Student leaders have always been global leaders in the making. While the competition may be tough, there are opportunities for students to grab and develop their leadership skills on campus. A basic knowledge of leadership and inspiration as shared by Eze Glory Chika is however important to achieve leadership goals.
Glory is a Law student and a Campus Journalist in the University of Ilorin. She emerged the first female President of the Union of Campus journalists, University of Ilorin for the 2019/2020 session. Being the Overseer of approximately 200 students in one of the foremost organisations on Campus, Glory has a strong will, as well as the passion for leadership and advocacy.
In this interview, Eze Glory Chika (EG) shares with Women Life Magazine (WLM) her experience, fears and advice about leadership.
WLM- On a light mode now… Do you sometimes give this “feminist” and bossy attitude when engaging with male colleagues?
EG- Haha… I am natural when it comes to the aspect of engaging male leaders, and not just in this aspect, but in my day to day affairs. I do not say I am infallible, but I try as much as possible to never air any form of superiority complex, whilst trying to align my speeches and actions in a way befitting of a leader and a human. I so much adore mature minds, so if you are mature in your dealings with me as a male leader, then definitely you should expect same.
I have however seen some male leaders that try to malign female leaders. I never stutter anytime I come across those kind of persons, whilst also putting them in their place. In as much as I do not abhor the ideology of feminism, I do not like to identify with its pseudonym, as the modern feminist seems to blow it beyond proportion, thereby making persons like myself, indifferent about it.
This is not to say that I do not passionately advocate for Gender equality or to say women should be considered a weaker gender, but to say that God has fashioned us with specialities. In essence, I do not let the ‘feminist’ attitude guide my mode of engagement with the male gender.
As we first recognized, we were humans after being born, before we were able to recognize our gender placements. We should always remember humanity comes first, and that equality and fairness are embedded in it.
WLM- What advantage has being in a leadership position given you? What has the office of UCJ President positively done for you?
EG- Being in a leadership position has given me the opportunity of learning and has exposed me to so many things that are way beyond the four walls of a classroom. To mention but a few, I have gone from being highly introverted to being more of an ambivert…hahaha.
It seems more like I have evolved, learnt to manage people and their excesses. I have become more dynamic in my inter-personal relationship skills. Above all and of a greater advantage is that, it instills confidence, gives me an opportunity to always challenge my abilities, new tasks to look up to, time management and problem solving skills. It begins to seem as though I am being placed on a higher pedestal amongst my peers.
On a lighter and funny note, I get to experience ‘power’ and ‘fame’ on Campus. A friend in Church says to me that, he saw a picture of me in their department’s group chat. A Master’s Student has also confronted me on that basis, owing to placing a face to the name. This should however, be handled by every leader shrewdly and humbly.
As the President of UCJ, I have become very much positively minded whilst making humility my watch word. I meet people on a regular basis which I consider very vital for my mental state. I am now able to effectively interact with elderly men and women of great caliber, without so much fear as was the case prior to this moment. Above all else, special opportunities abound.
WLM- What inspired you to aspire for this position?
EG- Aspiring for the position of President of UCJ first started off as a joke. I used to say it as a joke right from when I was in 200 level but I always brush it. This was because I felt it was unattainable or that I was not cut out for it.
However, towards the end of the 2018/2019 session, I was beginning to make up my mind to settle for the position of the Vice President when I felt it within me again to go for the former position. Why settle for less, when you have the calling to be and to do better?
I had the inclination, friends who inspired me, and the words from my family. Prior to this time, I had led people unofficially, have had people look up to me and all sorts. So here is just making it official. Wanting to challenge myself to be better and leaving my comfort zone.
In no particular order would I say something definite inspired me, but I would say a compound of things. An innate passion for efficient and effective leadership.
WLM- What was your biggest fear and how did you (if you did) overcome it?
EG- It’s funny to say this, but my biggest fear was winning the election. At the point of collating the votes, I was secretly wishing to not emerge. I was scared. I started having doubts about my abilities or capacity to handle the Union.
I started recounting what I considered a major flaw in me, which is a bit of a lax in my inter-personal relationship skill. I felt I would not be able to handle people’s expectations of me and how I was to behave.
One thing is certain, while being at the helm of affairs or inadvertently conspicuous, your behavioural patterns are bound to experience modifications. You begin to shapen your speeches to match public standards and all what not. Fortunately for me, I have come to work with Special persons. Special thanks and shout out to the Press Council, UCJ TV and UCJ’s Entertainment desk.
I can also proudly say, that I have come to overcome, and still in the process of overcoming these fears by coming to terms with the things incidental to the position and with a show of commitment, consistency and perseverance with an optimistic outlook.
WLM- You have to be the best among all to become a leader. To what extent is this true?
EG- This is true to an extent, but strangely not true. In the sense that, we all have our strengths and weaknesses. While some may be gifted in oratory or creative writings, some are gifted in leadership. They are artful in their schemes and can be seen to be natural human magnet poles.
I will still not utterly dispute the fact that some persons have become leaders of some organisations by virtue of being the best in their area of specialisation. However, I will say being a leader goes beyond being the best amongst all. Having and exhibiting leadership traits is key.
That’s also why a leader is not elected or appointed to work solely by himself. He is to be assisted also by great minds. For instance, we can not say Buhari is the best amongst all, neither can we say Goodluck was the best amongst his counterparts. But they both had people’s mandates and they both emerged.
A leader is someone who is skilled or has the capacity and has been vested with the authority to direct others, and not one who is best amongst all.
WLM- What do you think makes a good leader one?
EG- As a leader, there are certain characteristics or qualities that are bound to set you apart as either a good leader or a bad one. A good leader is one who recognises that he is in a position of service, and not in a position to be a tyrant or an ‘uncommanded commander’.
When you can channel your power or authority in the right direction and manner, you are bound to be worthy of followers and love from members alike. Know that you should have a teachable spirit, always accept your mistakes and never hesitate to apologise, whilst humility becomes your watch word.
Delegation of duties is key, be unbiased in dealing with members. Do not have a master-servant relationship with members. As friends would, check up on them, for they will be part of your leadership success stories.
Of utmost importance is the fact that, a good leader leads not from the rare but from the forefront. You should take the lead at all times, and be a shield. Lastly, be Dynamic…
WLM- What simple and practicable advice would you give to students who want to be like you?
EG- Hahaha… don’t be like me, be YOU. Be courageous, dare to make a difference. Know that the sky is only your starting point, and you can not afford to let your shortcomings define you. You never can say for sure how high you can leap, till you leap. Take that leap to greatness today.
WLM- What has kept you going?
EG- God has, and his divine will for my life. There are times I felt I had stretched my limits, but at the end of the day, I am waxing strong. The determination and resolute to do better is part of it. Having to work with, and being advised by great intellects too is a plus.
Lastly, the ability or should I call it grace? Haha… the grace to remain an optimist in the face of challenges, and also being able to maintain a high sense of maturity and subtility in dealing with people. As a leader, the moment you begin to show your fears, there begins to be trouble within your camp.
Glory can be reached on Twitter- @GloryChika5