Each time we meet and sit down to talk, it is about leadership. The first time we interviewed Dr. John Olukayode Fayemi, he was the governor of Ekiti State.
Each time we meet and sit down to talk, it is about leadership. The first time we interviewed Dr. John Olukayode Fayemi, he was the governor of Ekiti State. My late friend Dimgba Igwe and I were interviewing him for a spanking hot new biography on Babatunde Raji Fashola, The Nigerian Dream which is now ready and staring me in the face as I write this column. There will be a date for its official presentation.
The second time I met Dr. Fayemi, I was gathering materials for another biographical project in which he offered me great and exclusive insights into the business icon I am writing about. Unknown to me then, Fayemi was on the cusp of resigning as President Buhari’s Minister of Solid Minerals Development and throwing his hat into the political ring to re-contest for the office of the governor of Ekiti State—an office he lost a political season ago to the irrepressibly loquacious Peter Ayodele Fayose, the neck-brace- wearing-lame-duck governor of Ekiti State.
When Fayemi lost to Fayose, he left with dignity, like the gentleman that he has always been, not challenging his defeat in court, but going back to the drawing board to re-strategize. Four years after, Governor Fayemi is back to prove that the true test of a champion is not how many times you fall, but being able to rise from the canvas and fighting back like Anthony Joshua who famously knocked out Wladimir Klitschko in the 11th Round to win the IBF world heavyweight belt after a fall.
In the encounter with Fayemi on March 25 this year, he was full of words of encouragement for my persistence and determination to
travel this difficult and lonely road of biographical writing. About the man I am writing about, Fayemi said in his cool, assuring voice: “I am not sure that given his reticence that he is ever going to write about himself. And it would be a huge disservice to just glimpse off (his story) on the pages of Forbes magazine or Newsweek or TIME. It doesn’t tell you anything. You can’t glean this from one or two pages of feature story in a popular global magazine. It requires an in-depth study and I believe you are doing a service not just to Nigerians and Africans but to humanity by trying to cobble this biography together.”
What an encouragement from this man of letters and a former journalist! Fayemi was full of laments for the tragedy of past Nigerian business giants whose businesses died with them because they didn’t leave behind good corporate governance structures, didn’t build enduring brands, their legacies were not preserved and no books were written about them such as you find in the Western world where there are books on legendary business founders like John Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, Henry Ford, Sam Walton, Ray Kroc and Bill Gates among other global business giants. And this is the vacuum we are trying to fill and be the leader of this literary genre.
“For me, leadership is not political leadership alone,” Fayemi said, as we explore the whole gamut of leadership. “There is the tendency to restrict leadership to those who are presidents, prime ministers, governors and all that, particularly in this country. But I think that would be a wrong definition of leadership. Leadership for me is influence.”
He points out that Nigeria has a couple of business leaders who are so influential that they hobnob with presidents and world leaders. Where they can reach, “some presidents can never reach, and where they can enter, some governors will never be able to enter. In their own quiet way, they affect lives and communities with their philanthropy. They are able to achieve influence in an understated manner.”
In Fayemi, you find a genial soul with a cerebral mind, a gift of the gab and native wisdom steeped in the lore of his humble Ekiti origins. He laughs a lot, particular when he cracks a joke or comes up with a Yoruba proverb which he attempts to translate into English. One of his proverbs: “Your yam will never grow in the eyes of
your enemies.” In the eyes of his enemies, his yam has grown and he is having the last laugh which is the best laughter having won an election a second time to return as the governor of Ekiti State.
As a man who has been lucky enough to serve as a leader in two high-profile positions, first as a governor and next a minister, I asked Dr. Fayemi: How is leadership as a governor different from leadership as a minister? And what leadership lessons has he learnt in the two positions?
“Leadership is influence as I have already indicated. Leadership as a governor is executive. Leadership as a minister is delegatory. That simply describes the difference. The first leadership lesson I have learnt is that you must do everything that is people-centred. Don’t see leadership as a title. It is not an office. Because you are going to leave that office one day. And that title is going to leave one day. Anyone who finds himself in a position of leadership should see leadership as impact and influence. Because that is what people would remember when you are no longer there. In our setting, we have a messianic approach to leadership. I have also learned that no single person can turn around society. No one person knows it all. You need the collective to make a difference. Yes, you need to be firm as a leader, you need to show direction, you need to have vision and you need to be driven. However, you also need people. And that is why you must be people-centred.”
