There are many who confuse the position of leadership with the disposition of true leadership. No matter what position one may be given, status in an organization does not automatically create leadership. Genuine leadership is one’s internal disposition, which relates to a sense of purpose, self-worth and self-concept.
Others have confused leadership with the ability to control others through manipulating their emotions and playing on their fears and needs. But true leadership is a product of inspiration, not manipulation.
Then there are those who believe that title makes the leaders. However, we have all seen many people who have been placed in prominent positions with impressive titles yet have failed miserably because they haven’t understood that real leadership is manifested in performance and results and not just in labels.
True leadership goes far beyond the mechanics of our political government today. It has more to do with discovering a sense of meaning and significance in life. This distinction separates the leadership of passion from the hunger or lust for power. True leaders do not seek power but are driven by a passion to achieve a noble cause.
Granpa Adekunle Ajasin is not left out in the umbrella of a true leadership. He is the first heroic leader Nigeria has ever known. To all purpose and intent, he died not just for freedom and justice; he died fighting to retrieve captive generations behind him and those yet to be born from palpable slavery.
In his old age, Adekunle Ajasin had nothing to lose, if he had chosen to retire quietly to enjoy the last bit of his life in the moderate comfort that he had been used to. But the old man chose to stand up, and fight for democracy and freedom from a ruthless socio-political system that has put generations behind him into slavery. This is a situation where many stronger young men had succumbed to the intimidation of force by slave drivers who would rule Nigeria come rain or shine without regard to the feelings of the people. That Ajasin was at the head of the Vanguard of Nigeria’s pro-democracy struggle makes him the heroic leader. His struggle to emancipate Nigeria is an epic. However, this great potential for 21st century showcase of black civilization is being practically diminished by a cabal of selfish people who have taken upon themselves the responsibility of leading Nigeria for-ever. And they are making a hopeless job of it.
It is against this backdrop that papa Ajasin should be appreciated. For when his peers decided to retire, he and Chief Anthony Enahoro, who should also have retired with him, decided that they could not in their right mind leave their countrymen in the throes of slavery and pretend to be enjoying anything.
Today, Ajasin is a dead hero, he had led the way for politics in Nigeria and his life had dictated a pattern which not only challenges the youth, but reawaken all old and young people quite alike in Nigeria that if any selection or group of selections or even any individual is reduced to slavery in this land, those who are not directly affected have a duty to fight for freedom and justice, otherwise they themselves will sooner than later become victims.
Pa Ajasin’s life is the paragon of selflessness. He had nothing personally to gain from the struggle he led and fought for so vigorously that even his adversaries and opponents openly concede that the man was a hero who fought with the love of the people at heart, and the faith of a man absolutely committed to the betterment of those behind him. If there is anything worthy in politics to emulate, then pa Adekunle Ajasin’s life would be standard reference point.
It is up to us to stand up for what is right, just and profitable. Let us have it at the back of our minds that true leadership is not by position or title but an attitude that naturally inspires and motivates others which comes from an internalized discovery about ourselves.