Here is a trustworthy saying: Whoever aspires to be an overseer desires a noble task. Now the overseer is to be above reproach…
(1 Timothy 3:1-2a)
Timothy Judge and John Mueller in their 2012 research published in the Journal of Applied Psychology, defined ambition as the generalized striving for success, attainment and accomplishment. The common conception of ambition is as an inordinate desire for money, power and fame for the sake of it. However, researchers like Judge and Mueller point us to ambition’s more positive, long-term implications for success in life and leadership. They argue that ambition is what creates the inner impetus that helps drive leaders toward their vision. As someone said: “People with ambition do not simply wish they could run their own business — they go ahead and develop the business; people with ambition do not dream of writing of books, or having their photographs hang in galleries, or developing non-profit organizations to help sick children– they write books, and contact the galleries, and set up the organizations.”
True leaders possess fervent desires and the attending drive to get significant things done, true leaders have ambition.
The central point of this article is the importance of positive ambition. All across the world there are pressing problems that demand daring ideas and robust solutions. What every organization or nation needs today are leaders driven by a burning passion to create conducive environments that allow their people unleash their potentials. The world needs leaders at every level who are not content with titular appendages and the perks of office; the world needs leaders with strong moral compasses and high ambition; leaders who, in the words of Nathaniel Foote, strive to create long-term economic value, produce significant benefits for the wider community, and build robust social capital within their organizations and nations.
Voters’ registration exercises are currently underway in Nigeria in preparation for the 2015 elections. The gladiators in this season’s political arena are starting to emerge. This political drama is unfolding against the backdrop of a pernicious war on terror, persistent and enduring poverty and widespread uncertainty. This demands a two-fold responsibility.
Firstly, those who have decided to put themselves up for leadership must soberly consider the character of their ambitions – Is the pursuit of political office driven by a desire for power, wealth and attainment for sake of personal aggrandizement? Or is there a genuine vision and an attending drive to push back terrorism, unite the nation, and create an environment for creativity and prosperity to flourish? To do the former will be to incur the wrath of posterity and the curse of many generations.
Secondly, Nigerians will have to check their primordial sentiments at the door as they prepare to go to the polls next year. The citizenry can no longer afford to mortgage the future of our children for morsels of rice and money. All aspirants have track records; we must carefully weigh their campaign promises against their personal histories of inordinate ambition or positive drive. We can make the next election a turning point for our nation.
We can choose to be leaders with positive ambitions needed to achieve significant milestones for the country and we can certainly choose to be ambitious followers, determined to elect visionary leaders. Let our common ambition be to stand and be counted for positive change in our country….Nigeria belongs to us all.
Nigeria Has a Great Future
Pastor Taiwo Odukoya, petroleum engineer, public speaker and author, is the senior pastor of The Fountain of Life Church, Ilupeju, Lagos, Nigeria. He resumes a weekly Sunday column for Premium Times today.