The Nigerian Defence Academy today 28 July 2023, held the maiden edition of the newly introduced NDA Monthly Interactive Forum at the NDA Auditorium, Afaka.

The Monthly Interactive Forum which is the brainchild of the Commandant NDA, Major General JO Ochai, is designed to expose academic and non-teaching staff of the Academy, as well as cadets, to contemporary issues through a presentation, discussion and interaction format, and create a forum for regular, healthy academic engagement for all involved.

At today’s maiden edition titled “Are Leaders Born Or Made”, two erudite professors of the Nigerian Defence Academy, Prof GB Onwumere of the Faculty of Science and Prof BE Mijah of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, both espoused the concept of leadership and how leaders emerge.

According to Prof Mijah from the Department of Political Science and Defence Studies, leaders are born with certain innate characteristics. He however added that the ability to properly harness the right education and skills set is what sets an effective leader apart from an ineffective one.

On his part, Prof Onwumere from the Department of Biological Sciences postulated that leadership is 30% inbred and 70% cultivated. He held that the environment and the situation a leader is raised in form key components of his effectiveness as a leader. Prof Onwumere also disclosed that successful leaders in one environment do not necessarily translate to effective leaders in other environments.

Speaking at the Interactive Forum, Special Guest of Honour at the event, Deputy Commandant NDA, Air Vice Marshal SK Aneke, who represented the Commandant NDA Maj Gen JO Ochai, defined a leader as someone who inspires others to achieve set objectives. He disclosed that everyone is born with some leadership traits but the ability to harness these qualities in a manner that will inspire others to achieve the overall good is the distinguishing mark of a true leader. He further noted that there is a distinct difference between a leader and a commander. AVM Aneke praised the active participation of participants at the interactive forum and assured he would brief the Commandant so that some modifications would be made to improve the Monthly Interactive Forum in future.

Also speaking at the event, the Academy Provost, Prof Isa Garba, averred that although leaders are born with certain important traits grooming is key towards actualising their goals as leaders. He emphasised the importance of education in the moulding of effective leaders, adding that since leaders lead humans, whom he described as complex systems, it is necessary for them to learn the art of good leadership.

The Monthly Interactive Forum which was moderated by the Academy Registrar, Brig Gen AM Tukur also saw active contributions from several academic staff on the topic. The event was attended by Principal Staff Officers, academic staff, non-teaching staff and cadets of the Nigerian Defence Academy.