World after World Cup
On Twitter (Mike Awoyinfa @ pressclips) I posted this message on the World Cup which I believe is relevant to all my followers in this column:
Now that the World Cup is over, this is the time to plan your personal World Cup for the next 4 years. What goals are you aiming to score between now and the next World Cup? What are your objectives, plans, vision and strategy? Think beyond football. May God help you.
66 Years of Solitude
By Monday, I would have travelled 66 good years of solitude and the fulfilled dream and freedom of a writer and a roving reporter, on this small, beautiful planet of ours which I landed on July 23, 1952. There is nothing like life, a good life. Being alive. Breathing. Waking up. Having a soul. And God’s engine inside of you. Moving. Driving yourself and finding your destiny. I give God the glory. All the glory.
14th August 2018
13th August 2018
12th August 2018
12th August 2018
NAN The Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) on Wednesday said it had trained 2,337 Nigerians as seafarers to enhance the performance of the maritime industry. Dr Dakuku Peterside, the Director-General of NIMASA, said the aim was to empower them with the sea time experience required by the industry players before engaging them in…
— 15th August 2018
NAN The Federal Government has announced the appointment of the Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun as the Chairman, Board of Directors of Nigeria Bulk Electricity Trading Company (NBET). The Director of Information, Federal Ministry of Finance, Mr Hassan Dodo in a statement on Wednesday in Abuja, said that the appointment was approved by the…
— 15th August 2018
Wole Balogun, Ado-Ekiti A cleric and founder of INRI Evangelical Spiritual Church, Primate Elijah Ayodele, has predicted that Senate President Bukola Saraki will win the 2019 presidential election should he clinches the ticket of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). He, however, warned that the 2019 election would be tougher than that of 2015. The cleric…
— 15th August 2018
NAN The management of Ikeja Electric (IE) has warned against meter bypass and energy theft, as it intensifies metering activities across its network. Mr Felix Ofulue, the Head, Corporate Communications of IE, said in Lagos that the company was losing millions of naira to energy theft, vandalism and meter bypass. Ofulue called on customers within…
— 15th August 2018
Philip Nwosu Unconfirmed reports has it that the Naval authorities have reshuffle its top hierarchy in the commands, sweeping out the Flag Officers Commanding and replacing them with new ones. The new Flag Officers Commanding (FOC), equivalent of General Officers Commanding (GOCs) in the Army, are Rear Admiral O.H. Ngalabak, Rear Admiral S.I Enoch, Rear…
Entertainment— 15th August 2018
NAN Kiki Osinbajo, daughter of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and Afropop Alternative singer, Ric Hassani have been conferred with awards of Excellence by the Abuja Summer Festival for their contributions to Lifestyle and Entertainment. The list was made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Abuja by the festival’s Founder, Chioma…
South-West Report— 9th August 2018
Obatala, Sango, Osun, Esu and Oya among other deities were celebrated through a reenactment of the life and times of these deities. Wole Balogun, Ado-Ekiti Ido-Ile, a serene community in Efon Local Government Area of Ekiti State, recently came alive with traditional festivals in honour of some deities in Yoruba cosmology. It used to be…
Abuja Metro— 15th August 2018
Kuje forest is more than an ordinary one. It means many things to the residents. For some, it means an evil forest, for others, it is a forest of life. – Inside the forest everything is possible Romanus Ugwu For visitors to the Kuje Area Council, an outskirt of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja,…
Oriental News— 15th August 2018
– South-East roads, especially Enugu-Onitsha highway, succumb to gully erosion, raising fears of imminent collapse Raphael Ede, Enugu, Jeff Amechi Agbodo, Onitsha The Enugu office of the Nigeria Erosion Watershed Management Project, (NEWMAP), recently raised the alarm that ravaging erosion may in the near fear future lead to the total collapse of several roads in Enugu State….
