By Kayode Crown
The political landscape of Ondo State is bubbling again. Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN, has inaugurated his 18 commissioners and 10 special advisers.
The whole state is now waiting with bated breath for how things will turn out. It is expected that by the time you are reading this, all the commissioners would have resumed at their offices and would have sprung to work, would have hit the ground running as the Governor has charged them.
For the foreseeable future, this set of people are expected to expend their energies, time, and ideas for the people, while the state provides them resources.
They are not their own. They are here for us, they serve us, even as they serve the Governor. No one is expected to come with a personal agenda, but rather one that serves the people of the state.
They are supposed to sleep, wake up, thinking about how, within the shortest possible time, say that truly, in this or that area, we have someone that is God sent.
That you are God sent does not mean that you are a prayer warrior, but rather that you are a thinking and acting warrior.
Leadership is not about giving excuses for challenges, it is about confronting and surmounting challenges to deliver to the people something more.
They have a clean slate on which to build their own legacies, make their own mark on the sands of time. This tasking time for the nation is actually an opportunity in disguise for those who can grab it.
In the next few editions of this column, I will, one piece at a time, write about the ministries one by one, giving suggestions on what those recently sworn in as commissioners should preoccupy themselves with, in order to swell up their idea bank.
But here, let it suffice to remind the commissioners and special advisers that all eyes are on them.
Beyond the political significance of their appointments is the need for them to be pragmatic, to take charge and make every moment count.
The same presence of mind and focus they deployed to successfully handle previous challenges in their individual capacities should be put to work now.
Nobody expects them to perform magic, but to move forward. The journey of a thousand miles starts with a step. Time should not just be allowed to just be ticking, but they should tick achievements too.
Every single one of the various ministries has the potential to showcase the state as first among equals. The commissioners and SAs are not supposed to wait for things to happen, but rather make things happen.
They have the opportunity to shape the state for the foreseeable future.
While conducting a leadership seminar for senior secondary school students in Akure, I gave them an assignment to pick two spheres of leadership among the six spheres which includes: Business, Government, Education, Arts and Entertainment, Technology and Innovation, Spiritual.
They were to identify common problems confronting leaders in those areas and proffer solutions.
The most common thing mentioned for Government leaders was “not fulfilling promises made”. And the solution we proffered for it was that those in government need to think more deeply, do more research before making promises.
The people are not asking for much. Since the people did not force you to say that you will do this and that, the least you can do is do them.
You don’t want to get carried away with the moment, with emotions, with the need to generate an immediate positive response from the people, generate media buzz, to make great promises that at the end of the day, you fall short of bringing them to pass.
Those teenagers should be given some credit. That is why, for the leader to cocoon himself from the people, and only listen to those who say he or she is the best thing that has ever happened to the world, in a sycophantic mumbo-jumbo, is not the best.
Feedback meeting with stakeholders who cut across the state and would be impacted by the actions taken by them is an important thing commissioners can do.
They should not wait for people to come and meet them, and those who do would probably be looking for favours without any valuable critical assessment to offer.
Rather, they should move across the eighteen local governments to know how the people are faring.
It’s not just up to the Ministry of Local Government to connect with the people at the grassroots, all commissioners should make it their priority and ensure that their aides plan their itinerary to include trips to people at the grassroots.
And this is not just about visiting the kabiesis and take some pictures, but they should listen to the opinion leaders, the educated folks, those who are passionate about their areas and have been burdened about them should be visited, for the government to know where the shoe pinches.
The commissioners should realise that their focus is the whole state and they should be on the road for that purpose.
The staff of the various ministries want to be part of something big, something groundbreaking, they want to make waves, they want to be part of the success story of an impact making commissioner.
The state is in the throes of economic pain. I was in Shoprite area recently and two siblings came around the place and as I left the area, they begged me for alms, saying that they had not eaten all day. Earlier that same day, a pregnant woman that I picked up in my car said she would have to walk a long way home without any help.
It is not the time to point fingers, it is time to take action. And these new leaders have been given a blank slate to rewrite history, to make impact in the lives of those intelligent junior secondary school students I met on the street begging alms. They have the opportunity to cause a new day to dawn.
Mrs Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu, the First Lady has within the last few months proved herself to be a workaholic, and the hundreds of young people in the state would be eternally grateful to her for using her office to create platforms for them to explore different interests and express their potentials.
She has been a one of kind First Lady, not just interested in looking pretty but has rolled up her sleeves working tirelessly.
And recently the Governor himself let the cat out of the bag saying that for all the activities that she has been involved in across the state, in impacting the lives of the young ones, the funding has not come from the state coffers, but rather from various donors.
Now, that is ingenious! Rather that follows the line of least resistance and say there is no money, as the average person would do, the First Lady charged forward, making every moment count.
This is a lesson the commissioners can learn. Let them blaze the trail, by looking at what is possible, thinking outside the box.
We need to understand that it is not everything that is about money.