Sanwo-Olu, Fashola, Speak @ First Lateef Jakande Leadership Summit

l-r: Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat; Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu; former Governor of the State and Ex-Minister of Works & Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN) and the Executive Secretary of Lateef Jakande Leadership Academy (LJLA), Mrs. Ayisat Agbaje-Okunade, during the LJLA 2024 Lagos Leadership Summit at the Konga Place, Lekki, Lagos, on Wednesday, 17 April 2024.

The first Lagos Leadership Summit, held Wednesday, ignited new passion and zeal towards charting a new course of action for the country’s future. The event, organised by Lateef Jakande Leadership Academy (LJLA), presented an opportunity for inclusive interaction between old and new generations.

Debates, speeches and panels delved into topics that challenged the mental, emotional and physical preparation of the youth to take up leadership roles. Discussants evaluated how young people currently in leadership positions had inspired impactful changes.

The event, with the theme: “Leadership and Nigeria’s Future”, held at Konga Place in Lekki, was graced by a large physical and virtual audience, indicating the interest of the youth in the conversation.

Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu shared his personal leadership engagement story with the participants, recalling how, at 37, he was appointed into Lagos State cabinet as Special Adviser with only private sector experience.

The Governor said his appointment into public service offered him the opportunity to learn multidimensional leadership and build problem-solving capacity, which, he added, prepared him for bigger tasks in the course of his public career.

Sanwo-Olu said the summit was initiated with the objective to create an engaging platform for young people to channel their energy, knowledge and creativity to actions that would project their leadership skills.

He said: “We believe young people are leaders not only for tomorrow, but today. This idea gave birth to Lateef Jakande Leadership Academy through which we provide opportunities for young leaders to learn, innovate and develop skills that will enable them hone their leadership skills. 

“For us, it is not about the contemporary challenges that we face; it is about the innovative ideas and solutions that we will bring about in solving the problems. That is why we all gather here to make you think out of the box, innovate and unleash your leadership potential.

“The quality of output from the Academy has not only shown us that we took the right step, the feedback has been outstanding and we are prepared to create more platforms for robust youth engagement. The country is banking its future on the youth. Character is critical; young people must have the competence and vision to make the changes you want to see.”

Former Minister for Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola, during a discussion titled: “Ethical Leadership and its Impact on Nation Building”, lent his voice to the notion that young people must go through the rudimentary process of leadership before being entrusted with responsibilities. 

The former Lagos Governor also said the notion that “the end justifies the means” could no longer be a standard practice in governance, stressing that the leader must do the right thing even if the consequence won’t go down well with the population.

He said: “Days of the end justifies the means can no longer be the gold standard for governance any more. The process must be as important as the result. I subscribe to enjoyment after adversity because I have had introspection on every sustainable success story we have had, not one of them had not been built on the foundation of adversity.

“Therefore, if the utilitarian value of any policy, project or programme being pursued by the government serves the greatest good to the greatest number of people, then the leadership must go for it regardless of the consequences. In years to come, many people would look back and say it was better that we did it the way it was done.”

The Deputy Governor, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, shared perspectives on “Leadership and Community Engagement: Strengthening the social Fabric of Nigeria” during a session moderated by the Special Adviser to the Governor on Legal Matters and Public Private Partnership (PPP), Mrs. Bukola Odoe.

Dr. Hamzat noted that foundation for building a consensus in the community had been jettisoned  for individualism. 

This, the Deputy Governor said, had made parenting significantly deviated from its essential purposes. 

He said: “The older generation inherited a robust community engagement model that pursued the agenda of the collective. Today, the foundation for engagement is weak and people have moved towards individualism, which has eroded the values of collectivism entrenched in our culture and civilisation. 

“In trying to bridge the gap and create robust community engagement, technologies have given us the speed and instantaneous power to drive change within our communities today. We must continue to aggregate what is positive and use it for the best of our communities.”

Minister for Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy, Dr. Bosun Tijani, urged the participants to go with the trend of technological advancement, noting that the future leadership would be influenced by the Industrial Revolution that would be taking place in the era.

LJLA Executive Secretary, Mrs. Ayisat Agbaje-Okunade, said the summit aimed to forge

connections between the old and new generation, while understanding that the idea of leadership is beyond rhetoric.

“Our world is evolving at an unprecedented pace and the challenges we face require leaders who are not only capable but compassionate, visionary and adaptable. We believe leadership must transcend rhetoric and manifest tangible outcomes. We need leaders who inspire confidence, foster unity, and drive transformation,” she said. 

Other speakers at the event included the Minister of State for Youth, Ayodele Olawande, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Citizenship and Leadership, Rinsola Abiola, Lagos Commissioner for Science and Technology, Olatunbosun Alake, Commissioner for Agriculture, Abisola Olusanya, Economic Adviser to Katsina State Governor, Khalil Nur Khalil and Founding Partner of Venture Platform, Kola Aina, among others.

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