By Basheer Luqman Olarewaju
Leadership is an art form and a fine dance that consists of balancing the line between delivering results, confronting (un)suspecting challenges when the need arises, and developing and investing in people.
Of the many different styles and theories of leadership, there is one style that, above all the others, encompasses the above-mentioned aspects of leadership but most importantly putting the needs of your followers first.
That style of leadership, called “Servant Leadership”, is beautifully displayed by the Executive Governor of Kwara State, His Excellency, Mallam AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, who is vibrantly called “The Liberator”. If you are to view the developmental strides of the state of affairs in the state, negative sentiment apart, Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq personifies a ‘masterclass’ in what it means to be a servant leader.
Like the infamous World War II infantry commander Felix “Shotgun” Sparks, who led the members of the 157th Infantry Battalion of the 45th Infantry Division, an integrated group of white cowboys, Mexican Americans and Native soldiers drawn from across the American Southwest. That his battalion led saw over 500 days of combat in which they participated in Operation Husky (the Allied push through Italy) where they saw action in Anzio, pushed into France during Operation Dragoon, and was the unit which liberated the infamous Dachau concentration camp.
As the Battalion, known as the Thunderbirds, ended up becoming one of the most decorated American combat unit of the Second World War. Lo and behold! Aside from being an amazing person and a wonderfully creative and people focused Governor, The Liberator — Mallam AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq — is the true Messiah for the harmonious people of Kwara, who led the members of the ‘O to ge’ Battalion of the 2019 Kwara State Gubernatorial Election, an integrated group of coalitions, drawn from across the length and width of the state.
Leadership are expected to show the way forward, especially in unpredictable circumstances or when resources are constrained. Yet frustratingly, what is common to good leadership is not often widely practised. Uncommon Leadership trait in Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq helps him explore the uncommon insights that can make a significant difference to his leadership. It leads him to fresh strategic thinking by challenging conventional wisdom and asking him to reflect on some thought-provoking questions. Using his wealth of experience as a successful business tycoon, Gov AA is changing the odd ways of Governance and enabling us to think differently about leadership.
Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq is widely known for his relentless efforts as the administration upholds the people-focused investments as a bid to serve and reward Kwarans who trusted this administration with their votes in 2019, with many promises that more resources are going into developmental projects that’ll directly impact the poor and the vulnerable, the youths, and every segment of the society.
2019. The people of this state made historical decision in electing Gov AA to govern them. Over the past two years, at all nooks and crannies of the state, we see how deliberate he is in reciprocating that decision. He makes the people, ordinary people and the vulnerable, the centrepiece of activities as a government. A near example is the launched health insurance scheme that is currently benefiting over 31,000 indigents and thousands more. He established a safety net programme under which at least 10,000 vulnerable senior citizens are benefiting. Every local government area has benefited from developmental interventions in road, water, health, and education projects.
April 2021. The administration concluded a recruitment exercise that was a total departure from the past. Every qualified person was given equitable opportunity to compete. This is what our people voted for. At the end of the exercise, this administration engaged 4701 ICT-compliant teachers. No applicant needed anyone to speak for them before they got the job. It is a big leap for the education sector and the future of our state.
Talk of sports, education, health, agric, road infrastructure or human capital development, there are ongoing projects that will change the story of Kwara State forever. According to a statement credited to His Excellency, Mallam AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, “very soon, we will deliver the largest ICU facility in the whole of north central region”. For AbdulRazaq, one needs to appreciate and mention the government’s achievements in other sectors, including agriculture, and a lot that is being done to empower young people such as the recently launched Kwapreneur which seeks to promote and fund business ideas of under-35 persons.
In his administration, we have the gut to witness new dawn with his Servant Leadership trait. In fact, the entirety of the Kwaran youths and other cadres are stimulating fresh thinking on leadership as he gives all and sundry the practical platforms one needs to deliver uncommon success in leadership terrain. He brings uncommon leadership to life, combining insights from remarkable leaders and youthful youth with high enthusiasm towards the development of the state while not leaving the women behind.
Kwara’s Uncommon Leader is blessed with a gift: While inspiring and serving others with integrity, he also models a commitment to self-care and reflective practices. This skillful liberator is focused on being intentional and mindful of his values, beliefs, and guiding principles—in short, he “lives well”. This high level of self-awareness informs the leader’s capacity to model courage and integrity—to “lead strong”. Grounded in his beliefs and values, this leader routinely offer skillful feedback that impacts performance; he also have the capacity to plan and hold difficult conversations with professionalism.