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Topic Description

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Background of the Study

Leadership has been described as the process of social influence in which one person can enlist the aid and support of others in the accomplishment of a common task. Leadership can be said to be an ability/Authority that pulls people toward becoming comfortable with the language of personal responsibility and commitment. Leadership is not just for people at the top. Everyone can learn to lead by discovering the power that lies within one to make a difference and being prepared when the call to lead comes. (Peteroy, 2001).

Leadership is applied in all facets of life. It is a competency that one can learn to expand one’s perspective, set the complex of a goal, and understand the dynamics of human behaviour and take the initiative to get to where one wants to be.  Hence leadership is defined as one’s ability to get others to willingly follow.

Anyanwu (2007) defined an affective leader as an individual with the capacity to consistently succeed in a given condition and be viewed as meeting the expectations of an organization or society. Leaders are recognized by their capacity in carrying others, clear communication and commitment to persist. For instance, an individual who is appointed to a managerial position has the right to command and enforce obedience by virtue of the authority of his position. However, he or she must possess adequate personal attributes to match this authority because authority is only potentially available to the individual. In the absence of sufficient personal competence, a manager may be confronted by an emergent leader who can challenge his/her role in the organization and reduce it to that of a figurehead. However, only authority of position has the backing of formal sanctions. It follows that whoever wields personal influence and power can legitimize this only by gaining a formal position in the diarchy with commensurate authority (Aderounmu; 1995).

Leadership is a widely applied term that usually refers to the personality characteristics and the behavior of people with authority and influence and responsibility for leading groups. The term is also use to refer to the group of people officially responsible for running an organization.

Leadership function embraces those activities related to supervision, leading and motivating personnel so that they will perform their task in desired ways. The function entails human communication, man- to-man relationships and use of incentives or penalties to motivate people in desired directions. As with other managerial and enterprise functions, the way in which this functions is performed makes a considerable difference in the efficiency of the firm. However, what motivates men to better performance in some cultures may not work may not work very well in other cultures. While leadership may prove quite difficult to define precisely, most perceptive observes can readily detect  situation characterize by weak, vaccinating and ineffective leadership as compared to one in which the leader as compared to one in which the leader is competent , respected and effective. Griffiths F.M (2007)

Leadership performance is executives, because of their status, duties and authority, are said to be in position of leadership. If leadership is considered as something that influences person executive performances, would be Leadership performance.   More specially, it would be acts which influence the acts of others. On the other hand, leadership style is an imprecise term that refers to the blending of a person’s knowledge of leadership theory and skills with his or her own personality and values under different organizational circumstances to yield a “style” of leadership behavior (Mgbodile, 2003).

In view of the above definitions one can deduce that leadership is found among those who demonstrate persistence, tenacity determination, and synergistic communication so that such skills will bring out some qualities in their groups. Leaders use their own inner mentors to acquire their team and organization and lead a team to achieve success. Leadership therefore is a matter of intelligence, trustworthiness, humaneness, carriage and discipline. Hence reliance on intelligence alone results in rebelliousness.

Leadership style refers to a leader’s behaviour. It is based on the philosophy, personality and experience of the leader. Rhetoric specialists have also developed models for understanding leadership (Mgbodile, 2003). There are different types of leadership style which include Autocratic or Authoritarians style, participative or democratic style; and Laissez-faire or free rein style.

The autocratic leadership style is used to describe a leader who is high – handed in his administration. Autocratic leader signifies a self centered leaders, a leader whose administration is centered unto himself and all autocratic emanates from time and ends with line.

Under the autocratic leadership style all decision-making powers are centralized in the leader, as a dictator. Leaders do not entertain any suggestions or initiatives from subordinates. The autocratic leader finds it difficult to get genuine love, support and cooperation from subordinate who regard his administration as a “one man show. He maintains a poor human relation with his manager.  He is harsh and abusive in his language. It is known that the autocratic leadership produces many undesirable effects on workers and on work situation. The democratic leadership style is also called the participatory leadership signifying its recognition of the need for staff participation in the affairs of the organization. Consulting Democratic leadership places premium on worker or group participation in decision making. The democratic leadership is guided by the philosophy that people are more committed to caring out the decisions in which they played a part in formicating. Thus, the democratic leader invites the participation of workers in decision making, in setting performance standards and evaluating performance.

The laissez faire leadership style is sometimes called the loose raine leadership which can best be described as the detached management style. This is taken from French language, the expression “laissez-faire” which literally means “allow things go their way” is use to described the leader who allows his workers to about go their work the way they want.

