Who is the Right Leader for Nagaland? – Shitio Shitiri, Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science

   Image credits: huffingtonpost.in

Lee Kuan Yew, the first Prime Minister of Singapore catapulted Singapore from a stagnant Third World backwater to the front ranks of the First World in just three decades of governance with his imagination, courage, political will, and benign execution of power. Similarly, in a State like Nagaland that’s desperately crying out for transformation, dynamic leadership is required for dynamic change.  

Who is the Right Leader for Nagaland?

One essential ingredient of a state is the existence of visionary leaders. Our state has a good number of aspiring political leaders, but sadly very few live up to the expectations. Whatever position we may find ourselves enmeshed, one thing is certain that the quality of leadership determines the destiny of a state. It is the deeds committed by us which degrade or elevate our standing in the society we live. If good deeds are done with actual labor, then nobody can stop us from attaining the much cherished goal in our life. But if we have sinister motives in our mind and heart, then the exact opposite will happen. To be honest, the prospect of our future depends upon how we choose our leaders. We first need to be responsible for ourselves before we can be responsible for others. American author, speaker, and pastor John C Maxwell has said, “A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way”.

Nagas at this point of time don’t need politicians, but leaders who think and live for the people. We need true leaders, one who can lead the state and its people out of ignorance, corruption, and all kinds of evil and wrong practices. Good leadership requires a combination of charisma and integrity, as well as the ability to assess a situation and make decisions based on what would be best for the masses. We need leaders with integrity. The people need a consistency of values.

Unfortunately, there is lack of transparency and honest politicians. The lack of transparency results in the lack of trust. The best leaders are the ones who accept blame when things are wrong and give credit when things go right. Leaders need to let go of ego and focus on the growth of the society. The lack of commitment, formation of new party or shifting of loyalties to another cannot change the personality of a leader. I wonder how politicians at one given point of time were best comrades and later turn out to be foes. Trust is immediately shattered impeding the flow of honest feedback and communication through the ranks and files. One needs to stop the bloody war of blaming or pointing fingers at each other. We need to focus on being a person of integrity, not a person who doesn’t make mistakes. I cannot believe the abundance of ego and pride among our selfish arrogant leaders taking Nagaland from bad to worse.

We have failed to recognize good leaders from bad ones. Our leaders have failed us because of poor and fickle visions and goals. They are happy within their comfort zones, satisfied with the status quo, and tend to be more concerned about survival than growth. Such hardened leaders succeed in passing the lie detector test and befool the people for a while, but the day of reckoning will certainly come. A leader who lacks character and integrity will not endure the test of time. It doesn’t matter how intelligent, persuasive, or savvy a person is, if they are prone to rationalizing unethical behavior, they will eventually fall prey to their own undoing. Nobody is perfect, but leaders who consistently fail are not leaders. If leaders don’t understand the concept of “service above self”, they will not win the trust, confidence, and loyalty of those they lead. We need leaders who are fluid and flexible in their approach.
“When the righteous thrive, the people rejoice; when the wicked rule, the people groan” (Proverbs 29:2). We need fresh and young dynamic leaders for the bright future of our coming generation. Leaders are born out of you and me. The present holds the key to the future. If we want our future to be bright, we should be prepared to choose the right leader who can work honestly and incessantly in the right direction. It leads to the logical conclusion that if we want to gain something with one hand, we have to give up or sacrifice something in lieu with the other. Let not ‘creed, tribalism, money, selfish corrupted individuals’ vote bank’ replace ‘merit, competence, integrity, and honesty’. It’s a vicious cycle and the problem is somewhere inside and needs to be fixed. This is perhaps the most challenging reality for us to accept.
Politicians often promise the moon on a stick. When they fail to deliver, voters end up feeling disappointed and possibly even betrayed. Are the public leaders, the main actors in this play, satisfied with the way the government is working? Can we make a positive difference in the state? Where do we start? First we need to change our thought, attitude and behavior to ensure a better future and progressive society.
Public opinion, debate or discussion on a larger scale would be instrumental in minimizing the special advantages of the various interest groups that have often negatively influenced most processes relating to good governance.  We need to engage in some self reflection on why there is lack of political, economic and social growth. Indeed, we can be the change if we can change our mindset- ‘so be the change’ to contribute to the long term growth of good governance.
Election 2018 is approaching, and here we can be as clean as a whistle. Major changes start at the grassroots level. Perhaps you can’t save the world, but you can at least save your backyard for now.
Degree of Thought is a weekly community column initiated by Tetso College in partnership with The Morung Express. Degree of Thought will delve into the social, cultural, political and educational issues around us. The views expressed here do not reflect the opinion of the institution. Tetso College is a NAAC Accredited UGC recognised Commerce and Arts College. The editors are Dr Hewasa Lorin, Anjan K Behera, Tatongkala Pongen, Nungchim Christopher, and Kvulo Lorin. Portrait photographer: Rhilo Mero. For feedback or comments please email: dot@tetsocollege.org.

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