ELLEN JOHNSON SIRLEAF

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Amujae Leader Dr. Jumoke Oduwole offers inspiring vision for Nigeria’s leaders

On Nigerian Independence Day, Amujae Leader Dr. Jumoke Oduwole offered a rallying cry to Nigerian leaders, imploring them to lead with integrity and outlining the steps they must take to set Nigeria on an “exponentially positive developmental trajectory within 10 years.”

Marking the 61st anniversary of Nigerian independence, Dr. Oduwole addressed leaders at The Platform in Abuja on October 1 2021. In a speech entitled The Nigeria We Want, her words offered an inspiring vision of Nigeria’s future and encouraged leaders to walk boldly towards it.

Dr. Oduwole, Special Adviser to the President of Nigeria on Ease of Doing Business, spoke passionately about her love for Nigeria and Nigerians, emphasizing that the country has the resources it needs, both natural and human, to make great strides over the next decade. According to Dr. Oduwole, what the country requires more than anything is leaders who are filled with hope for a better Nigeria and are prepared to make the sacrifices required to get there.

Though Nigeria has experienced turbulence throughout its post-independence history, and continues to struggle with corruption in its politics, Dr. Oduwole was adamant Nigerians “cannot take hold of the future while holding on to the past… or even the present.” 

“Nigeria,” she said, “has had many missed opportunities,” and while the country has been “known for our great potential for well over 61 years post-independence,” now was the time to “dare to attain it.”

Dr. Oduwole’s vision was ambitious. She even acknowledged that some may see her as naïve. But she stood by her assertion that Nigeria could radically change its trajectory within 10 years:

“With the right people, both leaders and followers. With the right mindset and the right actions, ten years is enough to transform the trajectory of every single facet of this nation,  and to have us firmly on the path of a developed nation in perpetuity.”

There are three values that Dr. Oduwole believes Nigerian leaders must hold close if they are to embrace this future.

Firstly: integrity. “Let us each determine in our hearts to walk with integrity daily as Nigerians,” said Dr. Oduwole, “to decide individually and collectively to do what we know we ought to do. What we know is right, no matter the personal cost.

Secondly, an intention to lead with excellence is crucial. Dr. Oduwole urged leaders to “leave the selfishness, envy, and strife at the door, for the sake of the collective good, even when it costs you personally.”

Finally, Dr. Oduwole stressed the importance of a commitment from leaders to be revolutionary and visionary reformers. According to Dr. Oduwole, reformers are “creative innovators, agenda setters, global leaders with excellence from home-grown ideas.”

With these three principles at the core of Nigerian leadership, Dr. Oduwole called for leaders to step forward and work together for the good of their country, offering a hopeful vision of the future for Nigeria, and one that is very much within reach.

Watch the full speech here.

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