Former President Olusegun Obasanjo


Olufemi Adediran, Abeokuta




Obasanjo who spoke at the “Youth Governance Dialogue”, organised to mark the “2017 International Youth Day” in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital at the weekend insisted that leadership wass never given on a platter of gold, but they have to work for it.


The programme was organised by Youth Development Centre of Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL).


The former President who noted that moral values had been eroded in the society, when compared to what obtained in the 50s and the 60s, said those moral values were required for  leadership position.


He also charged Nigerian youths, not only to aspire for leadership positions but to also be prepared for leadership, saying “When we talk about youth in leadership position, the point is, how are you prepared? Are you really prepared?


In Obasanjo’s view, Nigerian is in urgent need of good leaders who must be educationally and spiritually sound, adding “In Nigeria, We are religious but not spiritual.”

He called on youths to remain united and be patriotic citizens and contribute meaningfully to the development of their fatherland.


The former President said, “I joined politics from the top. The only position I contested for in Nigeria is the Presidency, but I had track record of achievements which led to into that. Nobody will chose you, you have to chose yourself.


“People ask questions that what is the different between Nigeria of 1960 and Nigeria of today. In 1950, 1960, there were values but today, these values have been eroded.


“As a youth, you have to carve a niche for yourself and stop complaining. Don’t expect people to leave or shift. For instance, as I am standing, when you come to me and ask me to leave or shift, I may not respond. But when three or four of you come to me, two by my right hand side and two at my left and you press me together, you can actually force me out.”


The former Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Kanu Agabi who delivered the lead paper, tasked Nigerian youths on unity and peace, urging them to be non-violence in pursuing their demands.


Agabi, in his paper titled “The role of our youth in contributing to the Peace and Stability of the Nation,” advised the youths to persevere and pursue unity and peace of Nigeria.


He described Obasanjo as an embodiment of perseverance and urged the youth to emulate him.


“If Obasanjo can make it, you can also make it. He went to army and survived. When was sent to prison and he survived. He was sentenced to death but here he is”, Agabi said.


The Chairman of the occasion, Chief Bayo Ojo, asked youths to eschew violence, but remain resolute and committed to Nigeria’ development.


  1. While I am in support of the suggestion from the former President Olusegun Obasanjo at his presentation, I refused to accept the fundamental foundation on which he based the various assumptions of the presentation at the forum. The youth have tried unsuccessfully to take leadership roles, but the so called elders have used their age, authority, power, and money to block the ways to success.
    How can you ask these children to aspire and become leaders when the present leaders are bad examples of leadership. You have not lead by example. Instead, you portray bad example which was duly emulated by the children. How many of these so called Nigerian leaders groom their replacement and trained them to become good leaders? How many times did the government sponsor a leadership training or national leadership symposium for the youth? How many of these political parties in Nigeria have Youth Affiliation within the party where some of these children can be provided with necessary leadership training
    We need to stop all these stupid lips services in public gathering calling on the young people to learn how to be good leaders. What examples of leadership have we set for the youth to-date? Political leaders perfected how to embezzle money in a kleptocratic system created by them for them to benefit them and them alone.
    You have public servants enriching themselves with billions of dollars using local, states and federal monies which are meant for the common goods of our people. We have political godfathers who are never trained in leadership as politicians but have become public masters hence never learned a thing or two about quality leadership. Our country is run by; kleptomaniac pseudo leaders and people of bankrupt moral values who believed in leadership by pedigree instead of intellectual ability, skills, education, and knowledge. We have not defined the term leadership for the youth to fully understand what it means and yet we demand they behave and perform leadership roles.
    Please, don’t talk to me about leadership unless you know and have practiced the act of leadership with integrity with a passing grade. Be prepared to explain to me with general public approval what your leadership or stewardship roles and responsibilities were that may have contributed toward the full development of specific areas of needs in Nigeria with a documented well-recorded success.
    Tell me what it means as a leader when people stealing billions of public funds are never prosecuted or pursued and set free, but common street thieves that took a bowl of Gari or cell phones were burnt to ashes in the streets. Why the clarion call for leadership if you are unable to lead with the assurance of changing the pitiful condition of the poor masses. You are not a leader if you are unable and incapable of leading your household successfully without any traces of corruption or ethical violations within the social settings of your communities.
    My fellow Nigerians here is the base for learning about leadership, and it is a concretized starting point for the definition of leadership. Here is leadership defined for all of us to consider or at least learn from –especially the youth who still believe in the future of Nigeria