The laissez-faire administration does not engage in strict supervision of workers as they perform. Their duty. He applies little control over the activities of the worker and allows a measure of freedom in work operation.

This style of leadership is considered unsatisfactory because it signifies the absence of visible leadership which often leads to a number of undesirable behavior among workers leading to poor work performance. He develops no policy of his own. He allows complete freedom to the group and for them to do as they wish, generally a Laissez-faire leaders responsibility.

The community leader is the key influential people that exert influence and authority over the other members of the community. These power action need to be elected by the generality of the people they serve and equally recognized by the government of the area their community is under. They also need to poses the relevant qualities are present in these leaders and they are selected by the people that they experience the support and participation of them in any development project.

Community leaders are not necessarily elected to their positions, and usually do not have legal powers, but they are often used by the media and the police as a way of determining the general efforts within a particular community, or acting as a point of liaison between the community and government authorities. Community leadership are active in participation of the community project as well as solving the problems of the community members.

Community leadership is a designation, often by secondary sources (particularly in the media) for a person who is perceived to represent a community. A simple way to understand community leadership is to see it as leadership in, for and by the community. Essentially community leaders have the responsibility of identifying the felt needs of his community members and serves as a link between his community and Government or none Governmental agencies.

In the present time, there has been a continual emphasis on the agencies need to improve developmental activities in various communities. Such emphasis emanate from various sections of communities and the society. Not until recently, the belief of most Nigerians was that it is the responsibility of the Government to provide for the needs of their communities. The Government was seen as the great provider with unlimited resources and consequently, there has been an almost complete dependence on the Government to provide the needs of the people in the localities. The situation has tended to stagnate social-economic development in many Rural Communities.

On its own part, Government has realized the essence of rural development through repeated calls, re-awakened the people’s interest in the development of rural areas. However, it is pertinent to mention at this point that to identify community problems, and the existence of felt needs as well as the ability of the individuals and groups in the community to perceive the particular problems (Dunham, 2007).

The situation is further compounded by lack of able leadership that is capable of mobilizing the people to embark on meaningful community development in the communities. Long before the establishment of the science of development and planning, many rural communities in Nigeria have learnt to pull their resources together in construction of project such as foot paths to their farm which are some kilometers away from their settlements (villages). They are as well did the clearing around their homes, shrines, and markets under the directive and supervision of community leaders (NYSC and Anka Directorate1980).

There is now an increasing awareness that people can develop their own communities out of their efforts and resources. The changes began to occur as a result of their increasing realization of the relationship between leadership role and community development. Community awareness can be generated by the community leaders in that, some people cannot easily be able to perceive a common problem confronting them without being assisted (Nnena, 1990).

As a result, community development project relies heavily on local leadership to elicit the enthusiasm of the people. This is to ensure that it is not only the change agents, who are paid officials, but also the local leaders, who act as the agent of the development in their communities. Local leaders are very often volunteers and they are perhaps the very real agents of social change and improvement in their communities. This is why the community development agent must endeavour, at the initial stage, to identify the structure and pattern of the leadership in his client community (Bello, 1990).

Moreover, community leadership fosters participation is affecting the lives and welfare of the people in the community. It creates faith in a number of factors that may generate community development. It creates faith in common understanding, faith in the philosophy of success, faith in the ultimate satisfaction of personal and community motives, faith in the integrity and objective of the authority, and faith in the superiority of community purpose.  Community leaders are thus enabled to pursue the incessant interchanges of energies and satisfactions for immediate growth of the community and ultimate development of the nation. It is necessary therefore for individual and groups to improve their leadership (Fisher and Romanorstky, 2012).

Leadership in Zone ‘C’ community of Benue State starts from the villages which are the strongest political unit in communities. The community is egalitarian, with the extended family comprising of many families as the lowest political unit. The head of the extended family holds the “Ochirigogo” which is the symbol of power, for he represents that extended family at the village meetings.

The extended family is made up of families that trace their ancestor to one person. The extended family also has kindred’s which is a localized patrilineage made up of a group of related extended families. The eldest male in this family head the kindred called “Okoshe” and he represents them in political, religious and social matters. The village is composed of many kindred’s whose members trace their ancestors to one person belonging to a distinct group. The village is based upon common kinship, religious, dialect and economic ties.

The Zone ‘C’ is the largest political unit area in Benue State and the LGA that constitute the Zone ‘C’ have the feelings of same identity and it is the basic political unit in the whole Idoma political system. The Zone ‘C’ has a central deity which all members of the Zone ‘C’ recognize as the deity to which the Zone ‘C’ owes its co-existence. The traditional functions in this society are performed through various structures within the system.

