Former UNILAG VC, Ogundipe, Advocates Research Centre Of Excellence For Leadership, Research Governance In Federal Varsity

Prof. Ogundipe, immediate past UNILAG Vice Chancellor

Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, immediate past Vice Chancellor, University of Lagos has urged President Bola Tinubu to consider setting up a Research Centre of Excellence in Leadership.

He said such a Centre could be cited in a reputable Nigerian Federal university, that would be titled; Bola Ahmed Tinubu Centre of Excellence for Leadership and Governance Research.

Ogundipe gave the advice at the 60th birthday lecture and book presentation of Sen. (Dr) Michael Opeyemi Bamidele recently in Abuja.

The theme of the lecture is Leadership Challenges in Modern Societies.

According to Ogundipe who was the guest lecturer at the occasion, President Tinubu is an enigma, a philosophy, an ideology and a complex personality whose trajectory needs to be committed to intensive research for understanding, learning, replication, preparation of the future leaders, as well as contributing to building quality literature on African Leadership.

He added that his leadership quality should be imbibed by leaders of today’s generation for the unborn generation to have access.

The professor of Botany opined that the Centre of Excellence would also provide opportunities for multidisciplinary research on different leadership patterns, Management and Governance issues across the world, whether public or private sector, in such a way, that knowledge would be preserved.

According to him, it should be preserved in such a way that both the Masters and Doctoral programmes could be developed from the Centre of Excellence.

He noted that throughout civilization, citizens face difficult socioeconomic and political realities that needed individuals who are competent, passionate, fearless, imaginative, bold and inventive to lead them through every step of the era.

He added that some countries had been able to effectively change their trajectories, thanks to the appropriate leadership, but that other countries, had remained helpless because they were yet to find those individuals who could turn their fortunes around.

“It has been argued, repeatedly, over the years that Nigeria, like other African countries, has fallen short of its potential, because of a lack of leadership to address current governance difficulties, in spite of the vast resources available in the region.

“As Rodney puts it, “Africa is well endowed with mineral and primary energy resources”. Africa is home to nine per cent of the world’s population, with the abundant value of mineral production. However, this has not yet translated into prosperity and development for its populace. The reason may not be far-fetched. The fact that we live in a dynamic, complicated, and constantly changing world requires good and innovative leaders to help African citizens navigate the complexities.

“Therefore, as a Professor and former Vice Chancellor who understands the criticality and importance of research, I am recommending today, that His Excellency, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and his political and leadership beneficiaries should consider setting up a Research Center of Excellence in a reputable Nigerian Federal University.

“President Tinubu is an enigma, a philosophy, an ideology and a complex personality whose trajectory needs to be committed to intensive research for understanding, learning, replication, and preparation of the future leaders, as well as contributing to building quality literature on African Leadership.

“I hope Sen. MOB will champion this course and see it to reality. I am certain the University of Lagos has the capacity and resources to host the Centre, should you consider this,” he stated.

Speaking further, Ogundipe said that through policies that support job growth, income redistribution, and social mobility, leaders must strive to address the various outlined challenges bedevilling the society and work to build a more equal one.

“Political instability can result from failing to address these problems and eroding public confidence in government.

 “In order to exercise effective leadership, one must also execute strategies that support small and medium-sized businesses, stimulate innovation, and create a competitive business climate.

“Social welfare programmes that protect disadvantaged groups, such as unemployment compensation, access to healthcare and educational opportunities, must be prioritised by leaders,” he said.

The former UNILAG vice chancellor added that to maintain economic stability, leaders must also encourage inclusive development and lessen inequality and make wise choices.

Ogundipe emphasised the need for leaders to also subject themselves to accountability to their people and citizen, in a bid to ensure their continuous support and confidence.

“To repair the present trust deficits between the leaders and the led, deliberate intention and coordinated programs that will show the sincerity of our leaders must be deployed to create the desirable positive impacts for the society.

“Nigeria being a very complex nation is very difficult to govern, but our leaders who have asked for these jobs must rise up to the challenge, through performances that can change the narratives for good.

“I have no doubt in my mind that the present crop of leaders is more than capable to deliver this value. As we celebrate our own brother, Distinguished Senator Opeyemi Bamidele OON, I wish him well and the entire leadership of our great nation a safe journey in the present political dispensation,” he said.

He added that to lessen the effects of economic instability and address structural inequality, leaders must also take into account macroeconomic issues, fiscal policies, monetary policies, and social welfare programmes adding that it was satisfying to see an end to the multiple exchange rates and widely known failing fuel subsidy regime,  that were harming the economy and benefitting a select few people at the expense of the entire nation.

“To change that, you needed a bold and daring leader. Though the outcomes have been very painful, this will only be for a while, for the benefits outweighs the pain. However, our leaders must respond very quickly to the yearnings of the citizen, listen to their cries and deploy workable solutions to their immediate needs in order to strengthen their support for these inevitable reforms,” he said. 

 According to him, there is also the need to reduce environmental effects and promote long-term sustainability. He added that there was also the need for leaders to advocate for sustainable practices in industries,  including agriculture, energy, transportation, and industry.

Ogundipe said that Nigeria had the ability to improve renewable energy sources and lessen reliance on fossil fuels, by investing in renewable energy technologies like solar, wind, and hydropower because it is an energy-rich nation.

The don ephasised the need for leaders in the country to coordinate community education initiatives, spread knowledge about environmental concerns and encourage residents to take up active roles in sustainable practises that would stem the daunting challenges of Climate Change.

He added that in order to guarantee responsibility for sustainable development projects, leaders must also set up systems for tracking the development of environmental initiatives.

Ogundipe said that setting up specific goals, gathering information and doing data analysis were all part of this.

“Leaders must keep enterprises, government organisations and other stakeholders responsible for their environmental obligations,” he stated.

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