    Leadership is the responsible handling of power authority and resources(people, contracts, materials, funds, etc.).
    It is a critical aspect of governance indispensable to structural, functional and administrative coordination of every aspect of project or process management. Not only is leadership real, it is important, but it’s also critical to social and political groups or institutions, communities, and business organization –especially their development and transformation. No organization or body can exist alone without real leadership. Leadership is the capacity to influence others to work toward a specific goal jointly.
    Several key leadership elements are essential to recognizing effective organizational change or transformation within the context of real leadership aimed at addressing and solving common and current political social and economic problems, and they are Education, Skill, Knowledge, Ability, Ethics, and Emotional Intelligence.
    It is sometimes subjective, but it is the inspiration in charge of effective decision making, in dealing with and understanding individual and people through active listening, and effective communications to engender responsible feedback for decision making purpose.
    It requires a deeper understanding of allocation of organization’s resources, process operations, product management, the priority of strategic needs, distribution and redistribution of power, and effective and efficient management of authority; while establishing and maintaining devoted, loyal followers among the individuals, group or team within the organization.
    Leadership is about redistribution of wealth, who gets what when how and why?
    Leadership is the tendency to avoid using fear, intimidation, disparity, title, power, and authority indiscriminately to influence, guide and accomplish baseless fictitious set personal goals in an organization.
    Leadership is not about self-aggrandizement. It is about, a leader with a purposive vision to improve the lives of others.
    Leadership is the responsible and genuine response to the needs and wants of the people you lead with the ability to groom your replacement to be better than you when you are no longer relevant
    Leadership is about problem solving and solution seeking not us versus them. It is not me versus you. It is about team efforts by us, we, and not me and I with the self-effacing corruptive mundane attitudes demonstrated by most of our current and past politicians.
    A leader sees problems as challenges with potential for possible solutions through shared visions, set strategy and innovative, creative problems solving skills within a group setting
    Leadership is the courage and drive with the resolve to create an environment where people or individual feel valued and can develop self or others to reach their highest possible potential by using passion, coaching, mentoring, encouragement, opportunities, and encouraging self-development where people would never have been developed without such open opportunity.
    Leadership is about identifying, acknowledging, looking monitoring, seeking, finding, and seeing challenging problems as opportunities with potential for solutions
    Leadership is developing style, character and strategy or methods of governing to influence and challenge others to improve performance or engaged in attaining set objectives
    Leadership is a unique, unadulterated, sensitive, authentic but humble exhibition of personal character ethics and values aimed at pursuing set goals to achieve successful outcome
    Leadership is essential and necessary to understand the strength and weaknesses critical to effect change when leading a group, team, team, institution, government, and business organization in developing and executing vision mission goal set by the organization, working out details of the negotiation, arbitration, compromise, while developing win-win solutions
    It allows a person in position of power to plan, budget, organize, guide, direct, coordinate, recruit, retain and maintain cadre of talented followers, and display remarkable ability, knowledge, skill of wisdom and survival instinct despite unprecedented opposition and support of members or an oversight administration
    Leadership is about having a shearable vision, courage, and clarity of purpose that exhibits servant leadership traits which use confidence to build consensus around set common goal
    It includes using positive influence to encourage and lift followers, as well as provide necessary tools for the members to succeed in doing the right things even when faced with formidable obstacles and potential threat of failure

    Leadership is about identifying, understanding and rewarding talents essential to improving process operations and production. It is about learning the values inherent in obtaining competitive edge, professionalism, rarefied experience.

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