“Africa Needs New Leadership Concepts”- Oparison
There is the need for Africa as a whole, to redefine its leadership concept in order to be able to manage and reposition its reputation before the comity of nations
This was the submission of Dr. Akin Oparison, Chief Executive Officer, 3E Performance, South Africa, at the 7th Convocation Lecture, Thursday, July 28, 2012, at the University Chapel.
Oparison was speaking in relation to the theme of the lecture which was: “Expanding the Frontiers of University Education in Africa; Current Contexts and Future Pathways”.
The former Human Resource Vice-President, Shell Downstream, Africa, noted that Africa was a major exporter of talents to the West in recent times adding that it was time for it to rise above every hurdle that had been brought about by poor leadership.
``We must begin to renew our thinking and perception about how we see ourselves and how we tell our stories before the international community.
``It is only when this is done that we can see the need to do things differently from the way we are used to and seek other means of encouraging our people through self development and empowerment,’’ he said.
He attributed the various problems militating against the continent to that of leadership, which according to him, was seen as utilizing power that was not legitimized by stewardship.
According to him, this had led to behaviours that were untenable in true leadership, which usually come with its consequences on the people.
``Most African leaders exercise power not authority over their citizens as they do not see their roles as service that embodies stewardship,’’ he said.
Oparison also lamented that currently, the only three African Universities featured in the top 500 in the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU), released recently were all from South Africa.
``It hurts to notice that the highest ranked Nigerian University is not on the top 1000 and this leaves us with the need of coming up with how to enhance the performance of African universities through human capital development intervention. This must involve using proven techniques with demonstrable success in business organisation,’’ he said.
Oparison insisted that these characteristics must be on the leadership dashboard of every university in pursuit of excellence and world- class standard which must also be measured and tracked continuously.
He said that there was also the need for huge financial investments and time in training and learning events for the citizens.
``It is not so much about what people know and learn, but who they become through knowing what they know,’’ he said.
While commending the lecturer for speaking in line with the vision of the University, the Chancellor, Dr David Oyedepo noted that leadership is an out come of an efficient management of self, task and resources.
He added that leadership is about accomplishment of feats and it requires adequate development.
“The things you hear, see and observed is what makes you a leader. Go out there and work on yourselves. Learning is what makes a leader and not what you earn, therefore make your life count, “he advised.