Features— 14th August 2018
According to Ayade, the 260-kilometre super highway is planned to lead from a proposed deep sea port at Esighi in Bakassi Local Government Area run through the Cross River National Park – Cross River government in trouble over non-payment of compensation Judex Okoro, Calabar Cross River State in the last couple of years has been…
Literary Review— 10th August 2018
– Youths: Future, Career and Success, RoyalPriest International Limited, pp. 86 By Simeon Mpamugoh Seminar speaker and songwriter, Evangelist Royal Priest Goziem, is out with a nonfiction, Youths: Future, Career and Success, a book reflecting on the significance of youths to the development of nations. The book, which combines reportage, memoirs and analyses to interrogate…
Lifeline— 14th August 2018
“The G4G Initiative is a component of the Girls’ Education Project Phase 3 being implemented in northern Nigeria to help support girls to remain in school and improve their learning achievement.” Agaju Madugba, Katsina The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has embarked on an innovative strategy to address the issue of low girl-child enrolment and…
Education Review— 14th August 2018
There are possibilities that the Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Education might also not be available for the next NCE meeting Fred Ezeh, Abuja The 63rd National Council on Education (NCE) ended in Abuja few days ago. The week long event usually commence with officials’ session with expected attendance from Federal and State…
TSWeekend— 10th August 2018
Faze blew up the music industry with hit songs like Cold Sweat, Kolomental, Faze Alone, Originality, Kpo Kpo Di Kpo… to mention but a few. Ayo Alonge One of the members of the defunct Plantashun Boiz, Chibuzor Oji popularly known as Faze, is back on the beat. This is coming after taking a long break…
Opinion— 15th August 2018
Odili has remained consistent and steadfast in his political relations and persuasion, a predisposition that has distinguished him as a reputable leader James Ume For Peter Otunuya Odili, it is remarkable that the day he was born, August 15, was the same day the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ, was assumed…
Destinies are changed and reshaped at the meeting and parting point of destiny in the council of the inner chambers of the divine. Nathan Uzorma Protus “God has truly delivered me from the shackles of darkness. My two sons were for no reason struck with the spirit of madness in their different schools of higher…
My advice to the G.O. and the other clergy preaching restitution is for them to continue praying for God’s forgiveness for going against His orders Sina Adedipe I was shocked to the marrow the day a member of one of the three foremost Pentecostal churches in the country told me of the restitution policy of…
If you listen to Oshiomhole pontificating about how Saraki took APC’s crown to PDP, you would almost think that the APC made Saraki Senate President. Steve Nwosu Anybody who bought the cock and bull story about the federal government banning codeine and Tramadol obviously did not watch the two political rallies that held in Akwa Ibom…
I wrote all these more than three years ago. Events have since proved me right. I was, indeed, a Nostradamus, the man who saw tomorrow. Mike Ozekhome CURTAIN CALL This week, we shall continue and conclude with our seminal discourse and analysis of the many factors that threw the APC into its present political turmoil,…
Levi Obijiofor There is something highly uplifting about the triumph of five Nigerian school girls at the World Technovation Challenge held in San Francisco, the United States, just last week. All five girls who snatched the gold medal in the competition are students of a secondary school in Onitsha. Their winning entry was a mobile…
More Amazons are knocking at the door of presidential politics. At least five women on different party platforms are taking their wares on the road. Ray Ekpu Mrs. Sarah Jubril has entered the history books as the first woman in the Fourth Republic to seek, in a semi-serious manner, to be the President of Nigeria….
Interestingly, it is not INEC this time that does not have the PVCs for people to collect. It is the people who are yet to go for their Cards. Andy Ezeani From all reports and indications the Permanent Voter’s Card (PVC) is steadily gaining value and reckoning in Nigeria. It certainly has not yet attained…
Ladies and Gentlemen, please rise and welcome into Nigeria’s hall of political mentoring His Excellency, Udom Gabriel Emmanuel. Michael Bush In a country as politically hypersensitive as ours, someone in the opposition must be more than special to deserve let alone get a worthy mention by a member of the party in power. The man…
That visit to the DSS headquarters afforded me the second opportunity of a face-to-face encounter with Daura, who I had previously met at Heathrow Airport, London… Yushau Shuaib It was 24 hours after the official release of my book, “An Encounter with the Spymaster,” in July 2017 that I received an invitation from a top…
No less in need of reforms are the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and all other security outfits in the country. Casmir Igbokwe Clement Obiorah is an unfortunate young man. He hails from Isuofia in Aguata Local Government Area of Anambra State but lives with his mother in Ogun State. His father, an Air…