On my recent trip to Nigeria, I witnessed great leadership, its impact in a crisis and met some of the most amazing children under some difficult circumstances.
I was travelling from Lagos to Abuja in Nigeria. The flight was delayed by several hours, but this group of children acted with the utmost calmness. They were hungry and tired having been away on a 2 week summer camp. Their behaviour prompted me to ask where they were going or coming from.
The 11 children and their young leader ( a young man who behaved well beyond his 29 years age) were great achievers from Kogi state in Nigeria. The children were aged between 8 and 17, but their general demeanour made me realised these were special children. It transpired that these were some of the best students from their state. As a result of their achievements from different parts of the state, the government sent them to the national ICT competition. They were on the two week summer competition with over two hundred other achievers from across the country.
These students won several awards during the two weeks, they were on their way back from the competition, their spirits were high as they wanted to share their achievements with their friends and family members. Their plan though was cut short when their return flight home was delayed for several hours in a crowded airport. The experience was not good even for experienced flyers, never mind these young people, most of whom were flying for the second time in their lives. These children ‘s spirits and behaviours were never dampened by the challenges.
The children behaved rather remarkably whilst many of the adults were less dignified. I became more impressed by the students as I spoke to their leader; Sadeeq Usman. The children represented Kogi state in the annual IT event and won several awards in computer programming and applications. Several of them, including an 8 year and a 10 year old won awards for the best overall students in the country in their respective categories.
Good leadership is a great asset and I hope this group is well looked after when they return home.
Lastly, these young people were part of a group that designed software to help the emergency services in Nigeria. How cool is that?
Dr.Ade Otukoya B.Sc, LLB, FCCA, MBA, PhD