Posted by News Express | 2 January 2019 | 1,709 times
“This guy made my life by signing me.” That was the comment of Adekunle Gold, one of the new trending artists in Nigeria, while acknowledging the contribution of another artist – Olamide – to his rise to stardom. This places Olamide in the category of few African leaders in their various fields who did not feel insecure with the rise of another star. Though a star artist to reckon with himself, it cannot be taken away from his profile that he brought Lil Kesh, Chinko Tiger, and others, to limelight.
Let us bring this home to politics. I have not stopped believing that extraordinary people do extraordinary things; and one cannot stand out among thousands without doing things differently. As If it is a curse, African leaders feel threatened and insecure by the rise of other leaders. Character, physical and terrestrial assassination has always been a tool in the hands of these unholy leaders: to bury the rise of a potential leader under their tutelage with exception to some African leaders. Pa Obafemi Awolowo, for instance, was instrumental to the rise of Chief Samuel Ladoke Akintola and so many Nigerian leaders dead and alive. Pa Awo ensured that as he climbs the ladder of leadership upward, the position is taken by his staunch disciples. Akintola, as mentioned earlier, became the Premier of defunct Western Region when Awo vacated the seat. Well, you would say most of our governors now do the same, right? Well if they are not statutory barred, many of them won't leave that position, and that is why many have thought of retiring to the Senate.
We must give it to Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu. And I cannot but agree less that he has surpassed Awolowo, to some extent. Tinubu has all it takes to retire to the Senate, but he didn't (but made way for his wife). In 2015, he had everything to damn the consequences and be selfish, at least, FOR ONCE. But in the interest of all, he gave the office to Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo. Forget about whether the All Progressives Congress (APC) will not win with a Muslim/Muslim ticket or not, the fears were there, but the election could as well have been won with a Muslim/Muslim ticket. After all, despite the Christian/Muslim ticket, the South-East did not give their (majority) vote.
I don’t think Awo could boast during his life time, to have had any of his political sons to rise above him in political office. Tinubu has won the accolades and added stars to his rank by doing this. Former governors like him have taken up ministerial appointments, retired to the Senate or be somewhere or the other, but he remains (a powerful godfather) without an office, until he was given a ceremonial national leader of his party. This earns him more respect and makes his admirers shiver.
In order for this not to look as this article is designed to sell the Jagaban of Bourdillion, emphasis here is that while African leaders should live above phobia of the rise of their subjects or followers, rising leaders alike should imbibe the attitude of grow and let’s grow. You can earn a star by commanding large followership. However, you birth stars by turning your followers to leaders, helping them through the ladder of leadership, allowing them to run rather than jog, let them fly if they can’t cope with your pace, and you still take the praise.
If you want to know how it feels to be a god, just help your followers attain their leadership potential without necessarily wanting to be there alone, all the time.
I recall a conversation with a senior citizen, in which I said to him: “A leader without a follower is just taking a walk.” He said “you are right, but a leader must not only be seen to have followers, he must also have leaders.”
While he is the leader of followers, he must be leader of leaders, only then can he become a true leader. He continued by saying that leaders must have followers, “but true leaders assist their followers to climb the ladder of leadership.”
African leaders enjoy followership and subservience; only a few takes pride in helping people climb the ladder of leadership, it is hard to find true leaders in Africa, except lords and glorified selfish individuals.
•Asoro Abubakri Olatunji can be reached on: firstname.lastname@example.org
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