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Bukola Saraki: Politics And A Test of Leadership

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Bukola Saraki: Politics And A Test of Leadership

Bukola Saraki: Politics And A Test of Leadership
June 27
17:00 2018

BY ADEMOLA AKATANPO

‘Leadership is not professional. It’s personal’
-Quotable

It is a tough fact of life that we can’t fully discover our strengths and shortcomings without being tested by adversity. How we deal with it, or how we learn to deal with it, is central to who we are and how credible we’ll be in leadership roles. For Abubakar Olubukola Saraki, President of the Senate, Federal Republic of Nigeria, wisdom, indeed, is earned better in the den of setbacks than in the coziness of victories.

It is fairly reasoned that the challenges and solutions of leadership are inside leaders. This view stands in line with the fact that natural leaders don’t just do things, they change things. Perhaps, one of the most telling demonstrations of a leader’s abilities comes at a time of crisis.

Accordingly, Saraki, at the wheel of Nigeria’s 8th National Assembly, has not disappointed his admirers nay rivals in the country’s gloomy political landscape. For, rather than retreating behind closed doors in the face of the seemingly endless assaults at harming his hard earned intergity, the scion of the famed Saraki Dynasty of Ilorin has consistently shown leadership at the forefront, assessing situations, evaluating options, and encouraging colleagues in the two legislative arms of government to work together for a stable, fair and just society.

Although, traits are quite developed of natural leadership, certain individuals are, without doubt, born natural leaders. Bukola Saraki falls in the latter category. Balancing on his self-assurance and privileged position as Nigeria’s number three most powerful man, Saraki stands tall amongst leaders who acknowledge the present reality of the country, have been very proactive working on problem-solving ideas, managing change and responding effectively to complex, open-ended opportunities, and challenges as they come. Convincingly, at the legislative corner where he holds court, he does not gloss over problems in hope that they’ll just go away.

Exactly one year ago, June 2017 to be precise, Bukola Saraki revealed that the 8th Senate of Nigeria under his leadership, had passed the most bills in its 13 months of existence. In the light of this, the present Senate, arguably, has in the history of Nigeria passed the highest number of Bills. This hints on development leadership, a leadership that expands the capacity of fellow lawmakers to excel in their respective leadership positions within the Red Chamber, and ultimately achieve results. It speaks simply of Saraki as a servant and transformational leader.

It is of relevance to also note that, in the heat of his case at the Code of Conduct Tribunal premised on alleged false assets declaration, Saraki had worked silently in consonance with like minds to combat corruption in a style that will have profound effects on transparency and ethics of the public service. The outcome of which was the passing of a bill by the Kwara State House of Assembly to suspend pension and other emoluments to former governors and deputy governors. Saraki is a former governor. Therefore, this singular act by him was applauded by well-meaning individuals not because he is the acclaimed leader of Kwara politics but because he exhibited the courage to lead by example thus ending controversies that he was one of those earning salaries from two sources.

The maxim that, we prove our capacity when we gain the ability to focus despite distractions, luckily, is not lost on Senator Saraki. Distraction seems to have become a standard but one that natural born leaders are fortunate to be well equipped to duck. Their worry is buried in a memo of the late legendary success author, Napoleon Hill, which he called ‘The Magnificent Obsession.’ In the letter, Hill demonstrates that natural leaders avoid the cultural norm of being disconnected from their goals. They do not allow trivialities to become urgencies in their affairs. The author also imparts that leaders set targets and keep trying until they hit the marks.

The recently celebrated Offa robbery debacle and the relation to Saraki, and other potential future trials, fortunately, has come to be understood as mere test of leadership based on the dictum that the higher your leadership role is, the more attacks you will get. Most effective leaders have strengths in both good and bad times and they focus on both dimensions in managing their way to victory. Considering the massive support from Kwarans during the robbery saga, the Saraki challenge has shown that the ‘Kwara Accord’ has come too far to be broken by nocturnal politics and no matter the weight of external aggression and gang-up, Kwara State cannot be disintegrated along politics line.

Beyond the mere rhetoric of master-slave bond, Saraki, in fulfillment of his electioneering campaign promise, regularly encourages entrepreneurship by empowering women and youths in his primary constituency, Kwara State, in his urge to make his people economically self-reliant. Studies show that empowerment materials worth N250 million are doled out to thousands of less-endowed Kwarans every year, apart from cash gifts to support businesses and individuals. Also, recently, the senate president unveiled an empowerment scheme that will benefit 40,000 Kwaran youth.

Like every good leader, Bukola Saraki’s opponents are plotting to destabilize his leadership. However, in all areas of life, leaders have struggled with the balance of being feared and loved. Remarkably, Saraki is proving beyond doubts his prowess as a likable leader who is very concerned with every individual, thus he is attracting more ‘likes’ even beyond his loyal camp. This accounts for his penchant for shutting off his emotions in order to push others up the success ladder. And, for this, he will always have his people‘s love, respect and admiration and will remain in the hearts and sole of Kwarans nay right-thinking Nigerians, for a long time to come.

It is, therefore, safe to conclude that, Saraki has an accurate depiction, unwavering incites and commitment coupled with high intellectual competence to his national interest and his country’s developmental endeavour.

It is obvious the journey has not been easy for Saraki but he has so far shown a lot of good qualities of an effective leader in the presence of adversity, which explains the success being recorded by him on every front.

-Ademola Akatanpo writes from Ogbondoroko, Asa LGA, Kwara State

He can be reached via [email protected]

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