A case for pragmatic leadership: The Atiku example


hile it is true that some African leaders like the great late Nelson Mandela have provided exemplary leadership in Africa and hence become eternal role models for the younger generations in Africa and other parts of the world, the painful truth also remains that a lot is still desired of the continent’s leaders.



While it is safe to argue that education and exposure plays a vital role in shaping the focus, drive, initiative and successes of leaders, it is also more real to assert that pedigree and experience is the icing on the cake for any leader hoping to excel.



‘Nemo dat quod non habet’ is a legal maxim frequently used by lawyers in asserting that ‘You cannot give what you don’t have’. And in the true spirit of this maxim, it also buttresses the fact that leaders must come to the table with wealth of experience, education, drive, push and zeal and determination to succeed as it is catastrophic for the learning process to hinder or encapsulate the administrative style of any leadership or government in Nigeria, Africa or any part of the world.



And this is where the erstwhile vice president of Nigeria and Wazirin Adamawa, Atiku Abubakar’s pedigree is worth mentioning and commending. A perusal of his achievements and commitment both in and out of government shows a man in his own class and stride, a colossus of sorts so to speak. Atiku’s class entrepreneurial skill remains legendary and worthy of emulation.



Crisscrossing education, communication, agriculture, banking, logistics, printing and more, there is virtually no sector that the ex-Customs officer has not touched in service delivery to the Nigerian economy. Juxtaposed with the jobs created, employments provided, addition to the nation’s gross domestic product and hence overall national development, the impact of his investments and service will be better appreciated. 



Under his Priam Group is an array of companies including the famous Adama Beverage which produces Faro water and Faro juices; Rico Gado Nutrition located both in Yola and Abuja and which produces livestock feeds. Also is the Adamaplast in Yola which produces some of the best sacks in Nigeria, with cottage outlets existing both in Yola and Abuja.



While Intel remains a pioneering giant in logistics; in communications, the Wazirin Adamawa’s Gotel Communications comprising both radio and television remains one of the defining edges in private broadcasting in the North-East region of Nigeria. With interests in banking, real estate, oil and gas and hospitality, there is clearly no sector that Atiku Abubakar has not touched and thus have no knowledge of. And the added fact that all the businesses are thriving despite the harsh economic conditions clearly buttresses the steel in the man.



But perhaps the most remarkable venture is Atiku’s foray into the educational sector where today in the fast changing city of Yola, the Adamawa State capital, is the phenomenal institutions which houses the university (AUN), secondary, primary and kindergarten schools.


That Yola has today become the biggest economic hub in the North-East can be directly linked to the impact that Atiku’s investments in the city has created. The presence of thousands of foreigners trooping into the city yearly as a result of these investments has boosted foreign earnings and income both for Adamama State and the nation at large.



With a Foundation which caters for thousands of vulnerable Nigerians from feeding to educational scholarships, Atiku is truly a man who connects with the citizenry and feels their pulse.



The very tenacity to run these investments successfully when put side by side, the former Vice President’s political and administrative sagacity, underlines the subject and intent of this piece.                             


                                                                                                                With his affiliations to many boards, organizations, international fora and presence and knowledge of international leaders and politics, Atiku Abubakar remains perhaps the most qualified, competent and ready to roll leader that Nigeria and indeed Africa is yet to fully enjoy his potentials.



The bane of African leadership is that while the electioneering process is largely skewed, the voting populace has also not fully optimised their demands, quests and expectations from their leaders.



For Nigeria and Africa to fully shine and run its entire course in the race for global competition, recognition, growth, advancement and development, some basic questions of antecedents and commitments must be asked. Gone should be the days when national development is continually sacrificed on the altar of political convenience.



The late Pope John Paul once said, “Every man, every woman who has to take up the service of government, must ask themselves two questions: ‘Do I love my people in order to serve them better? Am I humble and do I listen to everybody, to diverse opinions in order to choose the best path?’ If you don’t ask those questions, your governance will not be good.”



He who comes to equity must come with clean hands. Nigeria and Africa have suffered and have been set back by decades of poor leadership and economic underdevelopment. However, if we get the leadership right, it is most certain we will get every other thing right. True governance starts with the people electing true public servants.



Like Atiku Abubakar, most politicians and public office holders must come with pedigrees and antecedents that those they seek to lead must connect and identify with. They must have created measurable impacts before seeking to mount the big stage.



In this regard, Atiku Abubakar, the Wazirin Adamawa, stands head and shoulders above the pack.


λBalogun, a political analyst, writes from Ibadan.


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