Ondo State Governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN, has described strategic leadership as a the ability to influence others without coercion.
Delivering a lecture at the National Defence College to the 137 participants of NDC Course 26, in Abuja, Governor Akeredolu said a strategic leader must be firm and fair at all times and in all situations.
“A strategic leader is he/she who is firm but fair in all situations. He/ she must exhibit courage when confronted with the inescapable possibility of making difficult choices.
“He /she is resolute once convinced that the decision made is in the best interest of the generality of the people “, he said.
In the lecture titled: “Strategic Leadership: My Political Experience” , Arakunrin Akeredolu, who admitted that structures of governance take time to advance towards engineering development said the achievements of leaders must however be tied to the wellbeing and happiness of citizens.
“Achievements must , consequently, be measured in terms of the extent to which leadership is able to give direction to the people for the ultimate pursuit of happiness” , the governor said.
While putting the blames of the current security challenges in Nigeria at the doorsteps of the political class, the governor who described President Muhammadu Buhari as a strategic leader, said in spite of the salutary efforts of the president at curtailing the Boko Haram menace and agitations for self- determination; there were still crises threatening the peace of the country.
” The security situation in the country is a direct indictment on the political leadership largely complicit in the politics of subterfuge.
“President Muhammadu Buhari has left no one in doubt as regards his capability as a strategic leader. The security challenges faced by the country had been reduced, considerably, until recently” , he said.
Governor Akeredolu used the occasion to challenge some political pundits who have found it convenient to come up with various terms as panacea to the agitations from various segments of the polity consequent upon the myriad of socio-economic problems facing Nigeria.
He regretted that this category of persons within the political class of the country believed that the current arrangement would not engender peace and harmony among the nation’s ethnic nationalities let alone development.
“Terms, such as ” Restructuring, Resource Control, Revenue Derivation, Federal Character, True Federalism, Fiscal Federalism, among others , continue to feature, frequently, in political discourse concerning the socio-economic challenges in the country.
“We seem to have reached a convenient point when political pundits who throw these terms at us must be asked to explain the meanings.
“What, for instance, do we mean by ‘restructuring’ ? Is it conterminous with secession or self-rule? Are we advocating a return to traditional mode of government before the advent of colonial rule?
“Is development truly attainable while depending on the inherited system of exploitation ?”, he asked.
While outlying the qualities of sound leadership, Arakunrin Akeredolu stated that a good leader must be able to understand the intricacies of governance to appreciate the enormity of the task before him by being responsive, responsible and proactive.
Reflecting on his experience so far in government, Governor Akeredolu said he had never thought taking to partisan politics since being called to the bar over forty years ago in view of the fact that he had wanted to remain being consummate in bar politics.
“I believe in the instrumentality of the law as a veritable weapon of social engineering. I did not consider participating in partisan politics seriously.
“I was most reluctant to join politics in Nigeria. I had been most critical of the activities of the political leadership in the country. I believed that nothing good could emerge from the whole drama of survival played boisterously, by actors in the field of politics, he said.
However, Arakunrin Akeredolu said the open invitation graciously extended to him by his kinsmen and his unyielding guest to serve, made him the current Chief Servant of Ondo State.
And so as Governor of Ondo State, Arakunrin Akeredolu stated he had consistently used his position to take some courageous steps to correct some noticeable anomalies and not minding the possibility of losing popularity.
” I believe that politics should not be an avenue for primitive self-aggrandizement. Participation in politics, devoid of the quest for altruistic service, is banditry.
“I resist all attempts to do things the old way. I insist on my conviction that leaders must take the interests of their people as the very reason for being in office.
” I feel very bad, being part of a process which renders our youth hopeless and helpless “, the governor lamented.
In his conclusion, Governor Akeredolu called on Nigerians to patriotically proffer solutions to the problems of the country by tinkering with the inherited model of governance to reflect the peculiar circumstances of the country populated by people of diverse cultures with divergent interests but a common goal to achieve nationhood. This he called ” the path to redemption” for Nigeria.
A spontaneous standing ovation was the response of the large audience at the lecture which the Commandant of the National Defence College, Rear Admiral Adejimi Osinowo described as “sound in quality and delivery”.
The Commandant who acknowledged the efforts of the Akeredolu Administration within the short period it came on board as captured and reported in the research work of the NDC participants which visited Ondo State in 2016, said it was heartwarming that the State Government was making meaningful impacts on good governance in specific areas like : Agriculture, Micro Credit, Health, Education, Infrastructures like roads and Workers’ Welfare.
State officials in the entourage of the governor include: Secretary to the State Government, Hon Ifedayo Abegunde; Chief of Staff to the Governor, Chief Olugbenga Ale; Head of Service, Mr Oluwatoyin Akinkuotu; State Commissioner for Finance, Mr Wale Akinterinwa ; Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Special Duties and Strategy, Dr. Doyin Odebowale; State Accountant General, Mr Laolu Akindolie ; Permanent Secretary, Cabinet and Special Services in the Governor’s Office, Mr Gbenga Elewuju and the Deputy Chief of Protocol to the Governor, Mr Bola Alabi.