How do you weaken a powerful force? It’s simple – you deny it access to its source of energy. It matters whom you have in your corner. It matters who influences you. It matters where you draw your inspiration. A spark will never truly ignite without the influence of oxygen. Even the most talented genius needs validation sometimes.
The premise of democratic governance is that people who are entrusted with leadership should govern with the best interests of the people at all times. This is where most leaders fail. John Magufuli’s presidency is a contemporary case study in leadership that gets it right on one level, and absolutely falls apart on another.
As humans, we tend to project our highest aspirations on to our leaders, expecting them on their worst days to be the embodiment of who we struggle to be on our best days. Donald Trump simply bucked the trend. He had no time (or capability) for make-believe – he lived out his real and true self on the pages of Twitter every single day, and that scared some of us and emboldened the rest of us. Our society indeed is polarized, far beyond what we are prepared to admit.
I have come to realize that our lives become the totality of the individual actions that we take — that we are better off previewing our futures through the actions of today. If our works are not credit-worthy today, they will not be tomorrow; but if we commit to creating value, even if we do not see the results immediately, everything will make sense down the line.
People always want to know how I found the courage to start an organization while in university, and how I aggregated the resources. My answer is simple — just start. When I started, I had no idea what was required to run an organization and I received advice from nobody. I simply wrote down my ideas in a journal, introduced those ideas to a few friends, invited them for a meeting and took their questions.
As I have found myself in positions to mentor others, I have devised a theory of my own – that everyone is qualified to be a mentor. I believe that even if you are only one step ahead of another person on the ladder of life, you have a responsibility – an obligation – to reach behind you and help them up with a combination of your experiences and your wisdom.
The first time I met him was in March 2015, and at that time he was remarkable in an unremarkable way; he was a chubby little boy with a curious dress sense and an eagerness to stand out. We later joked about his checkered shirt and tie combo on his first visit to South Africa to participate at the second… Read More »He Taught Me Leadership: Mubarak Adetunji
I have never formally had a mentor. I don’t even know if that’s true, but I don’t recall ever entering into a formal relationship with a person and agreeing to be mentored by them. Yet, I have been helped along my personal and professional journeys by several people whom I will consider my mentors; some were academic mentors who guided me… Read More »Is Mentoring Overrated?
I have often been asked what prompted me to establish the ALA Model African Union (ALAMAU) in 2013. Truthfully, I cannot take sole credit for the idea. The bottom line is that I was inspired by the passion of the young people whom I found at African Leadership Academy when I arrived in August 2012. So, let’s rewind. I was… Read More »Why I Founded The ALA Model African Union
I have just returned from a three-day experience in Istanbul, Turkey, where I had the great privilege of attending the third edition of the annual Al Sharq Youth Forum, and to network with leaders of some of the world’s foremost youth organizations. My insights from the weekend supersede the fact that global change is indeed possible, and that consensus on… Read More »Change Is Possible; Consensus Requires Effort
Nigeria has come a very long way as a democratic entity in 16 short years, and the promise of democracy is only just beginning to yield its first bud. Nigeria is not a changed country because a new president was sworn-in on the 29th of May, it is a new country because catalysts in positions of authority demonstrated exceptional leadership in the days leading up to and succeeding the 28th of March, 2015.
Too many times, I’ve committed myself to certain tasks and invested countless hours in them, only to encounter a familiar brick-wall somewhere in my head. I begin to question the relevance of that project, its potential for impact, my interest in pursuing it, and whether I am supremely qualified to embark on that task. Once a while, I soldier on;… Read More »Where is Your Heart?