Cities are living organism that transform over time through events and driven by leadership process. The vision of Nigeria’s Abuja Federal Capital Territory is to be one of the 20 World Class Capital Cities by the year 2020 through the provision of infrastructure, services, and administration. The city’s mission is to develop into a first class city comparable to the best in the world. This paper discusses how transformational leadership in the FCT Area Councils could inspire extraordinary performance in achieving their vision and mission. A 3-Tier theoretical framework of transformation, leadership and inspiration theories is employed to explain break-point for change, leading for attainment of set goals; and action-event by extraordinary performance. The paper contributes to a thematic workshop on Leadership, Policy and Strategy for Effective Governance for Capacity Building of Elected Chairmen, Councillors and other Senior Officials of the FCT Area Councils. The paper arouses the spirit of transformational leadership among the participants and inculcates the need to inspire extraordinary performance among their followers. The paper strongly recommends series of deliberate actions and events aimed at creating passion for extraordinary performance; taking advantage of the unique and ample opportunities available for rapid development; and particular attention given to utilization best practices, continuous capacity building; and developing partnerships with other cities across the world.
TRANSFORMATIONAL LEADERSHIP IN THE FCT AREA COUNCILS: HOW TO INSPIRE EXTRAORDINARY PERFORMANCE
TRANSFORMATIONAL LEADERSHIP IN THE
FCT AREA COUNCILS: HOW TO INSPIRE
TANKO AHMED fwc
Senior Fellow (Security & Strategic Studies)
National Institute (NIPSS), Kuru - Jos
• Cities are living organism that transform over time through
events driven by leadership process.
• The visions to be one of the 20 World Class Capital Cities by
the year 2020 through the provision of infrastructure,
services, and administration.
• Its mission is to develop into a first class city comparable to
the best in the world.
• This paper discusses how transformational leadership in the
FCT Area Councils could inspire extraordinary performance
in achieving this mission.
• A 3-Tier theoretical framework of transformation, leadership
and inspiration is employed to project break-point for
change; leading for attainment of set goals; and the action-
event theory for inspiration, respectively.
• The thematic formation of leadership, policy and
strategy for effective governance is an intrinsic
platform for delivery of extraordinary
performance in the Federal Capital Territory
(FCT) Area Councils.
• This task is achievable when affairs are driven by
transformational leadership, fueled by clearly
spelt out policy, and guided by sound strategy.
• The preceding lecture on ‘Understanding
Leadership, Policy and Strategy’ has already laid
a strong and stable foundation for discourse on
capacity building, especially on how to inspire
Cities as Centres and Movers of Civilization and
• Cities all over the world are known to be centres
and movers of civilization and development
especially under transformational leadership
able to inspire extraordinary feats.
• The FCT has the vision to be one of the 20 World
Class Capital Cities by the year 2020 through the
mission for providing infrastructure, services
• It aims to develop a first class Federal Capital
comparable to the best in the world by effective
and efficient administrative framework, critical
infrastructure, and services to residents.
Uniqueness of Abuja FCT
• The FCT is a capital ‘city-state’ of mayoral and
federal ministry status with only 6 area councils
which are equivalents of local government areas.
• It is host to national seats for federal executive,
legislative and judicial headquarters as well as to
local, regional and global (international)
• This extraordinary status also includes indigenous,
diverse, robust and vibrant population mostly
young, educated and enterprising, drawn from all
parts of the country and beyond.
• Cities are traditionally reflected in their
history, power, vitality as well as feats in
scaling challenges and opportunities in both
classical and contemporary literature
• The city of Singapore was transformed from a
malaria-infested swamp into a shiny
metropolis (Zorroli, 2015).
• The Abuja FCT and its Area Councils aspire to
be among the 20 World Class Cities by 2020.
• This paper projects a 3-Tier theoretical framework of
transformation, leadership and inspiration theories.
• Transformation theory establishes the ‘break-point’ for
change at which one form transmits into another; leadership
theories demonstrate how followers are inspired for
attainment of set goals (Bass & Riggio, 2006); and, the
theory of inspiration matches actions and events in effective
and efficient delivery system (Ruben, 2003; Davis, 2005).
• This framework provides the basis for clear assumption on
how transformational leadership could inspire extraordinary
• Leadership theories developed chronologically from
the ‘great man theory’ to ‘trait’, ‘behavioural’,
‘contingency’, ‘transactional’ to ‘transformational’
proposition assuming an interactive inspirational
process involving both leaders and followers
• The transformational leader works with subordinates,
identifies needed change, creates clear vision, guides
activities, and inspires performance
• This leadership style projects humane, inspiring,
purposeful and result-oriented traits (Cherry, 2016).
• The basic assumption of the transformational
leadership theory here is:
• That people will follow a person who
inspires; that a person with vision and
passion can achieve great things; and
• That the way to get things done is by
injecting enthusiasm and energy.
