Islamic Cleric Sheikh Shafi, Banire Harp on Responsive, Responsible Leadership

Responsive and responsible leadership have been identified as pivotal tools for a successful and developed nation. This was the submission of the Grand Mufti, Conference of Islamic Organisations, Sheikh Dhikirullahi Shafi’i, and former chairman of the Asset Management Commission, Dr. Muiz Banire at the 28 edition pre-Ramadan lecture of the University of Lagos Muslim Alumni (UMA).

Speaking at the annual event, Banire, a former Lagos commissioner for the environment said no nation survives without transformational leadership.

Given the qualities a leader must possess to govern and lead effectively, Banire speaking on the theme ‘National Transformation: Between Responsible Leaders and Responsive Citizenry’, said is adherence to the rule of law.

He said: “A leader must believe in rule of law. Any leader that fails to enshrine and promote rule of law certainly invites the rule of man, the implication of which is the engendering of anarchy. The rule of law is what guarantees the rights of everyone notwithstanding your status”.

Accountability he noted is the thrust of leadership, hence, all leaders must be accountable to their subjects for them to succeed in their roles as leaders.

“Accountability is central to leadership. Accountability and probity are the watchwords of an upright leader. A leader that cannot render a valid account to the followers does not deserve to occupy the position of leadership.”

Continuing, the former AMCON boss said leadership must build consensus among the followers for a successful reign.

“It is not enough for the leader to entertain the views of the people; he must allow those views to influence his decisions once they are good views. Since government exists through social contract, there must be a consensus between people’s expectations and government positions,” he said.

Sheikh Shafi’I in his submission of what leaders and followers should be, said as important as the roles of leaders are so also are the followers. He said leadership does not exist in isolation hence both the leader and followers must be responsive to their various roles.

The followers, Sheikh Shafi said must be bold enough and respectful to correct and call to order the leader whenever he makes mistake. He cited examples from the life of Prophet Muhammad and his companions.

“We cannot talk of the leader without the followers. They are interwoven, if we must have a successful leader, we must also have responsive and responsible followers. The followers have greater roles to play in correcting the mistakes of their leaders.”

The Islamic cleric also posits that the leader who wants to reign successfully must be just and fair to all parties.

“A leader must rule with justice and fairness. You must not as a leader circumvent justice or be unfair to any party. If a leader rules with justice he will succeed. He must also govern with the rules of law; this is the only thing that can make him a successful leader.”

UMA President, Prof Khalid Adekoya said the alumni chose the theme as a way of contributing their quota to national development.

He said; “The theme of this year’s lecture has been carefully selected. It is meant to diagnose the duties and responsibilities of the leaders and the led. It is our hope that the conversations and resolutions will deepen our knowledge and assist us in evolving a better society for a better Nigeria for us and our generation yet unborn.”

UNILAG Vice Chancellor, Prof Folasade Ogunsola thanked the alumni for their efforts at ensuring hitch-free learning for the students in the institution.

The VC commended them for their initiative to renovate, transform and manage Madam Tinubu hall.

The immediate past President of UMA and now Senator-elect for Ogun Central senatorial district, Mr. Salis Afolabi Shuaib said the leadership discussion should not be limited to the convenes of the political class but rather all aspects of human endeavour.

He said every person in any leadership position must be fair and rule according to the laws and ensure adherence.

He maintained that leadership traverses only the political terrain that all human endeavour requires it and must be effectively done. He said transformational leadership is required to bring the desired result in all aspects.

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