In the typical local government setting, the women’s club, the age grade, youth association, traditional and political and religious leadership are the executive agent of the social system. The age grade system cuts across residential and lineage ties and brings members of each village into a single organization based mainly on age.

The secondary school institution as a social system consists of individuals with different personality and needs or disposition (Oboegbulam 2000; Peretomode, 1999). The individuals within the school include the principals, teachers, students and other non-academic staff, interacting within the defined boundaries for the purpose of achieving the predetermined objectives of the school. Educational administrators (principals) are involved in administration and management of secondary schools, Nwankwo in Peretomode (1996) considers school administration as careful and systematic arrangement and use of resource, (human and materials) situations and opportunities for the achievement of specified goals and objectives of a given organizations. Mgbodile, (2004) defined school management as guidance, leadership and control efforts of groups of people towards some common objectives. It is a social process of interaction and economic process involving a sequence of coordinating events, which include: planning, organizing, coordinating and controlling. Educational management is concerned with the planning and formulation of educational policies or programmes with the view of achieving educational goals. The supervisory aspect of administration is mainly for maintaining punctuality and general discipline as well as facilitating changes and pattern of work to modern techniques as commented by Oboegbulem

It is obvious that leadership would play a tremendous role in managing the life pattern of the community members. The leaders are capable of knowing how best to channel the resources of the community or the resources of the local government towards meaningful educational development project such as library construction school building and bore hole establishment.

The community leaders and school principals’ position in a community educational development project can be termed as crucial since they help to disseminate information motivate people and also accelerate the programme execution. In this regard, the rural leaders are key to success in community development programme (Brien, 1999). However, most often community leaders encounter some major problems in the face of executing school development projects such as polite involvement, lack of coordination and sound group conflict.

The existence of capable leaders enhances the status of village projects and places them in a better position to qualify for government grants in aid. To help bring a community to action, it requires the community leaders to create awareness on the people in the direction of self-help project. In Zone ‘C’ community of Benue State leadership starts from village, which is the basic political unit in a community. It possesses all the socio-political attributes of a traditional Idoma society in Benue State.

Execution of  community development projects depend on organization and effective participation of the people in the community enhanced by the free flow of communication in which it is made possible by the Local leaders such as Council of Elders, Age grade, Town Unions, Cooperative societies and heads of various organizations in the community.

However, the influence of educational background of community leaders is being felt in most communities since it has formed and modified some traditional, social and political structures. In this pattern of community leadership educated leaders who are aware of current changes, the community members should therefore try as mush as possible to elect those who are educated to  replace non-educated (illiterates) leaders in order to communicate with other members of community effectively and relate well to enlight them of the need for change., will help to bring cordial relationship between community members and the community leaders (Peteroy, 1999).

It is obvious that educational level knowledge of community leader plays a tremendous role in managing the life pattern of the community members. Those leaders are capable of knowing how best to channel the resources of the community toward meaningful development projects such a road construction, erection of classroom structure, school library and school structure (Boggs, 1996).

The existence of capable leaders enhances the status of community projects and places them in a better position to qualify for governments, grants in-aid. To help bring a community to action, it requires the community leaders to create the awareness on the people, in the direction of self help projects. It must be recited that in Zone “C” community of Benue State, leadership starts from the village which is the basic political unity in the community. It posses all the socio political attributes of a traditional Idoma society. They are, to a very great extent, egalitarian as well as political in standards of conduct. The community is agriculturally, religiously, economically, educationally and politically alert.

Therefore those community leaders’ roles in community development projects can be termed as crucial since they help to disseminate information, motivate people and also accelerate the programme execution. In this regard the rural leaders are rightly pointed to as a key to success in community developmental program (Edekobi, 1998).

Statement of the Problem

Leadership is very crucial in educational development projects, and the effectiveness of leadership therefore, goes a long way towards the realization of community aims and objectives. Most projects being undertaken in communities for their development require effective leadership for their success. The existence of capable leaders enhances the status of development projects and places them in a better position to qualify for government assistance.

In the past, the people in Zone “C” of Benue State placed much importance on development projects of their communities and have been noted in the past for her self-help efforts. This was demonstrated greatly when they were  under Benue Plateau State when they built the Otukpo Town Hall which has clinic, the Women Education Centre, Lodging Accommodation House and some community secondary schools in many Zone ‘C’ communities respectively. This problem of this study originate as result of lack of development project by community leaders in Benue State.

