By Allen Sowore
One of the fulcrums of many states’ administrations in Nigeria is to base economic policies on the common philosophy of the utilitarian philosopher, Jeremy Bentham – ” greatest happiness for the greatest number of people “. This becomes fundamentally flawed because how to measure what’s happiness and the percentage becomes a challenge when few leaders are experts in inducement of happiness of the majority of the people.
For me, the character of a leader is everything. If a leader is flamboyant, he will run the state flamboyantly and ostensibly finds justification for his flamboyance.
It’s similar to what the English jurist, John Selden said about equity. That Equity is according to the conscience of him that is Chancellor, and as that is larger or narrower, so is Equity. ‘T is all one as if they should make the standard for the measure we call a “foot” a Chancellor’s foot; what an uncertain measure would this be ! One Chancellor has a long foot, another a short foot, a third an indifferent foot. ‘T is the same thing in the Chancellor’s conscience. So Governance is like Equity. It’s a roguish thing measured according to character of him that governs.
The importance of the character of the leader can’t be over stressed. For great leaders are inspired by strong character. Martin Luther King Jr confessed in his memoir edited by Clayborne Carson that his father, Martin Luther King , Sr., was as strong in his will as he was in his body.
I’m not surprised by Aketi’s character because as a lawyer he would have passed the moral yardstick set by Brown Jay’s dictum in Re-application, that if the applicant passes the threshold of the bar with bad character there are chances that his character will remain bad and he will become a reproach instead of an ornament of his calling, a curse instead of a benefit to his community. This is with a caveat. Morality is a personal conviction not necessarily a bookish idea.
If you come to Ondo State you will understand what I’m talking about; how the incumbent Governor ArakunrinOluwarotimiAkeredolu, SAN is inspiring development and social re- engineering through creative leadership style.
Without sounding immodest, I think the greatest potential we have in Ondo State is the character of our leaders -dead and living; Pa AdekunleAjasin, DrOlusegunAgagu depending on the leader you want to choose.
Recently, I saw how ingeniously Governor Akeredolu has brought life to the Akure Airport. I began to ask what has he done differently? It’s simple! The cancellation of the earlier arrangement of Chattered Plane for the Chief Executive, N6 million -sometimes three times a week depending on the engagements of “His Excellency The Executive Governor”
But, ingeniously Governor OluwarotimiAkeredolu has rejected both the title of “His Excellency” and the chartered plane ; he has stopped the feeding for the congregation of Government House Chaplain. Not only that, the payment of N50,000 sitting allowance for Labour Union Executives even when workers’ salaries were not paid is gone. He rejected the State’s lectern to address members of congregation. Above all, he has stopped the traditional rulers from genuflecting to him.
The recent approval of appointments of sixteen senior civil servants as Permanent Secretaries in the State Public service based strictly on merit, competence and seniority, even though nobody wants to talk about it as a credit to the present Administration in the State is a clear testimony of creative leadership style that engenders development.
Recently, at the Akure Airport I saw how the leadership style of a state governor has revived a Federal Government controlled outlet -an airport. I mused on leadership style. I queried, AkureAirport ?
Within the period I stayed, two planes landed , Overland and a private jet . Then, I saw Airpeace took off to Lagos all in an airport that hitherto was a jungle.
Aketi’s character and style may have flawed the general philosophy of greatest happiness to the greatest number of people. Akeredolu’s ingenuity is gravitating towards Ghandi’ssarvodaya economic philosophy that aims at ” greatest happiness for all”.
Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria, FAAN must now come and complete the Akure Airport for we now have a leader whose simplicity, ingenuity and integrity inspires development. investors are now coming in daily.
To all travellers in and out of Akure, I borrow the proverb of the Famous playwright, Ola Rotimi in -OvonramwenNogbaisi “at last the big pot of corn has been toppled; now mother hen and her children may rejoice “
Akure Airport is back to life bubbling with human activities owing to the character and leadership style of the man Aketi .
Comrade Sowore is the Special Assistant to the Ondo State Governor on New Media.