• Many cities around the world are stressed by
mounting challenges as well as depressed of growth
by the combination of rising costs and high demand
of providing social and developmental services
(Peirce & Guskind, 2013).
• While others crumble, those able to reform and
harness resources for meaningful progress are able
to prosper within same global environment through
• The argument here is that, even with
transformational leadership in place, the idea of
being able to inspire breakthrough by extraordinary
performance is not always inevitable.
The aim of this paper is to conceptualize,
correlate and explain how transformational
leadership in the FCT Area Councils can inspire
• Transformational leadership is the style in which a
leader identifies the needed change, creates a vision,
set out on a mission to guide the change through
inspiration and executes the change with
commitment of followers (BussinessDictionary.com).
• It emphasizes on intrinsic motivation and follower
development involving inspiration for success through
extraordinary performance (Bryman, 1992; Bass & Riggio,
• It exhibits unique attributes with emphasis on
motivation, cooperation, persuasion, cooption and
inspiration of followers (Bass & Riggio, 2008)
Attributes of Transitional Leadership
• The transformational leader is a visionary, a
revolutionary, a change agent, a game
changer, and a transformer who is able to
inspire extraordinary performance.
• By virtue of being elected or appointed to
carry out the FCT vision and mission, the
Chairmen and Senior Officials of the FCT are
presupposed as transformational leadership.
The FCT Area Councils
• Area Councils are the lowest in the 3-tier Nigerian
geo-political structure of ‘federal’, ‘state’ and ‘local’
• The Abuja Federal capital Territory (FCT) Area
Councils were actually ‘local governments’ later
named ‘area councils’.
• Presently, the FCT has 6 area councils including
Abaji, Abuja Municipal, Gwagwalada, Kuje, Bwari,
• These councils are headed by democratically
elected Chairmen and Councillors, assisted by other
• Inspiration involves stimulation,
encouragement, motivation, galvanization,
impassion or spurring to action a group, team,
followers or organization for attainment of set
goals (Aron, 2015).
• This is done through series of well-designed and
deliberate actions and events which influence
behavior, attitude and zeal of subordinates to
perform effectively and efficiently.
• This process of influence allows for leaders to
make followers or organizations to think, act
and deliver beyond the ordinary
(Bass & Riggio, 2008; Charland, 2016).
• Extraordinary signifies unusual excellence or feat which
attracts deserving and sincere attention, comment,
acknowledgement or applause because of being wonderful
• It depicts additional effort, special purpose, greater
commitment or simply going beyond the ordinary or
established scope of things.
• Its synonyms include being excellence, remarkable,
exceptional, amazing, marvelous, incredible, spectacular,
outstanding, impressive, noteworthy, great, fantastic,
terrific, tremendous or wondrous.
• These would be delightful to the ears of applauded
transformational leaders and their inspired followers on
accomplishment of extraordinary performance.
• Performance refers to the accomplishment of any
given task often monitored, evaluated and
measured against preset known standard of
accuracy, completeness, cost and speed.
• Operational performance implies modal functions
for effective accomplishment or implementation of
tasks or set goals of a venture, agency or
• Performance Science employs multidisciplinary
approach and draws methodologies from various
disciplines in order to understand skills,
mechanisms, processes and outcomes of
performance activities and experiences (Aron, 2015).
• Extraordinary Performance demand strategies
that can help leaders reach beyond ordinary
success by increased effectiveness and efficiency
for achieving spectacular results (Cameron, 2012).
• It is measured on how well objectives are met
given internal and external factors influencing
available resource management (Ruben, 2003; Davis,
• Extraordinary performance is attained through
positive leadership enabling positive climate,
relationship, communication and meaningful
IN THE FCT AREA COUNCILS
Political Leaders and Public Administrators as
• The participants of this workshop made up of
elected Council Chairmen and other Senior Officials
are political leaders and public administrators.
• By virtue of their political manifestoes, campaign
promises, charisma and voters’ support for political
leaders; and the duty schedule and responsibility of
public administrators, all participants are supposed
to be change agents.
• Also, the FCT vision and mission require those in
charge to be transformational leaders able to
inspire extraordinary performance in attainment of
Ascribed Attributes for the FCT Transformational Leadership
• Transformational leadership in the FCT Area
Councils is to emphasize intrinsic motivation,
positive development of followers and raise
awareness of moral standards.
• It is to create an ethical climate of share values and
high ethical standards encouraging followers to look
beyond self-interests to the common good; and to
promote cooperation and harmony and use
authentic but consistent means of getting results.
• These ascribed attributes for FCT transformational
leadership demand for an in-built fervor on how to
inspire extraordinary performance among its
The Transformational Leadership Report (2007)
The goal of transformational leadership is to:
“Transform” people and organizations
in a literal sense and change them in
mind and heart;
Enlarge vision, insight, understanding
and seek to clarify purposes;
Make behavior congruent with beliefs,
principles, or values; and
Bring about changes that are
permanent, self-perpetuating, and
The American Management Association (AMA)
It tasks the transformational leader to
assess strengths and lead by example to
rise to challenges; inject passion and
sense of purpose to spark creativity and
innovation; inspire the team to reach and
strive for greater performance on their
own; cultivate a culture where followers
want to become leaders; and create and
articulate vision for the future.
