Nigeria–Leadership, Pep Guardiola, Clarkism And 2015

Posted: May 27, 2012 in Uncategorized

By Prince Charles Dickson


Effective leadership is not about making speeches or being liked; leadership is defined by results not attributes. Peter Drucker


It’s almost stale that a Nigerian died after the Champions league final match in which Chelsea downed FC Bayern in Munich, or that in the course of the entire Championship about 9 deaths were recorded, Nigerians who otherwise have never been to the airport, never graced any of these stadiums and were not known by these clubs.

However that is the power of football or soccer in Nigeria. Fans get hypertensive, shout themselves hoarse, and beat their wives and kids. Not just because of soccer but a model of organization put in place by a leadership that knows what it wants.

This year’s Champions League tournament was marked by two significant points. One, Chelsea defeating Barcelona, and two, eventually going ahead to win it. Many fans would argue the defeat by Chelsea had a bearing on a certain Pep Guardiola making his mind up to call it time at Barcelona FC.

So what about the former Barcelona FC gaffe that concerns us as Nigerians or Edwin Clark, I will tell us in these few lines .

For Pep and Barcelona, an era is over and it is time for a new one to begin. The praise heaped upon Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola has often been so effusive that in September 2010, perhaps in an attempt to defuse the adulation, he joked: “Maybe it’s true. Maybe when I piss, I do piss perfume.”It was a Catalan take on the old Chuck Norris line: When Chuck Norris does a pushup; he’s actually just pushing down earth.

In some ways, that’s what Guardiola did at Barcelona after taking over in 2008. It’s not just the fact that he won 14 trophies in four seasons—among them three Spanish titles, two Spanish Cups, two Champions League crowns and two World Club Cups, in what was arguably the most dominant quadrennium of any manager in the history of soccer.

What really made Guardiola stand out was the successful implementation of a playing philosophy that bordered on utopia. It combined seemingly antithetical qualities: skill and creativity on the one hand, tactical order on the other.

Yet, Guardiola with the season having ended in Spain and crowning it with the Spanish Cup has walked away. “There is only one reason: time,” he said. “Four years are an eternity. I’m drained. I don’t like to say it, but I no longer have the energy to guide this team. I need to get away because, as I often tell my players, life isn’t just soccer and BlackBerries.”

People who knew him as a player (including his team mates) would attest to the fact that Pep Guardiola’s best attributes was his ability to use his intelligence and then having the vision to execute what he imagined. It is that football intelligence; however, that makes him a great coach.

Putting the above in perspective, Nigerian leaders and occupants of Aso Rock have inspired nothing, in the last twenty years one can hardly point to a leader within the political terrain that has provided leadership, direction or focus. It is almost a fiat to conclude that even in the last four years; there is no Nigerian leader that can be attributed with even a ‘near success’ status.

No one that can be regarded as great, lots of flashes, no substance…While Pep has left with the ovation at its loudest. The likes of Edwin Clark are talking up Jonathan’s right to 2015, after stuttering for a year. The North is strategizing to get the power back…the South East is huffing and puffing.

In what I see as old age at display, he propounded the clarkism theory…  “President Goodluck Jonathan will contest the 2015 presidential election as was the case with former presidents that ran for second term in office” he said. In other words, if Shagari, Obasanjo, and others continued ‘ruling’ despite failing, Jonathan has failed and therefore should be given a second chance to completely fail or miraculously succeed–That is what 2015 is all about.

For the occupants of Aso Rock, no one seems to have the recipe for success, Nigerians on the other hand are unable to express rage at the insensitive policies and constant somersaults by the talkshops at the helm of affairs…and we cope with leadership and managers that have failed at every attempt at managing both man and resources.

For Pep, his biggest achievement has to be that “tiny fellow”–to quote Rio Ferdinand–from Rosario, Argentina, Lionel Messi. Guardiola is more than just a manager. He is more than the trophies and the tactical knowledge. It is the principles that really stick out, the difference between a good coach and a great coach.

What is Jonathan made of, other than possessing no shoes, in one year what has he really done, for the Clarks and governors both North and East, what is all these noise of 2015…When more Nigerians are dropping dead as of today.

Beyond Jonathan, his ilk in the ruling party, and the limited options that the opposition provides, what have they brought to the ordinary Nigerians, what drive do they come with? Who is the Guardiola amongst the current crop, who knows when to quit. Each one comes with plenty of promise but offers very little and still clings on to the table edge in Aso Rock.

Do we have today, leaders with any testimony of some sort other than power mongers, any pinch of brilliance in decisions taken so far or rather a crop of leaders still experimenting with all sorts of governance chemicals yet unable to get it right? Past occupants of Aso Rock have not done any better, no trophy, it has been a blind groove, no Messi, Xavi or Iniesta…

It’s not just about 22 men chasing a round leather object but the impact one man has had on that system, and how it affects millions. Sadly a man that has achieved so much says he lacks the energy to push on, and here in contrast a leadership with so little to show is thinking ahead of more years in power. As we toast to Pep Guardiola, we watch, wait, pray and hope that as spectators, the occupant of Aso Rock with his team may give us something to cheer–Time will tell.


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