A gubernatorial aspirant in the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Oyo State, Professor Adeolu Akande, has said a major condition for purposeful leadership is for the leader to be compassionate.
He said many of the manifestations of bad leadership in the country are testimonies that many of the people in leadership positions lack compassion.
Akande, who teaches political science at the Igbinedion University, Okada, Edo State, spoke as one of the speakers at a Leadership Summit for Christian Youths in the ancient city of Oyo, Oyo State at the weekend.
He said every society have vulnerable members which he identified to include children, the aged, the disabled and the very poor who live below poverty level.
According to Akande, who was a former chief of staff to Governor Abiola Ajimobi, the attitude of the leadership to these people in the design and implementation of government policies will determine whether those policies are pro-people or not.
Akande said a leadership that is compassionate will support education policies that guarantee that children of the very poor in society have access to education.
‘A compassionate leader will be bothered that some children would be denied education if school fees or levies are beyond the reach of the very poor in society.Such a leader will support free education or policies that will make children of the very poor to access education. A leader who is not compassionate will see nothing wrong in such children not having access to education’, he said.
He explained that it is such disposition that detetmines whether government gives priorities to social services or focus on protects that do not impact directly on the welfare of the people.
Akande identified other ingredients of purposeful leadership to include vision,integrity,courage and communication skills.
He explained that a leader without vision will either lead the people astray or stagnant in their development aspirations.
‘A visionary leader must know where he is taking the people. He must see ahead of the people he leads and have clear ideas on how to take them to the desired destination’,he said.
Akande said a leader must have integrity and his leadership must tell stories that guarantees the admiration and support of the people.’A leader must walk his talk. He must mean what he says.The people he leads must trust his judgement and pronouncements. His story must inspire and be assuring’.
He said a leader must be courageous to lead the people to actualise his vision because many a times, the people do not agree with where the leader is leading them because they don’t see as far as the leader. ‘The leader needs courage to walk his talk, having given proper thought to his vision for the society’.
Akande cited the example of Chief Obafemi Awolowo who introduced free education in Western Nigeria in 1955 despite widespread opposition and blackmail of political opponents. He said Chief Awolowo stood his ground on free education despite the electoral threat it posed to his party and political career.
‘Today, Papa Awolowo is acknowledged for the transformation free education brought to the people of western Nigeria. He is known today for free education more than anything else. He would have lost this beautiful epitaph of his career if he did not show courage to pursue the free education programme’, he submitted.
Commucation skills was identified as the fifth requirement for purposeful leadership because a leader must be able to communicate his vision to the people he leads and mobolise them to share the vision. He said no government can achieve its vision without the support and cooperation of a substantial number of the people it leads.
Professor Akande advised the youths to participate in politics because they are full of ideas and possess the dynamism to achieve set goals.
He said the notion that ‘politics is a dirty game’ has discouraged many decent people from politics,warning that such disdain for politics will only leave politics in the hands of people who are not decent. ‘Unfortunately,such people will make laws that decent people must obey. As the philosopher Plato said,the consequence of decent people not participating in politics is that they will be ruled by their inferiors. Such inferiority could be intellectual, decency, honesty or spiritual’.