President Buhari’s Visit To Cross River And 5 Important Lessons In Leadership BY EMMANUEL ETIM

In Breaking News, Columnists, National News, Opinion, Politics

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When I thought about contributing to the conversation on the proposed visit of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to Cross River State to perform the ground breaking for the Super Highway, I observed that the conversations so far have revolved around issues which have been over flogged, leaving out the very important lessons which could leave us all with lasting impact.

This article seeks to unveil and communicate the lessons that are inherent in Sen. Prof. Ayade Benedict’s ambition to build a super highway in the state, his ability to successfully bring the President to the state for the ground breaking and how we can apply these lessons to our lives to achieve success individually and collectively.



“Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though chequered by failure, than to take ranks with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.”

This quote by Theodore Roosevelt has for long become a principle for me and gives a background to my support for the big dreams of Sen. Benedict Ayade’s administration. The President of Africa’s most populous nation, Nigeria is by no means a small personality.

Aside from his status and standing among the committee of nations, he is also a very busy person considering the issues, in all the states, which constantly require his attention, contribution and much needed action.

To be able to get him to attend to the function of ground breaking for the Super Highway means that this is not only worth his time but also in line with his vision. That is what big dreams do; they get the attention of big people and get a commitment from them to act and support the dream to succeed.

The dream to build the first super highway complete with all the modern facilities in Cross River State, a state which is not among the highest earning states in Nigeria, is a big dream and is bound to attract many big people, the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria being just one of many to come.

Do you have a dream? Is that dream big enough? Can you dare to achieve it? Go ahead today and dream of something big and go out to achieve it. That big dream will attract big people to you. Do not dream small dreams, small dreams attract small people and small people only bring trouble.


David McNally said and I quote “Commitment is the enemy of resistance, for it is the serious promise to press on, to get up, no matter how many times you are knocked down.”

There could be no better words to describe Sen. Benedict Ayade’s commitment to continue and achieve success in the construction of the deep sea port and the super highway project in the past few months and getting the President to come for the ground breaking ceremony.

There have been resistances both visible and invisible, from within the state and without, from the Peoples Democratic Party and the All Progressive Congress. The governor has even been knocked down many times but he has refused to stay down, he gets up, presses on and success is what has surely come out of it.

Be not deceived, the journey has only begun, there are more challenges ahead but his commitment is sure to see us through.

These words from Goethe should give us the faith to go on; “The moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.”

What is that thing you want to achieve? Have you made the needed commitment to it? Without commitment nothing can be achieved. Go on and make the commitment to that one thing you want to achieve and see yourself succeed.


Vision can be defined as the ability to think about or plan the future with imagination or wisdom. The Cambridge Online Dictionary also defines vision as the ability to imagine how a country, state, industry, etc. could develop in the future and to plan for this.

Vision is an important quality of a good leader. Provision on the other hand in this context is defined as the act of supplying needed resources; financial, material and otherwise needed to achieve a set goal.

Limitation in financial provision is a major impediment to many people but I had learnt a long time ago that the power of vision often brings the needed provision to achieve that vision.

Cross River State has been called many things including “a poor state” and many more.

Many who sought to lead the state would never have conceived of such bold initiative because of this but a leader will always distinguish himself with the quality of his vision. The Super Highway is a worthwhile vision and has shown that it has the power to attract the required funding and bring the needed development to the state.

What is your vision of your future. Is that vision bold and audacious? Remember that whatever a man can conceive in his heart he can achieve. Go on and see the vision of a better tomorrow and the vision will bring the required provision.


As the President finally comes to visit the state on Tuesday, a few questions keep coming to my mind. I have not been able to answer them and I wish I would get some answers soon.

Some of these questions are “Where will the critics be on the day of the visit?” “Will they be a part of the ceremony or will they just stay back at home?” “Will they be happy about the visit or will they just be sad or just indifferent?”

Whatever the answers are, this saying is apt “A statue has never been set up in honour of a critic!” Do not get me wrong, there is room for constructive criticism in sustainable democracy, and this can help a leader evaluate his actions.

But some people just give me the impression they are out to make this administration fail. The development of Cross River State is a collective project and all hands must be on deck to achieve this.

Let this be a clarion call to all to make the success of the state project a priority. If we must criticize, we must do so constructively. For the benefit of doubt, constructive criticism is defined by as criticism or advice that is useful and intended to help or improve something, often with an offer of possible solutions.

Do not waste your precious time criticizing people’s actions and inactions. Spend more time creating solutions to the myriad challenges that face the society today. Your success is in the solutions not in the criticism. Someday, a statue will be set up in your honour.


This is a very important lesson in leadership. A leader must understand that a person does not need to be in his camp to support his vision. In fact it is wrong to presume that everyone in the other camp will oppose your development proposition. It is beautiful to see people cooperate across political lines for the development of the nation.

This is also a lesson in the reverse; it is wrong for some people to think that because they belong to a different political party they must fight every initiative of the state governor. Cross River State is our state and we must work together to build it. Only one person can be governor per time and when that one person is at the helm of affairs, we must all support him to succeed.

In line with this, I will use this opportunity to appreciate this glaring leadership quality in President Mohammadu Buhari, the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. As he said in his inauguration speech, “I belong to everybody and to nobody” he has demonstrated by this act that he is a true leader and is committed to achieving a paradigm shift in leadership in Nigeria.

Keep your focus on the things that bring unity and not on the things that bring disunity. If your dream is big enough and your vision is clear enough, they will make even your enemy to work with you. Cooperate with all but give yourself wholly to none. This is the secret of success.


These are just a few of many lessons in leadership we can learn from the visit of the President to Cross River State which is billed for Tuesday 20th October, 2015. As the President performs the ground breaking and departs, let us put these lessons to practice and see how we will begin to succeed in our lives individually and collectively.

Most importantly, let us all cooperate and work together to make Cross River State succeed.

Kind Regards.

Emmanuel Etim is a development consultant based in Nigeria, (

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