trusted military General with sound education as the nation’s chief of Army staff to be at the head of Africa’s largest Army. The emergence of the current Chief Of Army staff Lieutenant General Tukur Yusuf was marked by tremendous sense of joy amongst the different segment of the body politics given that the General is generally known to be a thoroughbred professional soldier.

Nigerian Army is also amongst the very few institutions in the World that won laurels in global peace keeping operations.

The choice of Lieutenant General Tukur Yusuf Buratai to head the Nigerian Army in an administration whose focus is on bringing about positively constructive change in the approaches  to attain rapid nation building processes will for a long time remain one of the very best made by President Muhammadu Buhari.

General Buratai is generally believed to be a charismatic military General who believes in constitutional purity and who keeps insisting that the Nigerian Army must operate in line with global best practices and must adhere to rules of engagements at all times. His leadership has added academic embellishments to the leadership models in the military sector going by his overwhelming focus on capacity building for his operatives and man power development all geared towards building one of the World’s best military institution. He managed to bring about humility and access to the leadership of one of the best respected military institutions around the World in the contemporary times.

For those of us in the organized civil society community, the current Army Chief of Staff entered the Guinness book of World’s record as the first to concretize the enthronement of mainstreaming respect for human rights in the modus operandi and modus vivendi of the Nigerian military institution.

He remains one military top General that does not believe in remaining in the cocoons of the comfortable air conditioned office space to dish out outlandish orders to his field workers. A serving Brigadier General once told me that the Chief of Army staff Lieutenant General Tukur Yusuf Buratai is a believer in the saying that leadership must go with good examples.

As a charismatic leader he constantly visits the battlefield in the North East of Nigeria to direct the foot soldiers and to motivate them to maintain the tempo of battles against the armed boko haram terrorists. The welfare of his combatants is top most in his hierarchy of duties.

As a civil society leader who has had some forms of official interactions in the line of duty as defenders of human rights of Nigerians with the top General, I can attest that Buratai reminds me of some of the teachings of Plato in his republic.

Recall that the Ancient Greece Philosopher Plato divided his just society into three classes thus, the producers, the auxiliaries and the guardians.

The auxiliaries are the warriors, responsible for defending the city from invaders, and for keeping the peace at home. They must enforce the convictions of the guardians, and ensure that the producers obey.

For me, this is the locus classicus in the public conversations on the issue of charismatic leadership. Buratai exemplified an enforcer and disciplinarian who does not tolerate unethical conducts.

His footprints in the history of nation building process which is ongoing will inevitably receive illustrious commentaries by objective historians.  He is nevetheless imperfect as a Being created by the Perfect Being.

One mark of a charismatic leader is the disposition to comply with all extant procurement laws and the readiness to open up to the demands of accountability and transparency which the current Chief of Army staff Lieutenant General Tukur Yusuf Buratai possess in abundance.

Take for instance his rapid response to the cacophony of Freedom of information request on the expenses incurred by the  Nigerian Army in the ongoing  counter terror war as presented by some credible Lagos based civil society groups including SERAP.

Openness, transparency and accountability are some of the rare qualities Buratai has brought to bear in the discharge of his onerous duties even whilst he competently and professionally provides great leadership in the affairs of running the Nigerian Army.  Nigerian Army has become a greater professional institution that has the potentials for further and better advancements which he seems to be putting in place. Above all, he is a man who is open to constructive criticisms and is a voracious reader. This i can attest to.

*Emmanuel Onwubiko is head of Human rights Writers Association of Nigeria and blogs @;;

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