Inspiring Extraordinary Performance
The AMA further advised on continuous
evaluation style; exploration of skills;
assessment of responsibility level; making
adjustments and developing process for
enhancing competencies; monitoring of
progress by milestones; developing
adaption process for team’s culture; and
creating adjustment action plans.
Passion for Extraordinary Performance
• The transformational leader must have passion
for extraordinary performance backed by
unceasing zeal to inspire for good, better and
• In the words of Tim Duncan’s Quote: “Good
better best, never let it rest, until your good is
better, and your better is best”
• This narrative ascribes routine approach or
work habit on how to inspire extraordinary
performance towards the attainment of the
FCT vision and mission statement.
Transforming People for Better Performance
• The Transformational Leadership Report (2007)
quoted Steve Covey stating that the goal of
transformational leadership is to “transform”
people and organizations in a literal sense; to
change them in mind and heart; enlarge vision,
insight, and understanding.
• The Report further seeks to clarify purposes;
make behaviour congruent with beliefs,
principles, or values; and bring about changes
that are permanent, self-perpetuating, and
The American Management Association (AMA)
The AMA tasks the transformational leader to:
Assess strengths and lead by example and
rise to challenges;
Inject passion and sense of purpose to
spark creativity and innovation;
Inspire the team to reach and strive for
greater performance on their own;
Cultivate a culture where followers want
to become leaders; and
Create and articulate vision for the future.
Cities as Centres for Extraordinary Breakthrough
• Cities have been centres of civilization,
development, invention innovation and
• This trend alone bestows on any active,
robust and virile city like Abuja, to
pursue rapid development agenda.
• The FCT Area Councils, as parts of this
unique and privileged trend could make
themselves as hubs or magnetic points
for rapid change.
The Breakthrough Cities Report
• The Breakthrough Cities Report by the British
Council’s Creative Cities Project is active in
Russia and 14 other countries in Europe.
• It is about how cities can mobilize creativity
and knowledge to tackle compelling social
and developmental challenges and
• The project runs provides inspiring ideas on
how to make cities better places to live and
The Urban Ideas Bakery Concept
• The ‘Urban Ideas Bakery’ concept which engages
community members and international partners to
‘bake urban ideas’ into practical, deliverable
solutions to improve quality of life in world cities
• The proximity of FCT to the nation’s capital and its
highest point of activities including direct contact
with local, national, regional and global functions
gives it unique and ample privileges and
• Ideas and resources from these sources are
available for almost unlimited ventures for
transformation and high performance.
The AMAC Youth Skills Acquisition Centre
• An example with similarities to the British Council’s
Creative Cities Project able to capture available
privileges and opportunities is seen in the Abuja
Municipal Area Council (AMAC).
• The AMAC is constructing a Youth Skills Acquisition
Centre for training and development of much
needed competency for upcoming, promising and
key players in solutions in tackling social and
developmental challenges and opportunities.
• The multiplier effect of this project would surely
bring about extraordinary performance for the
AMAC if handled properly.
• This paper sets out to conceptualize
transformational leadership and extraordinary
• It describes and establishes the elected Chairmen
and Councillors and other Senior Officials of the FCT
Area Councils as political leaders and public
administrator within the scope of transformational
• It relates to the proposition that people will follow
a person who inspires; and that a person with vision
and passion can achieve great things; and that the
way to get things done is by injecting enthusiasm
• The paper concludes that transformational
leadership could inspire extraordinary performance.
• That is, the participants of this workshop made up
of elected Chairmen, Councillors and Senior
Officials are by implication ‘transformational
leaders’ charged with the responsibility of attaining
goals set by the FCT vision and mission.
• Also, the task is achievable through inspiration for
extraordinary performance inherent in the
attributes of ‘transformational leadership’, for
“transformational leaders inspire followers to
achieve extraordinary outcomes”.
• The paper strongly recommends series of
deliberate actions and events aimed at creating
passion for extraordinary performance.
• The Area Councils should take advantage of the
unique and ample opportunities available for rapid
development to make the Abuja FCT a world class
centre for service, administration and economic
hub for the West African sub-region in particular
and the African continent in general.
• Also, particular attention should be given to
utilization of local and global best practices,
continuous capacity building as well as developing
partnerships with other cities across the world.
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• Bryman, A. (1992), Charisma and leadership in organizations. London, UK: Sage
• Cameron, K. (2008), Positive leadership. San Francisco, CA: Berrett-Koeler
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• Zorroli, J. (2015), How Singapore became one of the richest places on earth