Leadership has been described as the ability to influence others. An effective leader moves followers into action not with coercion but by eliciting their desire and conviction in the vision and goals articulated by the leader. Misused influence can bring about catastrophic results. But properly channeled, positive influence can bring about great change as individual actions align with group efforts to produce gains that grow exponentially. A leader, who, through focused and deliberate effort, exerts a positive influence on others, will build trust and become a true driving force toward excellence.
Ambassador Zainab Mohammed is one of the leading women who uses her platform to advocate for education, empowerment, leadership, and entrepreneurship. She is the National Coordinator for Rural Women Development (P4RWD) and the Nigerian Young Women Political Forum (NYWPF).
As a role model, an ambassador, leader, political adviser, grass-root canvasser, public speaker, and mother, Ambassador Zainab has carved out a niche in the world with her captivating educational background which enables her to hold various political positions in different capacities, lead various organizations and worked on many projects.
To her credit, Ambassador Zainab Mohammed has over two decades of local and global experience with sterling awards and recognitions. Her influence and impact cut across all the 36 states of Nigeria and across the globe.
In this exclusive interview, Ambassador Zainab Mohammed shares her views with ADEWALE ADENRELE on leadership, entrepreneurship development, and evaluation of the APC-led administration in Nigeria.
Below are excerpts:
Leadership is a dynamic process, which deserves study. It is a relational process involving interactions among leaders, members, and sometimes outside constituencies. What have been the most challenging and most rewarding aspects of leadership for you?
Some of the biggest challenges is having to deal with some multifaceted issues that evolve in our everyday ever-changing world. Ironically, in providing needed Leadership to sort out these challenges, there is this sense of rewards that satisfying from within me and again becomes the propeller to do more. And this has improved a lot in relationships with other leaders across the micro strata of leadership.
In the past 20 years, sub-Saharan Africa has achieved some of the most dramatic breakthroughs in the world. The number of female legislators on the continent has increased, would you consider yourself as a legislator someday, and what would you do differently?
The democratization process has taken root in the sub- Sahara Africa and as such the sense of freedom or franchise is growing & emancipation of women is naturally flowing along this, hence, the increasing numbers of women in Politics today!! Varying it directly with the question, I still feel we are still at the embryonic stage as far as women’s participation or holding elective legislative positions is concerned and why not, if am privileged to have the nod for my constituency for representation, I would ensure that every women emancipation related bill is lobby upon to get passage to law, ensure serious laws are passed for the restructuring of the Nigeria State functionally.
Reports put forward a new narrative of fear in the mind of Nigerians due to insecurity: from insurgency to banditry and kidnapping with no proactive measures from the govt. Do you think PMB’s administration has failed Nigerians, what would you advise the president?
To say that President Buhari has failed Nigeria is in bad taste as far as am concerned. This FG with all sense of fairness has done well across the tripod of it administration which is the Anti-corruption crusade, economy, and security.
This is the least FG in revenue earnings since 1999 and this is the only government that has done legacy-based economy and social infrastructures in this fourth republic. As we speak there is no state across the 36states without a President Muhammadu Buhari huge Project, no State or LGAs that’s not benefited from his NSIP(National Social Investment Program), no LGAs without a Buhari health center, roads repairs, the rail revolution, power generation, etc. Three gigantic sign post legacy projects that Buhari would be remembered for, are: Lagos -Ibadan six lanes expressway (South-West), Abuja-Kano (North), and Second Niger-Bridge (South East) the combination of these three projects in cost is more than 2trillion
A video went viral a few days showing some Nigerians in captivity including teenagers, adults, and aged parents being flogged mercilessly by their abductors. How would you react to this?
As much as it’s disheartening to watch, we should not also forget that the plot and ways of the bandit, and abductors used such as weapons of propaganda. The FG as a matter of urgency should do everything possible to rescue these people within the shortest possible time.
Do you think FG should maximize forests for Agricultural development to curb kidnapping and banditry and to create more jobs?
Firstly, I think as journalists, you guys need more research on the responsibility of government in a federal structure like Nigeria. The question should rather be asked how forest utilization should be well maximized across the three tiers of government for agricultural purposes and thereby curbing the use of forests as hideouts for banditry and kidnapping business.
Agriculture is in the second schedule of the Nigeria Constitution and as such, every LGAs, and state has equal constitutional rights and responsibilities as the FG to promote, formulate and drive agricultural policies independent of the FG!! If all the tiers of government do half in programs and policies as the FG, we would have moved faster. Therefore, it’s the responsibility of all the tiers of government to maximize the utilization of forests to curb crimes.
It’s been over five months that University lecturers are on strike over payment of salaries among other issues with FG, what is the lasting solution to end this?
The university is in the education sector that’s also in the second schedule of the Nigeria Constitution. All the 36states. Government by such implications also needs input in providing solutions. The FG has been blackmailed over time into this poor narrative of “ASUU VS FG” as if states’ own University lecturers are not ASUU members. The issues are clear to any sane and non-sentiment-driven group or individual to know. The FG has the right as an “Employer” of ASUU to determine the platform for their salary payment to curb corruption and anything outside that is unpatriotic on the part of the lecturers.
The lasting solution is for a total declaration of a state emergency in the education sector.
As a party member, leader and mother, do you sincerely think this administration has done well, if you are to rate or evaluate, what % would you have given, from which sector?
Beyond partisanship, even I would rate the Buhari-led FG in the following rate across sectors.
1. Economy stability in the midst of world economy crises = 60%
2. Security has been challenging for him as he tamed the terrorists in the northeast, another kind of banditry came in the picture and he is hurting them down so I give it 50%
3. Infrastructural revolution; I score this administration 70%
4. Corruption; = 50%
5. Social welfare scheme= 75%
6. Health: 65%
7. Solid minerals development; = 70%
Overall I score him 65%
What will it take to build entrepreneurship and employment in Nigeria? And what are you/ your organization trying to do to move the needle?
The following are needed for entrepreneurship development in Nigeria.
* Refine your interpersonal skills,
* Be confident, friendly and approachable–consistently.
* Connect with other entrepreneurs
* Join communities in your industry
* Make a book list
* Practice resilience.
* Ring fence time to de-stress
* Keep your learning activities.
But to drive employment, we as a people must begin to encourage the production of those things we have the comparative advantage of and reduce our consumption of things we can produce here!! Encouraging production by extension means encouraging employment generation.
In our organization, our core interest is serving as the needed big bridge within the strata of commerce and Industries. We bring the commercial value and worth into the effort in industrial production is what’s needed to drive entrepreneurship amongst producers and consumers, thereby serving as a catalyst for employment generation.
Thank you for sharing with African Development Magazine.
You are welcome. Thanks.