“We all provide something unique to this world, and we can all smell when someone isn’t being real. The more you focus on genuine connections with people, and look for ways to help them, rather than just focus on what they can do for you, the more likable and personable you become. This isn’t required to be a great leader, but it is to be a respected leader, which can make all the difference in your business.” -Lewis Howes, New York Times bestselling author of The School of Greatness
As Babafemi Ojudu, born on March 27, clocks 56, it would be nerve-racking to imagine him in a partying mood, twerking to the rhythm of a live music while his dear state pines. Ojudu is a pro-democracy activist who had suffered so much pain to get his country liberated. To think he would, at this time, close his heart and eyes against his dear state is a misnomer.
Ojudu possesses so many qualities that he can put to use for the survival of his people. It is an understatement that they are currently in an emotional dungeon, receiving the Israelites treatment under a Pharaoh. And if it will not be too much of a demand, Ojudu is now being asked to come home and lead from the front in ensuring that his dear state returns to its path of glory. That should be his birthday gesture for his people.
The fact that Ojudu keeps positive attitude always, and this keeps his energy level up, is a great plus. In the April 2011 election for the Ekiti Central Senatorial seat, Ojudu polled 67,747 running on the ACN platform. Labour Party (LP) candidate and former Ekiti State Governor Ayo Fayose received 29,773 votes. Kayode Alufa of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) received 29,488 votes. After conceding defeat, Alufa congratulated Ojudu, saying: “Our God in his wisdom has chosen you with your experience and good credentials, which I am sure you will deploy for the service and improvement of our impoverished area.”
If indeed Ekiti is very dear to Ojudu’s heart, there are so many of such “experience and good credentials” he is bestowed with that he cannot afford to keep them away from his people at this crucial period. Even his sworn enemies have come to admit that he is unarguably bold, brilliant and balanced. Under the Zodiac sign of Aries, Ojudu is defined by enthusiasm, energy and passion. He takes to all matters of life with great energy and dedication. He strives to be the best in all he does, which is why he would always dedicate countless hours to overcoming a challenge that he deems to be worthwhile. In this respect, he is a natural leader who often attracts many admirers to himself.
Having a great idea, and assembling a team to bring that concept to life is the first step in creating a successful venture. Ojudu has this in a large dose. He is a chip off Anthony Lewis, American public intellectual and journalist, twice winner of the Pulitzer Prize, and a longtime New York Times columnist. Lewis, also born on same March 27, is credited with creating the field of legal journalism in the United States and had proffered that despite all the gains for democracy in the world, in many countries anyone who wants to publish truths unwelcome to the government risks suppression and criminal punishment.
Truly, Ojudu as a journalist had fallen into this trap. He was bent on publishing the truth and he got stewed for doing so on many occasions. Ojudu was arrested, tortured and detained several times. In July 1998, he almost got his life snuffed out of him, but for the death of the then dictator and maximum ruler, Gen Sani Abacha. It was reported that while still in cell, he suffered from typhoid fever and jaundice, both life-threatening, caused by the unsanitary conditions in which he was detained and denial of access to medication. Yet he remained undeterred.
Ojudu’s confidence level is electrifying. Even on days when things appeared worrisome and were not going according to plan, Ojudu as a leader knew how to keep everyone working and moving ahead. He would maintain the team morale, keep up the confidence level, and assure everyone that setbacks are natural and the important thing is to focus on the larger goal. As the leader who stays calm and confident, he helps keep the team feeling the same.
March 27 children are generally born militant. They love people, fearless, a little crazy and are true individuals with their own inimitable style of dress and behavior, attracting attention wherever they go. They don’t just have star quality; they have something far more special: the likability factor.
Ojudu scores a high in creating a productive work environment, which stems from his open door policy or making it a point to talk assuredly to his people on a daily basis and making himself available to discuss issues. Those who work with him would always attest to the fact that they learn to trust and depend on him, and are always less hesitant to work harder.
Ojudu is not a man who can be drowned by the trivial. He is not only focused, he has a clear vision of where he would want his people to be in a near future. Five minutes of discussion would convince anyone that Ojudu can turn the fortune of Ekiti around for good in a short term if permitted.
Ojudu is 100% authentically himself in relating to people, sometimes flawed, but always passionate about whatever he believes in. He is such a leader who would seamlessly instill confidence and followership by having a clear vision, showing empathy and being a strong coach. This has allowed him to engender trust and buy-in from his people.
So, what are those qualities Ojudu need to display to his people as he clocks 56? Though legion, the following must be prioritised: focus, confidence, integrity, transparency, inspiration, passion, innovation, patience, stoicism, wonkiness, authenticity, open-mindedness, decisiveness, personableness, empowerment, positivity, generosity, persistence, insightfulness, communication, accountability and restlessness.
Happy Birthday, Babafemi Ojudu, illustrious son of Ekiti. It’s time for rescue mission.
Segun Dipe, a journalist and political analyst, writes from Ado Ekiti