THE CONCEPT OF AUTOCRATIC AND DESPOTIC LEADERSHIP IN AFRICA A STUDY OF A PLAY OF GIANTS, WHO IS AFRAID OF SOLARIN AND FOREST OF PALM TREES.
Leadership and governance are among the most observed and least understood phenomenon on earth. A call for a focus on leadership and governance is timely, important and no doubt topical, reflecting the world wide thrust towards political and economic liberalization. Throughout the whole world, there has been an urgent desire among various people and government for unity, justice, peace and stability. The resurgence of this desire is not only explicable through their political policies alone; but also it is reflected in the social and economic policies. In fact, most governments in Africa have been undergoing serious and deepening politico-economic crisis. These problems generated by political, social and economic instability and the prevalence of ethnic, communal and religious crises, call our attention to the concepts of leadership and governance in the continent. In other words, the staggering wave of violence, insecurity, economic recession, tyranny, autocracy, despotism, religious extremism, and non adherence to court orders are the attributes to the concepts of leadership and governance in Africa. Therefore, the quest for good leadership is a sine-qua-non for governance and sustainable development. This research is a critical analysis of the concept of autocratic and despotic leadership in Africa. Works by playwrights that addresses the subject of study are selected to highlight issues threatening leadership and good governance in Africa. The plays portray Africa’s failures to have come about largely as a result of frequent leadership change, lack of ideology, policy reversal and weak institutional patterns. The research also examines the leadership selection process in Africa and that leadership selection process in Africa takes the imposition pattern and that African leaders have frequently come to their position forcefully with limited experience. Hence, the decline in moral and discipline caused by bad policies, eroded professional standards, ethics and weakened the system of governance. The research lays emphasis on leadership and governance in some African countries using selected Nigerian plays that highlight different dimensions and approaches of leadership and governance in Africa. Through its critical examination of the selected plays, this study will stir up critical debate in the area of discourse and encourage would-be leaders in Africa to embrace good leadership that will impact positively on Africans.