Nigeria’s current challenges have nothing to do with Tinubu – Ambode

Former Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State says the current hardship being experienced in the nation did not start with the President Bola Tinubu-led administration.

Ambode spoke at the Akinjide Adeosun Foundation’s 2024 Leadership Colloquium and Award: Chapter 8 in Lagos.

The event, with the theme: “Economic Asphyxiation – The wisdom of Authentic Leaders,” was held at Alliance Francaise, Ikoyi on Monday.

The Akinjide Adeosun Foundation is a non-profit, nonreligious and non-political organisation. 

It was set up to leave a leadership legacy in Africa by strengthening capabilities in today’s leaders and build a pipeline of ready future leaders by 2035

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Ambode said that Nigeria’s problems had a long history and needed a courageous President like Tinubu to fix them frontally.

He said: “It (challenges) has nothing to do with the singular person called Mr President, but if we don’t understand the fundamentals, we will start doing the blame games.

“We need to face our problems frontally.

“The major issue is that we are even tired of not fixing our issues. 

“Now that we have found somebody that has decided in the person of President Tinubu, we should encourage him.”

The former governor, however,  said there was the need to make executive reforms on the coordination circle around the President.

Ambode urged Nigerians to stop the blame games, but be supportive, resilient and patriotic about the country.

He added: “Until we decide ourselves to say that we should unite for the common cause called Nigeria, the security issues will not go.

“We are all in a position to actually support Mr. President.

“Let us start to look at it from a different prism.

“We don’t have to wake up in the morning and be talk ill of Nigeria. 

“We get what we profess about Nigeria.”

Ambode said that what Nigeria was facing had been staring on the nation for 300 years, tracing it to slave trade with what he described as “the divide and extract strategy”.

He said that Nigeria needed a self-awareness strategy to fix problems in the post COVID-19 era.

He added: “We must think out of the box. 

“We have to feed ourselves.

“When we start to think by ourselves and today we will resolve the issues concerning Nigeria, we will smile.”

Speaking on: “Authentic Leadership,” Ambode no matter how weak the followers were, Nigerian leaders must stand in front and continually show confidence that tomorrow would be all right.

He said: “You must stand in front and show them that you are in the challenge with them. 

“You must show them empathy.

“It (authentic leadership) is more about the emotional intelligence that actually understands the frustration of the followers. 

“What is going on around them?

“The issue is: We cannot afford to play propaganda because something is bad, but we keep saying that it is not bad.”

Talking about his leadership in the state as a governor, Ambode said he had come to realise that his background was a reflection of his character and values.

He said that he knew how the ordinary resident feels and this empathy reflected in many of the decisions taken while in office.

He said: “I was not born with a silver spoon in my mouth. 

“I recognise the fact that I was just opportune to be a leader and I am actually part of them.”

Ambode said that authentic leaders should encourage the people, get their sympathy and provide them hope that “whatever they were going through would go away”.

“My sense of empathy brings a bigger sympathy from followership,” he said.

He said that if the leaders showed empathy to the people and carried the people along, the people as followers must start to sympathise.

Ambode urged those in government to communicate their difficulties and what they were going through, stressing the need for community information.

Speaking on the theme of the event, Pharmacist Akinjide Adeosun, the Visionaire of AAF and CEO of St. Rachael’s, described Asphyxiation as a state of being deprived of oxygen.

He is also the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of St. Rachael’s Pharmaceutical Nigeria Limited.

Adeosun said that such could cripple activities and if not managed, will ultimately lead to death “exactly as it is being currently experienced in present day Nigeria”.

He emphasised the need to be transparent, upright, empathetic, even in the face of economic and social challenges.

Also speaking, Kelvin Emmanuel, Co-Founder, CEO at Dairy Hills, who spoke on strategies to navigate the difficult times that Nigerians are facing presently, emphasised that things were indeed tough.

Emmanuel proffered strategies to sail through hard times such as these, but hinged on the  need for  physical federalism in Nigeria, whereby states would be able to manage their economy.

Prof. Ayodele Coker, a Psychiatrist, advised that in all of these economic challenges, good mental health remained paramount.

He emphasised the importance of good mental health also as a driver in governance and leadership.

“This will help reduce incidences of illnesses, make one happier, help to build better relationships, build stronger stressor mechanisms among others,” Coker said.

In terms of technology, Microsoft Country Managing Director (Nigeria and Ghana), Ola Williams, said that AI had come to help us to be more productive.

According to her, AI provides a new pathway for a lot of people to come into new job opportunities.

Williams said there was also the need to build AI responsibly and support strategies on AI “as the power, if properly harnessed, can drive positive changes in health, education, security among others.

“Indeed, AI will boost global GDP by 2030 up to about 14 percent or $15. 7 trillion.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Pastor Taiwo Odukoya received the 2024 AAF Award for helping to provide hope for the lost, when he was alive.

His daughter, Toluwani Odukoya, received the price in honour of  Odukoya.

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