President, Nations Leadership Institute (NLS), Akogun Iyiola Oyedepo,
says what most African countries need is revolution of thought to
breed future leaders in their countries.
Oyedepo, a lawyer and political scientist made this known on Monday in
a speech delivered at the official unveiling of the Institute in
The unveiling of the institute was performed by the Speaker, Kwara
House of Assembly, Hon Salihu Yakubu Danladi,
He declared that succeeding leaders in most African countries had
nothing to learn from the past apart from corruption, tribalism and
“We now have a better governance environment in some African countries
where we have in place governments that even jailed members of their
“This, I consider a remarkable feat in the fight against corruption in
“Otherwise, the hitherto norm was to protect the ruling oligarchy by
shielding members of the class from justice,” Oyedepo said.
He said it was as a result of the turmoil in political landscape that
NLI was born.
“We are of the view that as at today in Africa, there is an acute
leadership deficiency,” he added.
According to the NLI boss, leadership is exerting special influence
within a group, community or even the country to move toward permanent
beneficial goals that fulfil the group’s real needs.
“A leader therefore must be one that will use his or her informal
power, authority and influence to direct and control other people in
the pursuit of common goal.
“Leadership is not greed, selfish ambition, showmanship, nepotism,
sectionalism, tribalism. Leaders that exhibit all these tendencies in
position of authority are mere pretenders and they are not leaders
properly so called,” Oyedepo said.
He declared that the institute was born to correct all the
misconceptions and wrong perception of leadership in a world heading
“What we need in most African countries is revolution of thought;
thought that will change our perceptions about true meaning of
political power and authority.
“We need a body thoughts and actions that will not make our leaders
enemies of themselves.
“When leaders embark on primitive accumulation of wealth and throw
several people in penury; they jeoperdise their own security.
“If the poor must live, they must do so by visiting violence on the
rich (incidences of kidnapping, ritual killings, internet fraud and
even violent religious extremists are instructive here).
“Corrupt leaders create their own nemesis as their life style and
their selfish belief system create material condition for violence,”
He called on African countries’ leaders to emulate Lee Kuan Yew of
Singapore, who through personal charisma and well informed selfless
leadership moved the country from the third world to the first world
within a space of 50 years, adding that President Yew achieved the
feat without fighting any internal war.
“Therefore we need not fight wars before many countries in Africa
change from the present primitivity to modernity.
“And sometimes war and violence in the attainment of a political power
can lead to a new progressive direction or it could also lead to
stagnancy and backwardness in all facets of life,” Iyiola said.
He commended President Paul Kagame of Rwanda for creating out of from
a war torn country, a stable, unified and reconciled country.
“Rwanda has been a success story of a country that moved from violence
to posterity, yet the story of South Africa is difference.
“From the developing trends in that Country, the post-Apartheid South
Africa is different from the expected outcome.
“It is not only that the inequalities of the Apartheid years are
sustained, the xenophobic attacks on non-South Africans living in the
country have put to question years of Mandela’s struggles.
“Perhaps there is the need for another was of social-justice in that
country or a revolution of thought,” Oyedepo added.
Oyedepo said NLI was for revolution of thought that would re-direct
what he considered as perishing nations.
“There is the need for altruistic leaders that will be honest, bold,
knowledgeable and compassionate.
“There is the need for leaders of integrity and character. Leaders
that will not promote an ethnic, sectional agenda or a preferred
section of their country to be number one in a multi-ethnic society,”
Oyedepo said Nigerians need a country where corruption was no more a
norm, where crimes were loathed and leaders that would be
nationalistic and patriotic so much that they would know the real
needs of the people.
NLI has six schools made up of School of Party
organisation and campaign management, School of Legislative training
and consultancy service and School of NGO training and operation.
They also include School of Tourism and Hospitality, School of
Entrepreneurship and skill development and School of Leadership
The unveiling ceremony was attended by members of Kwara House of
Assembly, academics, politicians while the Deputy Governor, Kayode
Alabi was represented by Alhaji Femi Yusuf.