Respond to discussion question 3a

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Week 3 Discussion [RSCH-8310]

Discussion 1: Conceptualizing a Qualitative Research Question

A Positionality Memo on Leadership Crisis in Africa: Nigeria in Context

Maxwell (2013) as cited by Ravitch and Carl (2016) explain that the purpose of a researcher/positionality memo is to provide “a structure, at an early stage in the research development process, to facilitate a focused written reflection on your research identity, including social location, personality, and how external and internal aspects of your experiences and identity affect and shape your meaning-making process and influence your research” (p.70). From this perspective, I will hereafter present a positionality memo to reflect my relationship to the topic of my personal qualitative research interest: “Leadership Crisis in Africa: Nigeria in Context”. As Arogbofa (2017) stated in Week 1 Discussion 2, the phenomenon of interest is the unprecedented high level of corruption and inept leadership of past administrations in Nigeria and other African states. My connection to this topic is as a key player during the immediate past administration in Nigeria. The experience, observations, and challenges faced while I served in the past administration were eye openers to that fact that no doubt leadership problems exist that need to be urgently addressed. Also, my experience over the years serving my country as a Military officer, my outstanding contribution in global and domestic leadership at various levels of public and military services, and my deeply rooted interest in leadership styles have inspired me to develop deep interest in this topic.

Furthermore, the purpose of my qualitative study is to explore how Nigeria’s democratic structures have been administered from the second republic in 1979 to 2015, and why leadership crisis still persists now that Nigeria has enjoyed over 16 years of successive democratic rule. According to Crawford et al. (2016,p.5) the purpose of a study shapes the development of research questions and/or hypotheses. Also, “an understanding of the body of knowledge on the research topic, including what is known and not known, also shapes research questions and hypotheses”. Therefore, “in the process of developing research questions, your ideas about the concepts under study become more clarified as you consider how to operationally define them and link research questions with a particular approach to inquiry and research design” (p.5). Thus, through this research study I hope to find answer to the main research question on why there is a lacuna in good leadership in Nigeria. To further corroborate my choice of research question, Rubin and Rubin (2012) advise that “once you have chosen a suitable topic, you next specify the research question – the puzzle you are going to try to solve” (p.49).

 From the foregoing therefore, it is expedient to note that the rationale for the choice of “Leadership Crisis in Africa: Nigeria in Context” is informed by my constant desire as a leader to improve ethical and moral abilities as this will in no small way help me to empower and enhance the lives of the people I lead. This in my opinion is consistent with the tenets of transformational leadership as posited by MacGregor as cited by McCloskey (n.d.) that the “relationship of mutual stimulation and elevation that convert followers into leaders and may convert leaders into moral agents” (p.3) are adhered to. Scholars of African socio-economic and political studies have at various times come to the conclusion in their academic works that Africa is the poorest continent in the world in spite of her enormous human and natural resources. This poor state has often been associated with unprecedented high level of corruption and endemic leadership crisis. The narrative is particularly sickening in Nigeria where in spite of her enormous human and natural resources, development is still a dream of the future. The reasons associated with this abysmal condition are among others, corruption and inept leadership which are responsible for Nigeria’s socio-economic and political problems. No nation has ever achieved any meaningful socio-economic and political development without an effective leadership. It is quite unfortunate that Nigeria, the most populous and largest economic power bloc in Africa is not only finding it difficult to provide transformational leadership to other African countries in development but sadly remain crippled with leadership crisis. In their submission, Lawal, Imokhuede, and Johnson (2012) suggest that “the socio-economic and political development of any country depends largely on its leadership to facilitate, entrench, and sustain good governance” (p.185). Therefore, Lawal et al. point to the fact that bad governance is synonymous with poor leadership, and that importantly, “good governance is a manifestation of committed, patriotic, and discipline leadership” (p.185). However, they further observe that “in Africa, particularly in Nigeria, poor leadership and leadership failure have been responsible for governance crisis since independence and this trend has continued unabated” (p.186).

The whole essence of the leadership problem is succinctly captured in the words of one of Nigeria’s most powerful former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo (1990), who says “Africa salvation lies in the hands of her leaders and nowhere else. Only Africans can be the architects of their own fortunes; as they have been the architects of their misfortune for the past quarter of a century. Africans should therefore make their world a relevant part of the rest of the world”. To lend credence to the discourse, Ochulor (2011) argues that “the leadership failure Nigerians experience is not the fault of their stars but the fault of leaders and the led alike” (p.265), thereby exploring a gap in the leadership literature. He adds that “the efficient leadership Nigerians are in dire need of, will remain a mirage except the leaders and the led, change their attitude to politics and politicking” (p.265).  Asaju et al. (2014,p.122) suggest that lack of moral values by the leaders had led to Nigeria’s leadership crisis. Other causes include maladministratiton, corruption, ethical problems, nepotism, tribal sentiments, religious differences, electoral malpractices, military incursion into democracy, ethnicity, lopsided devolution of power among the three tiers of government, security challenges, poor infrastructural development, institutional breakdown, and economic recession.


Arogbofa, J. O. (2017). Week 1 Discussion 2: What would you like to study? Walden University (unpublished).

Asaju, K., Arome, S., & Mukaila, I. (2014). Leadership crisis in Nigeria: The urgent need for moral education and value re-orientation. Public Administration Research, 3(1), 117-124. Retrieved from

Crawford, L.M., Burkholder, G.J., & Cox, K.A. (eds.) (2016). Writing the research proposal. In G.J. Burkholder, K.A. Cox, & L.M. Crawford (eds.). The Scholar-Practitioner’s Guide to Research Design. Baltimore, MD: Laureate Publishing, Inc.

Lawal, T., Imokhuede, K., & Johnson, I. (2012). Governance crisis and the crisis of leadership in Nigeria. International Journal of Academic Research in Business and Social Sciences, 2(7), 185-191. Retrieved from

McCloskey (n.d). What is transformational leadership? retrieved from

Obasanjo, O., & D’Orville, H. (1990). Challenges of leadership in African development. New York, N.Y.: Crane Russak.

Ochulor, C.L. (2011). Failure of leadership in Nigeria. American Journal of Social and Management Sciences, 2(3), 265-271. DOI: 10.525/ajsms.2011.

Ravitch, S.M., & Carl, N.M. (2016). Qualitative research: Bridging the conceptual, theoretical, and methodological. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Rubin, H.J., & Rubin, I.S. (2012). Qualitative interviewing: The art of hearing data (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

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