Speakers at a virtual colloquium have asked African leaders to think ahead and execute people-focused programmes that are capable of mitigating disasters whenever they come.
This was the summary and conclusion by speakers during a virtual 63rd birthday colloquium, which was organised in honour of the Minister of Interior and former Governor of Osun State, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola.
The online event, with the theme: “Leadership in Emergencies: Planning as Foundation for National Survival,” took the place of the annual birthday colloquium in honour of Aregbesola.
It was organized by Proumou Media Consulting, a Lagos-based media strategy firm.
Speakers included Kurtis Adigba, a Board member of the International Association of Political Consultants; Dr. Rabiat Akande of the Harvard University, United States; and Dr. Alim Abubakre of the University of Southampton.
Adigba, who is also a popular television show analyst in Nigeria, said being proactive is one of the critical qualities of good leadership.
Adigba said President Muhammadu Buhari’s ban on food importation and border closures may have attracted criticism, but the policies have proved to be proactive.
He said: “What would have been the situation if Nigeria was to be waiting for rice from other parts of the world if he had not banned rice importation?”
Dr. Akande, who spoke on data and its importance to managing emergencies, advocated for proactive data collection as part of comprehensive planning for emergencies.
She challenged the National Assembly to legislate on data privacy and collection, just as she urged them to seek ways to make such laws native to the country.
Akande lauded Aregbesola for the introduction of the Tablet of Knowledge when he served as the Governor, adding this was a demonstration of foresight that leaders must always have.
She also said her monitoring of the Aregbesola years convinced her that service defines his work ethics.
Dr. Abubakre listed many attributes of a good leader, just as he cited Aregbesola as one whose works in eight years in Osun State have gone down as unprecedented.
He also cited Opon Imo as a good example of the visionary that Aregbesola was when he was the governor.
He added that a device, which Aregbesola saw as critical to learning some eight years ago, has now become much more relevant than when it was first conceived.
The Minister of Interior, whose birthday was being celebrated, while responding to one of the questions raised by participants, said Opon Imo “universalises education.”
Aregbesola added that the tablet of knowledge is compulsory and should be encouraged by every head of government.
According to him: “Every head of government understands that Tablet of Knowledge is compulsory and has to be encouraged.
“It universalises education and process of it.
“In fact, it is the easiest way to make knowledge acquisition simpler and easier.
“It can be used by those who are not even in the conventional educational centres and those who are in conventional centres.
“That is the beauty of it.
“We cannot say it has reached the perfection level the tablet should be, but with the level I took it to, it will serve several needs, but it is simply leadership.
“The more people that are involved in the usage of that device, the cheaper the cost.
“Besides the hardware, which is continuously reduced per annum because what it cost to acquire a tablet some five years ago, is costlier than what it is to acquire it today.”