The Registrar of the University of Ilorin, Mr. Emmanuel Dada Obafemi, has said that only transformational leadership, at all levels of governance in the country, could address the numerous challenges of national development.
Mr. Obafemi made this submission while delivering the 1st Public Lecture of the Department of Public Administration, Faculty of Management Sciences of the University.
Speaking on the topic, “Transformational Leadership as a Panacea for National Development”, Mr Obafemi called for the strengthening of democratic processes to make for the emergence of dynamic leaders that are capable of leading the nation out of the present mess of recession and underdevelopment.
The Registrar, who is also the Chairman Association of Registrars of Nigerian Universities (ARNU), explained that “transformational leaders are known as agents of change as well as people to be emulated, as leaders of others, not followers”, adding that “leading a reform requires participation of a large number of followers with many goals. It involves collectively transforming part or the whole of the society to realise its maximum potentials based on strict moral principles”.
According to Mr. Obafemi, “Countries can and should be run like business organisations with all that goes with responsibilities, aims, strategies and envisaged outcomes if they are to have any purposeful existential effects on its people.”
Lamenting that Nigeria has suffered persistent development failures due to bad leadership despite the huge potential of the country, the Registrar called on every citizen to see himself as part of the leadership and to transform his own corner.
According to Mr. Obafemi, the missing link in the nation’s strive towards development is the lack of transformational leaders capable of transforming policies into action and motivating the entire nation to be part of the developmental process.
The Registrar explained that the principles of simplification, motivation, facilitation, innovation, mobilization, preparation and determination are that which the transformational leaders adopt to bring about change and development, noting that such principles must be introduced into governance in Nigeria.
Mr. Obafemi pointed out that the individual is a contributing member of the society, adding that “his self-improvement is tantamount to the improvement of the society. Thus, the individual and his society are intricately linked”.
He argued that human resources are the most valuable assets any nation can possess to advance economically, socially as well as politically and to develop. According to him, human resources need to operate at the best optimal level.
The lecture, which drew a loud ovation from the audience, was later reviewed by the Registrar, Institute of Public Administration of Nigeria (IPAN), Dr. Emmanuel Akin Olufowose.
An award of excellence was also presented to Mr. Obafemi by the Faculty of Management Sciences, University of Ilorin.
Earlier in his opening address, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ilorin and Chairman of the Public Lecture, Prof. AbdulGaniyu Ambali (OON), lauded the efforts of the young Department of Public Administration in organising the Public Lecture, noting that “the Department is hitting the ground running by showing commitment to a component of our academic mandate through the sensitisation, education and information that this lecture offers all”.
Submitting that everything boils down to leadership, the Vice-Chancellor observed that no nation can have meaningful development without good leadership.
He said, “The plain truth is that while many world leaders from Singapore, Malaysia, United Arab Emirates and Canada to even Tanzania and Botswana have transformed their people and countries from want to abundance, for many years, successive Nigerian leaders have been transforming themselves and families with our commonwealth”.
Prof. Ambali observed that leadership is a moral obligation everyone owes the society because through leadership each of us contributes his or her quota at various levels of development.
In his own address at the Public Lecture, the Dean of the Faculty of Management Sciences, Prof. Olujide Jackson, stated that the theme is apt considering the fact that the country and its institutions are undergoing severe challenges, which he said, have made Nigeria to be famously termed ‘the crippled giant’.
Prof. Olujide expressed his confidence on the Guest Lecturer, Mr. Emmanuel Dada Obafemi, describing him as a seasoned administrator, who would do justice to the topic.
The Ag. Head of the Department of Public Administration, University of Ilorin, Dr. Ehiyamen Osezua, said that the Public Lecture was borne out of the realisation that leadership is a scarce commodity and a major problem in Africa and that many scholars are in agreement that leadership failure is one of the major factors responsible for the gross underdevelopment in Africa.
Dr. Osezua said, “The programme has, therefore, been designed for people who want to become leaders, not bosses, and be equipped with leadership skills for the transformation of organizations, associations and the larger society”
The lecture was attended by the Principal Officers of the University, a large number academic and non-academic staff of the University as well as a former Registrar of the University of Ibadan, Chief (Mrs.) Moji Ladipo, among other dignitaries.
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