“Deep reflection is crucial in political leadership and is the difference between transformational leadership and the banal. So, we are able to understand why Awolowo thought it fit to spend 41% of the budget of the Western Region on education. Why he believed that the misery and wretchedness of the human condition is first on account of an undeveloped mind a mind not formally tutored. A tutored mind Awolowo believed, would unleash the potential in the mind, body and spirit. So, he understood the process of education as one of the unshackling of the three-fold components of the human being.”
“Anyone who has paid attention to Chief Bisi Akande and his political life will notice that he also observes that tradition of documenting his thoughts on governance, on the responsibilities of those who govern.” – VP Osinbajo
REMARKS BY HIS EXCELLENCY, PROF. YEMI OSINBAJO, SAN, GCON, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA, AT CHIEF ADEBISI AKANDE’S PUBLIC PRESENTATION AND BOOK LAUNCH TITLED: “THE CHALLENGES OF GOOD GOVERNANCE IN NIGERIA”, ON TUESDAY, 12TH OF NOVEMBER, 2019
It is a special privilege and honour for me to celebrate the dedication of this book launch titled “The Challenges of Good Governance in Nigeria,” in honour of no less a personage than a true icon of Nigerian politics, a leader of impeccable integrity and a consistent practitioner and advocate of good governance, Chief Bisi Akande.
Permit me to speak for a few minutes on the importance of this event in the mores and traditions of our political tendency. I have titled my comments, “The Value of Introspection.”
A tradition of our political tendency is that of introspection or reflection. By our tendency, I refer to that established by Papa Obafemi Awolowo, which in spite of its various iterations and versions, we all agree to describe as progressive politics.
Awolowo in his lifetime reflected extensively on the Nigerian political economy and all that surrounded it. He did so in several books and speeches. He reflected on Federalism, on Fiscal Policy within a Federal State, he took positions on ideology and its place in developmental politics, he wrote and spoke extensively on Public Finance. He concerned himself with the solutions to the poverty and misery of the majority of the Nigerian people in his days. Because he subjected himself to the rigour and discipline of writing down his thoughts and because that had to be logical and well thought through, his views have endured through the decades and we can use his ideas in contemporary governance.
Deep reflection is crucial in political leadership and is the difference between transformational leadership and the banal. So, we are able to understand why Awolowo thought it fit to spend 41% of the budget of the Western Region on education. Why he believed that the misery and wretchedness of the human condition is first on account of an undeveloped mind a mind not formally tutored. A tutored mind Awolowo believed, would unleash the potential in the mind, body and spirit. So, he understood the process of education as one of unshackling of the three-fold components of the human being.
Indeed, as if to underscore the point of the primacy of deep thought in the life of a leader or in the content of leadership, Awolowo titled a 1973 lecture at the Ake Centenary Hall in Abeokuta in the following scriptural words, “As a man thinketh, so he is.”
Anyone who has paid attention to Chief Bisi Akande and his political life will notice that he also observes that tradition of documenting his thoughts on governance, on the responsibilities of those who govern.
So, you may have come across his books; “A Fresh Start in Osun State”, “Moving Osun State to Prosperity”, “The Inner Minds”, “The Drama of Fate”, where he reflects on the challenges of sub-national governance and his prescriptions based on his experiences.
The deeply reflective style always endures and ensures that he always provides the personal human dance of fate and circumstances that attend all human effort in politics. A major benefit to society of the individual reflection of its leaders is that they explain complex ideas with their own peculiar wisdom and expression.
So in trying to define this phrase that we use so often and we all seem to know what it is even without defining it, that phrase “progressive politics” or governance, Baba Akande simplifies it as a teacher would and I quote him: “In progressive governance, you don’t think of yourself at all, you don’t think of building additional houses, buying new cars or things like that. You think of how you can spread education to your people, how to make health services generally available to your people, how to improve employment; enhance the environment and things like that. That is the purpose of progressive governance”. Simple, explaining like a teacher, but profound.
This tradition of converting the birthdays and celebrations of our leaders to moments of reflections is an important one and I urge that our tendencies continue to do so.
I was privileged to speak on the subject of reforming our electoral laws at Chief Bisi Akande’s 70th birthday, how time flies. Every year since 2008, we devote the 29th of March to Asiwaju Bola Tinubu’s birthday to the Bola Tinubu Colloquium where we take as deep a dive, as a one-day event will allow, into matters of importance into governance or our political economy.
It is the duty of leadership to continue to reflect, to write, to debate, the rigour of our thoughts and ideas and the discipline of execution that will lift our people from ignorance and misery to wealth and prosperity.
So, I commend the organizers of this event and in particular the author and my learned colleague, Mr. Oluseyi Adetanmi, esq., for keeping to that uplifting tradition of using and devoting the birthday celebrations of our leaders to reflection or introspection on our nation and its affairs.
I also congratulate Baba Akande on one more honor and there are several more to come, and for allowing us use his prodigious reputation again as an opportunity for reflection.
I pray that you will see many more great years in health and joy and that you will see your dream of a great Nigeria in your own life time in Jesus Mighty Name.
God bless you all.
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity
Office of the Vice President