BEING A TEXT OF A SPEECH DELIVERED BY THE EXECUTIVE CHAIRMAN OF AMUWO ODOFIN LOCAL GOVERNMENT,COMRADE AYODELE ADEWALE, AT THE CHIJINDU EZE FOUNDATION YOUTH SEMINAR ON THE THEME: YOUR LEADERSHIP STARTS NOW, ON THE 9TH OF NOVEMBER 2013, AT ROCKVIEW HOTEL, 23 ROAD FESTAC TOWN,LAGOS
Permit me to start this speech with a quote from president Barrack Obama, “change will not come if we wait for some other persons. We are the ones we have been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.”
Ladies and Gentlemen, what an opportunity so golden to be called upon to join the growing discuss on an issue so important to occupy our contemporary pre-occupation --------- Your leadership starts now.
I consider this gathering today as one of the numerous platforms in Nigeria with a common objective as to properly position the youth at the centre stage of national development in Nigeria.
Leadership is a concept that is inevitable at every level of development in the society: whether at the primary, secondary, tertiary, quaternary as well as other levels. Every society must necessarily have a few unique individuals that have determined to selflessly clothe upon themselves the responsibility and attitude to care for others and to help manage the collective resources of others. Therefore, leadership for every one of you starts now.
No one is born a leader. Leaders are made in the factory of resilience, determination, responsibility, selflessness, sacrifice, hard work and diligence. You are encouraged to imbibe all of these attributes. Your leadership journey can tilt in several directions depending on your passion and interest: academic, social, economic, political, religious and so on.
This is the right time for you to begin to examine the elements that you are made of in other to know the appropriate leadership position that you will fit into. After examining where your passion lies, you must derive leadership inspirations from successful leaders through mentorship guide and role modeling. The internet as well as its numerous global search engines is available for you to research on time-tested and experienced mentors.
Education is an important factor as far as leaning to become a leader is concerned. Hence, creative student learning in an enviable qualitative school environment is germane to responsible leadership. It is unfortunate that for about four months our university students have been sitting at home because of the persistent industrial strike actions by University lecturers who are justifiably clamoring for better infrastructure, welfare of students and lecturers and general development of our ivory towers. The polytechnics and mono-tecnics are not spared of this recurring and unnecessary closure of our academic institutions. Similarly, the behavior and participation of a student within his family set up are directly relevant in the king of leader that such a student becomes.
Leadership is not about position. You may not be privileged to be in the first position in your family. Likewise, amongst your peers you may not be holding conspicuous positions, but that does not prevent you from excelling as a distinguished leader. Many of the problems we experience as a country is as a result of dearth of leaders. You must therefore begin to learn how to be distinguished leaders.
Every major development that you see in the world today have been built by leaders: the viable economies of countries, infrastructure development of nations, the pyramid of Egypt, great walls of China, the fancy bridge of London and other great inventions. For those of you that have been carefully observing developmental strides in Amuwo Odofin Local Government, you will realize that in the last five years God has blessed us with responsible leaders in diverse field, and the result is all that you see in infrastructure, education, security, health, sports, youth empowerment amongst many others. All these and more have been driven by leaders. I therefore ask you; wouldn’t you strongly desire to be leaders?
Leadership involves consistency and maintenance. You cannot be a leader today and a failure tomorrow. The moment you decide to be a leader, you must continue therein. All the progress made by the leaders of yester-years, must be improved upon and maintained by you: the leaders of today. Without good leadership the society will be in disarray and gradually die.
The starting point of all great leadership therefore is the determination to be a leader, followed by the humility to learn to gradually follow the steps, paying rapt attention to your teachers in school and asking questions whenever you need clarifications, participate in useful and purposeful extra-curricular school activities, especially those tailored in line with your passion, list a number of mentors in your chosen directions and carefully study their failures and successes, interact with your mentors whenever the opportunity arise and ask intelligent questions from them.
You must be driven by passion, not money. Whenever you discover any avenue where you can enrich your passion, go for it, whether or not money is involved at the outset. You must deliberately cultivate the culture of volunteering, participate in national, State and local government programs, joining associations such as boys scout, girl guides, man o’ war etc. that will enhance your national consciousness.
In conclusion, Leadership is not a destination. It is a skill that you will work on and develop throughout your life. There is no effortless path to excellence and accomplishment in this domain. There is leadership at every level: individual, inter-personal, organizational and global. Whichever level that you find yourself, the following leadership under-listed tips must be learnt and imbibed by you if you choose to be a responsible leader:
1. Leadership is by example. You must practice what you want your followers to believe. In spite of your human differences, you will discover that your followers will automatically fall in line with your ideals. People will observe how you lead yourself, the discipline in your own life, and the choices you make. They will watch you in action. Your actions serve as an example to others. Always consider the type of example you set for others.
2. Associate mostly with people who have the kind of leadership vision and drive that you have. Whenever it is possible relate with people who are better than you from whom you can learn new things, and learn to ask such people intelligent questions whenever you have the urge to do so.
3. Learn to be accountable and take responsibility for your shortcomings. A good leader realizes that even if his followers fail, it is the leader who bears the brunt and full responsibility, just like he enjoys the glory whenever there is success. It is for this reason that the leader does not go to sleep, even if others do, unless his earmarked assignments for the day have been completely executed.
4. Learn to communicate effectively. A leader must develop himself or herself to a good speaker and listener. You must be patient, and care for people enough to want to listen to their points of view. Leaders are readers. Cultivate the habit of reading good books in addition to your school books. When you discipline yourself to read such books, you will invariably communicate with great leaders and derive inspirations which may not be readily available.
5. Learn to appreciate failure. You must realize that leadership is not about success all the time. There are times that you feel disappointed that you did not hit your expected mark. However, you must never be dismayed; neither must you throw in the towel. Look carefully at why you have failed, and be determined to correct the mistake the next time it recurs. As a leader you are one in a million and cannot afford to spend all day like others grieving over your loss. You must always learn to move on, no matter what.
6. Selflessness. Leaders don’t think about themselves alone. All genuine leaders that have existed on earth – from religious leaders to political leaders to academic icons and business moguls. Their common denominator is that they all cared for the people: their people and they put their people’s welfare ahead of selfish interests. Your success, as a leader depends on the success of others. You will need to shift your focus from “me” to “we.” In fact, your success will no longer be measured by your individual contribution. Instead, you will be evaluated on your ability to create and maintain a highly engaged team that is willing to give it their all.
7. Do not isolate yourself from your people. Leaders train themselves to identify the different skills, talents, strength and weaknesses of their team mates, and ensure that each one of them is assigned to do the task that he or she is naturally configured to do.
8. Do not compel people to respect you. Do only what is expected of you as a leader and you will consequently earn their respect and love. They will naturally follow you.
9. Finally, seek and follow responsible mentors. Distinguished, may I conclude this speech by tasking the youths to brace up to the leadership question. You should be at the front burner working out the answers to our various national questions.
You are the future leaders of today and should work towards it.
Thank you for listening.
Comrade Ayodele Adewale
Amuwo Odofin Local Government