Leadership & Management

‘Authorities in Nigeria need to Learn True Leadership’

Modupe Festus, the Managing Director of Alpha Cargo Services, a logistic company based in Manchester, is a Nigerian living in the United Kingdom and running a successful business. In this interview with FinIntell, he shares his thoughts on varying issues as it concerns Nigeria, his country of birth.

What do you think is the main problem facing development in Nigeria and the persistent business failures entrepreneurs encounter in the country?

I think the problem facing development in Nigeria can be identified as leadership problem. Nigeria lack good leadership and the more reason why the leaders themselves complain about the country. Nigeria leaders are not true leaders even though we call them leaders.

There is a difference between being a leader and being in power. Most people who are in position of authority in Nigeria have power but cannot lead because they lack the two critical dimensions of leadership: sense of service and knowledge.

There are several factors why businesses fail in Nigeria. High cost of operation is one. Most businesses spent large percent of their revenue on operation which electrical power supply is major. The Nigerian government must concentrate on achieving stable power supply so that businesses, both small and big ones can stand a better chance of surviving and thereby contribute to boosting the economy in the long run.

What is the solution to the problem of leadership in Nigeria?

I believe that the solution to this problem begins with the individuals. What we see when we stand in front of the mirror is the way out of Nigeria’s problem. We must have a sense of service towards each others.

For instance, as a tax payer in the UK for instance, you can sue the government for not providing infrastructure in the country. I would love to see such situation in Nigeria where the government is taken to court for not fixing roads or for not doing enough to give us electricity.

I would also like to see something like a million people march at different location in Nigeria to demand better utilisation of tax payers’ money.

The current tax payment crusade by all forms of government in Nigeria has shown that the economic crisis has pushed the government to start focusing on how to generate more revenue from taxation since the oil sector has been experiencing dwindling performances.

Do you think that the poor utilisation of tax payers’ fund by government is the reason why some individuals have opted not to pay their taxes? 

There is no valid reason for citizens not to pay tax. I am of the considered opinion that advocating tax revolt will be tantamount to revolting against the constitution and proper laws of Nigeria as a country and that will probably be a serious criminal matter.

However, what citizens should do is to demand accountability through consumer advocacy groups from their government and their law makers for taxes paid.

 I would like the citizens to organise marches and sit-ins in public places so that government can be forced to take action and be accountable. What we need is more public activism to hold the government and its parastatals accountable and not tax evasion or refusal.

What is the business culture like in the UK?

The UK is one of the largest, most competitive markets in the world. So, business culture here is characterised by a lot of factors which include work ethic and business etiquette, operational cost, and work-life-balance. Cultural norms and good manners in professional settings are also part of business life in the UK.

But the essential ideologies of business culture in the United Kingdom are civility, respect, discipline and punctuality. The business culture is less dictatorial but there are hierarchies in decision-making process.

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