Olusegun Obasanjo

Obinna Chima
Former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, on Tuesday pointed out that African leaders were becoming more strategic, open and liberal-minded.

Obasanjo, who is also the Chairman of the Africa Initiative for Governance (AIG) Panel of Advisors, also said African leaders “no longer take no for answer.”

He said this while delivering a public lecture titled: ‘Leadership in the African Context – How to Drive Transformational Change in African Countries,’ at the Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford.

According to a statement, the lecture was made possible by a partnership between the AIG and the Blavatnik School of Government, based on the shared purpose of building good governance and public leadership in Africa.

Obasanjo said: “Transformational Leadership abhors complacency. It requires proactivity, thinking out of the box, resilience and consistency.
“Shrewdness in policy development and creativity in implementation are virtues which must not be ignored. Transformational Leadership is not a popularity contest.”

The lecture had participants converging at the University of Oxford from within and outside the United Kingdom to hear Obasanjo’s insights on driving sustainable and transformative change on the African continent.
In his comment, AIG’s Founder and Chairman, Mr. Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, described Obasanjo as a statesman of the world.

Aig-Imoukhuede added: “Beyond his contributions as two-time Head of State of Nigeria, he continues to support impactful causes in Africa and all over the world.
“We are privileged to have him as the Chairman of our Panel of Advisors and appreciative of his taking the time to share his wealth of experience and learnings with the world’s future leaders.”

Earlier, the Dean of the Blavatnik School of Government, Professor Ngaire Woods, said: “It was a great honour to host Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, a leader who handed power to a democratically-elected President in Nigeria in 1979, a leader who opposed the human rights abuses of the military coup government of the 1990s – suffering three years of imprisonment as a result – and who was twice elected President serving both his own country, and the continent of Africa, with great distinction.

“At theblavatnik School of Government we have a mission to inspire better government and public policy around the world, and we are grateful to Africa Initiative for Governance for creating such a special and inspiring opportunity for all our students and faculty, as well as for Oxford, and for students who attended from across the UK as a whole.”

The visit to Oxford also served as a forum for the AIG Board of Directors, Panel of Advisors and Management to interact with the six AIG Scholars currently studying for a Master of Public Policy at the Blavatnik School of Government, and to further convey to them the ethos of the AIG Scholarships and the meaning of Leadership. In August 2017, AIG announced the award of the inaugural AIG Scholarships to six young and talented West Africans – Emokiniovo Akpughe (Nigeria), Efosa Trevor Edobor (Nigeria), Abdul-Fatawu Z. Hakeem (Ghana), Chukwunonso Iheoma (Nigeria), Oluwapelumi Simpson (Nigeria) and Emmanuel Taiwo (Nigeria).

In addition to the scholarships, the AIG Fellowships have also been established at the Blavatnik School of Government for individuals from West Africa who have demonstrated evidence of outstanding contribution to the public good, through exemplary leadership in public service.