Being A Paper Delivered By Sen. Anthony Agbo at the 13th Annual Career Advancement Summit/Call To Bar Ceremony of Faculty of Law, Ebonyi State University

Lawyers have been proved to be great and mighty in politics and leadership. Indeed, no other human academic profession has come close to law in terms of towering array of global political leaders they can parade.

About 27 of the 45 US Presidents were lawyers, India’s founding father and first President, Mahatma Gandhi was a lawyer; the greatest world statesman, Dr. Nelson Mandela was a lawyer; Cuban Communist revolutionary, Fidel Castro was a lawyer; Russian President, Vladimir Putin is a lawyer; Chinese President, Xi Jinping is a lawyer; the current Brazilian President, Michel Temer is a lawyer; etc etc.

In this presentation, I would prefer to lead us through what I feel is the rudimentary realism of a possible successful career path in politics and leadership in the unmitigated reality of Nigerian situation and also in general perspective, as against dwelling purely on academic cum theoretical leadership framework that is studied in Universities and Colleges.

This notwithstanding, I would wish to start by firstly taking us through the general fundamental and elementary steps/progression of building a successful career, in every and any field of endeavour. Leadership theorists have identified 7 steps that lead to the building of a successful career; namely:

Identification of Purpose:

Identify your life purpose, by asking yourself and then providing answers to the following questions; what are you naturally good at? What do you enjoy or feel happy doing? What are you passionate about? What gives you greatest joy/fulfillment? When you arrive at this, then you have identified your purpose.

Develop a Clear Vision:

How would you like to be in the years coming? Vision is like ambition. For instance, I have my B.Sc now. Within the next 7 years I would want to have become a professor. I want to become a successful entrepreneur before my 35th birthday. I am going into Legal Practice and I want to become a Senior Advocate of Nigeria in the next 20 years etc.

Set Clear Goals:

Goals are the vehicles that lead you to your vision. Your goals must be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-specific. For instance, I must get my M.Sc in the next two years, and my Doctorate in 3 years after. I must get my ICAN certificate within one year after my NYSC.

Develop The Necessary Skills, Knowledge, Attitude And Competence:

Identify the factors that make for exceptional success in your career choice and begin to acquire same. Every job or career has it’s own range of exceptional success factors. Find out same or read about them from those who are already successful in the field. For legal practice, find out from successful lawyers. Acquire this competence through training, networking, mentorship or reading etc.

Have Career Mentors:

Submit yourself to be mentored by a star in that field. Any career path you choose, people have been exceedingly successful there. Identify such people and get under their mentorship. “If I have seen further than others, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants” – Isaac Newton.

Build Professional Network:

Link yourself in a professional relationship with successful and upcoming stars in your career area. This will open you up to a lot of opportunities. What makes one outstanding depends so much on the people he associates with and the books he has read.

Read And Study Much About Your Career Path:

Equip yourself with much knowledge that pertains to your career path through much reading. Read about those who are very successful in the field and also read about most current trends and innovations. Fill yourself with divergent knowledge of your field.


Most successful world political leaders obviously did not need to go through the above 7 steps of building a career. Indeed most of them most likely may never have heard about such steps. But they were also some political, proximate and utilitarian factors that were not only clearly identifiable in the lives of successful global political leaders, but which are also generally applicable in building a successful career path in politics and leadership, all of which I have arrived at through both personal experience as well as in the personality and career profiles of many successful global political leaders. Some of these factors are as follows:

Cultural Literacy
Cultural Literacy is different from academic literacy. It has to do with prolific, divergent, general knowledge that is acquired through wide reading beyond one’s specific academic discipline or course of study. It has to do with possession of some basic general knowledge in world affairs and all critical and fundamental elements of civilized life and activities, including historical knowledge. Cultural Literacy equips a leader with the knowledge of basic elements that enhances the successes of great nations, through which the leader can work to be like them or to compete with them. The word of God in the Bible had stated that “My people perish for lack of knowledge”. – Hosea 4:6

Absence of cultural literacy is one of the greatest challenges of leaders in African continent. Very few of them are equipped with it.

Cultural Literacy is obtained through wide prolific reading and interaction, far beyond one’s specific academic discipline. Therefore, if you are hoping to make a career in politics and leadership, begin to read voraciously, particularly materials relating to developed and great nations of the world. Also watch a lot of international news and tabloids such as CNN, BBC, ALJAZERA, Time Magazine, New York Times, Washington Post, etc.

Vision And Imagination
Vision and Imagination are synonymous as leadership concepts and they have to do with farsightedness, intuition, or foresight or fertility of one’s mind in origination of novel ideas. It is the capacity and propensity for thinking out or originating awesome ideas. It has to do with rich and extended fertility of the mind; through which novel ideas, great and marvelous concepts are born. Vision and imagination is greatly enhanced by cultural literacy. Eg. much of the landmark achievements in the developed nations of the world today are products of grand vision and imagination.

In African continent, these elements that are strictly fundamental to successful political and leadership careers are very much in short supply. However, the current Governor of Ebonyi State is demonstrating much of these through his novel achievements.

Love your people and begin early to serve them with sincerity, passion, humility and practical devotion. Show sincere humanitarian dispositions. Let these services begin to manifest from you naturally early enough before they ever begin to know that you have interest in political office.

Choose a Mentor and put yourself under him to serve and to learn, with absolute commitment, loyalty and dedication. But you must be guided in your choice of a mentor by consideration of someone, a leader whose antecedents and character dispositions appeal to the society, and epitomize decency, integrity and godliness.

Connect with people that matter in the society and be passionate in serving those who have grown in the career.

Develop a positive habit of hard work and don’t be afraid of taking calculated risk.

From early in life, develop a steady habit of positive day-dreaming of success and greatness in the career and the good and wonderful things you will do for the people when it materializes. God searches human hearts and when He sees the selflessness and sacrificial devotion of your heart to your people, He will open the way for you.

Communication and Power of Speech:
Regular communication with your people and development of outstanding power of speech are very fundamental to a leader. Indeed, great speeches are part of what defines the greatness of a leader. And great leaders are often remembered through some extraordinary speeches they made at some landmark historical events, Eg. Abraham Lincoln’s “Gettysburg Address”, rendered in Gettysburg military cemetery in Nov. 19, 1863; Nelson Mandela’s “I am prepared to die” made on 20th April, 1964 during his Rivonica Trial by the South African apartheid regime; Martin Luther King Jr’s “ I Have a Dream” speech made during black civil rights march in Washington DC on August 28, 1963, and the speech that made Barack Obama President of the United States, which he rendered as a Senator in the Democratic National Convention, DNC, of 2004. Others include UN General Assembly Speeches of Fidel Castro, Thomas Sankara, Robert Mugabe, Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, etc.

Anchor your ambitions, and hope of success on God, and if and when any success comes, attribute it to God and recognize men as his instruments.

When you eventually find yourself in position of power of leadership; be humble at heart but demonstrate strength of character in your decisions and actions; always manifest kindness but demonstrate not weakness or timidity; be bold and courageous but not arrogant; weigh your words before you make public utterances; measure your distance with your subjects to avoid over familiarity; demonstrate fear, honor and reverence of God both in private and in public, honor your elders and leaders that are above you. Try to originate new things and execute them, and where you cannot originate new things and you must do the traditional things, add ideas that will make them original to you.

About nationstrends

Recommended for you

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *