April 17, 2024

Governor of Osun State, Senator Ademola Adeleke has called on African leaders to provide democratic dividends and good governance for their people in order to strengthen democracy in the continent.

Adeleke made the call on Sunday while delivering convocation lecture at the Valley View University, Ghana.

The governor was also conferred with Honourary Doctorate Degree by the management of the institution

In his convocation speech as a guest speaker, the Governor bemoaned the increasing erosion of democratic culture due to the non-commitment of many leaders to good governance.

The Governor, who said leaders face the challenge of balancing questions of excellence and integrity in public service, affirmed that leaders must play according to the rules and avoid unethical activities.

“Doing the right thing as a leader in policy delivery is the expected output of every public leader. Ensuring best service delivery with the right moral compass is the best expectation in public life. Achieving both excellence and integrity is the calling of ethical leaders.

“Ethical leaders are expected to be rule-driven, honest, consistent, goal-driven and oriented towards the aspirations of the people. He or she should avoid corruption and ensure public resources serve the public interest. In his mind, nothing should interfere with community’s joint vision. The well-being of the people is the driving force of all ethical leaders.

“Such leaders exist within the African political space but they are increasingly few. Leaders in Africa are faced with multiple issues which undermine the drive for excellence. In the midst of deep poverty and high levels of under-development, the pursuit of excellence in governance is increasingly a goal hardly pursued. Pursuant of self-survival supersedes ideals that focus on responsible and people-driven governance. The environment of hunger, poverty, diseases and huge infrastructure deficit undercut the upholding of noble leadership ideals.

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“Much more complicated is the consequent political instability on the continent. Failure of leaders to be rule-driven by abiding by the Constitution brings new actors into the scene. Refusal to abide by term limits and free and fair elections creates an expanded level of leadership deficit. Many leaders lack credibility and legitimacy as the process of their ascendance to power is suspect. Governance thereafter becomes a difficult task as many leaders are engaged in continuous suppression of the rule-driven system.

“As a sitting Governor and a former Senator in the Nigerian Senate, it is my considered opinion that embracing an ethical leadership model will speed up the achievement of public service excellence and good governance in Africa. The complicated social, economic and political challenges facing Africa can only be tackled by leaders who are married to the rule of law, and due process alongside practical fear of God. A leader holding power of life and death over the citizens must be accountable, responsive and citizen-centred.

“Africa cannot achieve good governance if the constitutions are serially violated if elections are violently rigged, if leaders are of the sit tight model. The problem of underdevelopment will remain forever with Africa if public resources are diverted into private pockets, if public contracts are triply inflated and if poor quality projects are foisted on the populace.

“Democracy remains the best vehicle to deliver good governance. Democracy is however sustainable only when leaders govern by the rule of the game. Increasingly, democracy is under serious threat by the low level of ethical leaders and the prevalence of despots pretending to be democrats. Military rule is creeping in across Africa and the continent is at a loss as to how to stem the negative trend.

“At a time when democratic regression is surfacing in Africa, the world is changing at a very fast phase. The threat of climate change is unrelenting at a time when tech advancement is disrupting every facet of global society. Africa is however still battling to provide basic provision of lives for her citizens.

“To achieve excellence in public leadership, Africa is in dire need of ethical leadership. We need leaders who will avoid corruption, a despotic mindset and support deep adherence to the rule of law. We must ensure survival of democracy by sticking to the rule and eschew disobedience of the electoral will of the citizens. Leaders must see their offices as a call to duty to serve and not to be served; to consult and not to dictate, and to observe and not violate the rule of law.

“In my state back in Nigeria, I have four rules of engagement as a Governor namely adherence to the rule of law, zero tolerance for corruption, commitment to good governance and fear of God in public leadership”, the Governor concluded the address with a standing ovation from students and top dignitaries at the occasion.

Governor Adeleke was accompanied to the event by the Chief of Staff, Hon Kazeem Akinleye, the publisher of Ovation magazine, Bashorun Dele Momodu and other top officials of the Osun state government.

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