By Segun Dipe
I have known Dr John Kayode Fayemi, CON, initialled JKF, for what now seems ages. I dare say that his leadership qualities are legion. So, it should not surprise anyone that despite all that has been said about him in the past, people cannot stop talking about those values he espouses in different tones and ways.
For starters, Dr Fayemi deserves all the accolades he has been getting in and outside of office as governor, minister, lecturer, activist and globally sought-for speaker. He reads, he writes, he talks and he walks his talk in a passionate manner.
What makes Fayemi an unusual leader is his approach to issues. Nothing ruptures his confidence. While there are plenty of admirable leaders, only a handful will match Fayemi in the ease of infusing energy, passion and connection. Add to this a clear and well documented vision, mission and commitment to integrity that guide him in everything he does, plus conscietising his followers the way they should go, then you have a man unfazed by challenges.
For this his 59th Birthday anniversary, however, I have opted to narrow down my perspective of Dr Fayemi to just a single quality, which is altruism.
Altruistic leadership is characterised by a leader’s willingness to sacrifice personal interests for the good of all, and it is a transformational quality. Exceptional leaders like Fayemi understand that true greatness lies in sacrificing personal interests for the betterment of others.
As a leader, an altruist is proactive in bringing a team together within acceptable standard and policies, and on time. He can be cautious with delegating tasks due to anxiety of things being done the right way. He is also respectful of authority and considerate of others.
According to the late sage, Nelson Mandela, a leader is like shepherd. He stays behind the flock, letting the most nimble go over ahead, whereupon the others follow, not realising that all along they are being directed from behind.
That is the Fayemi I’d known over time. He does everything carefully and quietly without making a fuss of them. The cornerstone of his leadership style entails establishing and nurturing of trust within the team. He is an example of a leader who believes that trust is not something granted automatically but must be earned. And one of the means by which Fayemi himself earns the trust of his people is through his unwavering commitment to their collective success. Yes, Fayemi continually prioritizes the interest of his people over his personal ambition, thus creating the atmosphere of trust and reliability.
Cognizant of his dedication to the people’s well-being, many of us have come to feel secure and valued. When he assures, we concur. Such sense of security and value provided by Fayemi’s altruism is what has become the bedrock upon which the trust of the people in our continuity agenda is built today, knowing that when such trust is present and well driven, it engenders a high level of cooperation and commitment.
Now you know that continuity did not just happen in Ekiti and that Fayemi’s successor as governor did not just emerge. Fayemi’s altruism made it so.
Happy Birthday to the leader in the true sense. May the lines continue to fall for you in pleasant places. More wins for Dr John Kayode Fayemi, CON.
* Segun Dipe is the Publicity Secretary of APC in Ekiti State