It is most unfortunate that since the creation of Zone ‘C’; (social political sector, 1976) in Benue State, the communities have not recorded any new developmental project in its own for past decades and seems not to be interested. Some uncompleted projects have even been abandoned such as Otukpo Community Hall and library building. The big question therefore is what has actually gone wrong? Why is it that Zone ‘C’ consisting of nine (9) Local Government Areas with abundant human and material resources not able to provide her people with viable secondary schools development projects such as water bore hole, classroom accommodation, building of library, school electrification or plants?

In the typical local government setting, the women’s club, the age grade, youths association, traditional, political and religious leadership are the executive agents of the social system. The age grade system cuts across residential and lineage ties and brings members of each village into a single organization based mainly on age. It is obvious that leadership would play a tremendous role in managing the life pattern of the community members. The leaders are capable of knowing how best to channel the resources of the community or the resources of the local government toward meaningful development projects.

Education developmental projects both as a practice, process and movement have not been achieved, especially in Zone ‘C’ Community of Benue State, in spite of various concerted efforts of the government to mobilize the communities through such governmental agencies as the World Bank assisted projects on self-help, Mass Mobilization for Self Reliance and Economic Recovery (MANSER), Better Life Programme for Rural Women (BLPFRW), Family Support Programme (FEAP). From the foregoing, it is clear that certain problems exist, and it is of more concern to this researcher hence posed to ask: what are the roles of community leaders in secondary school developmental projects? In view of this, the researcher embarked on this study to investigate through the opinion of community leaders and school principals on roles of community leaders in the secondary school development project in Benue State.

The Purpose of the Study

The main purpose of the study is to investigate the roles of community leadership in secondary school development projects in Benue State.

Specifically, this study seeks to:

  1. Determine the roles of community leaders towards successful accomplishment of the secondary school development projects in Benue State.
  2. Determine the extent to which the educational level of the community leaders affect the development projects of secondary schools in Benue State.
  3. Find out how the style of community leadership that is most effective for the execution of secondary school development projects in Benue State.
  4. Identify the problems encountered by the community leaders in executing secondary school development projects in Benue State.

Significance of the Study

          The emphasis on community development project has been a growing phenomenon in recent time. Therefore the importance of secondary school development cannot be over-emphasized.

          The study will be beneficial to the principals, teachers, students, community leaders as well as Ministry of Education, its agencies at all levels.

The findings will go a long way in helping principals of secondary schools because they will acquire maximum knowledge from the finding of Researcher after investigation into the various roles or contributions, if any, made by the community leaders in Zone ‘C’ community in terms of secondary school development projects and understanding of several aspects of the effect of leadership roles on secondary school developmental projects. The study will help the principals gain the background knowledge and problems militating against secondary school developmental projects as a result of this work, when properly studied.

Teachers in secondary school will benefit from this study in one way or the other as they find the information very useful and important in teaching and learning situation. The teachers in the secondary school will benefit from the findings because it will help them to know the activities of community leaders as regards secondary school developmental programmes that bring about new changes at school level. The teachers will well benefit from the study because it will make them know the roles of community leaders in secondary school development projects. This awareness will help them have interest in their job.

The findings will go a long way in helping students to understand and gain knowledge how secondary schools in the community are equipped with greater knowledge for change of school environment. Through the effort of community leaders. The findings will benefit the students as it will help them to know and understand the different efforts of community leaders/members and principals/teachers in secondary school development project. This awareness will make them improve their knowledge and skills. It will equally make the students aware of the good relationship between the principal/teacher and community leader/members in development of secondary school project there by make the students to develop spirit of good relationship.

The education agencies in-charge of secondary schools will benefit from this study because it will provide them with useful and needed information on the functions of community leaders and their active participation in secondary school developmental projects. It will make such education agencies realize the essence of community leader’s effort towards the development of secondary school project. This awareness will enable them know how to channel the education problem to appropriate quarters.

The ministry of education will benefit from this study because it will help them to know the style of leadership preferred for full initiation, implementation and participation in secondary schools development projects. It will as well make them know the problems encountered by these community leaders in executing developmental project and how to overcome them. This awareness will inspire the ministry of education to pick interest on the effort of community leaders and to meet community demands at the time of their need.

The findings of this research will be useful to community leaders because it will make them know how mush contribution to the realization process of what the community leaders in Zone ‘C’ of Benue State have done towards the community development project. It will enable them to know the areas of their weakness and strength in the job. This awareness will help the leaders to know and understand the areas preferred for full initiation