Disruptive leadership is a catalyst for development- Prof. Pat Utomi

By Oghale Mafuru

Prof. Pat Utomi, Founder, Centre for Value in Leadership and the African Democratic Congress, has again emphasised the significance of disruption to development; national, sectoral or corporate.   The Professor of economics made this assertion at the MARKETING EDGE Hall of Fame ceremony held in Lagos recently where he was the Special Guest and Keynote Speaker.

According to him, disruption is fundamental to the progress of an institution and nation as it creates an awakening that challenges the norm. it breaks the norms seeking solutions out of the regular, defying conformity.

Pat Utomi opined that real progress emanates from deliberate and conscious efforts to change the narrative and that the IMC industry must continue to disrupt for its growth and development.

“The biggest threats to capitalist progress are today successful capitalists. For progress to take place, smarter younger people need to creatively destroy them. That’s where you will make real progress. The whole business of creative destruction is that if we don’t creatively destroy, there will be nothing new. Advertising was sort of our hard territory in Nigeria until Biodun Shobanjo showed up and creatively destroyed what used to be advertising. That is how progress takes place. Shobanjo did a great disruption and that disruption must continue”, he said.

Speaking about the importance of leadership and culture in re-directing a nation from obscurity, poverty, and under-development to abundance, Utomi said that nations are poor because of weak institutions.  He emphasised that it was imperative for leaders to set the tone for culture which is a key driver for the progress of any nation.

“A very important variable which brings all the other variables together is culture because values shape human progress. Values determine the progress of a society. The central conservative truth is that It is not politics but culture that is responsible for the progress of a society.

“Culture is so powerful and unless we get our values right and aligned, progress is difficult to achieve. But who sets the tone for culture? That is the central thing that leaders do.  Leaders set the tone for the culture. Nigeria wobbles because those who have authority are not leaders. Those who have authority in Nigeria don’t realise that their real role is to set the tone for the culture. And so there has been a collapse of culture in Nigeria”.

“When institutions are weak, and you work so hard, you get pushbacks from weak institutions. I have repeated frequently that the biggest risk of doing business in Nigeria is regulatory risk. Government is more likely to cause your failure than market risk. What Africans need is strong institutions, not strong men. And we continue to push for strong men and wobble very badly. Strong institutions are very important”, he averred.



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