“You will begin to live with an unshakeable certainty that everything you do today matters forever”
– Bruce Wilkinson in “A Life God Rewards”
By CHIDI OBINECHE
Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State did the unusual last week. He led an ‘All- male walk against domestic violence and sexual abuse’. The Walk came on the heels of the growing scourge, for which THE SUN undertook a similar walk on Saturday, August 20, 2016. Ambode, who is the leader of the column of progress in Lagos, through the Walk demonstrated an unparalleled power of paradox and the paradox of power.
With the array of forces at his disposal to micromanage the incipient malaise, it is instructive that the governor opted for a Walk, complete with placards and a motley crowd for a less forceful and assertive order of conversion. He rode on the wings of poise, and showed that real life is rich in paradox, overflowing with enigma. Poise is the ability to remain calm, cool and focused, even under pressure. He refused to duck the blame or descend heavily on the culprits. He showed the easy, seamless way out of the cauldron.
Lagos records 4,050 rape and child abuse cases in one year. 25 percent of women go through the ordeal of domestic violence. The worst forms are battering, trafficking, rape and homicide. “We should not take for granted the potential exponential effect of having emotionally and psychologically damaged women in the society as the effect could transcend to their children who grow up in an environment thinking this is the norm”, the governor chanted to underscore the importance of the Walk and the immense pressure the menace has brought to bear on all.
The in –vogue phrase is thinking outside the box. It simply means to be creative and unorthodox. Only rarely will a governor or political leader for that matter, take to the road to push forward an idea. Imagination is one of the biggest differences between managers and leaders. The difference lies in the fact that managers tend to accept the organizational context, existing processes, and accepted structure.
Leaders are constantly re-examining the status-quo, looking for ways to revise and improve the processes and structures, and constantly keeping pace with evolving realities. Leaders ride out the down times and never push the panic button. Leaders with poise are not necessarily fearless. Instead, they have learned to control their fears.
The great French war lord, Napoleon Bonaparte described the competency of poise this way: “The true genius in war is the one who can do the average thing when those around him grow hysterical with emotion or fright”. Poise is a learned skill, and it has a lot to do with learning how to talk to yourself. By carrying placard on a road show, Ambode is shutting down panic (his own and everyone else’s) in search of solution to domestic and sexual abuse.
Postmodern writer- philosopher Jean Baudrillard, author of “The murder of the Real” likens the energy of a leader to the energy of an athlete. “He never stops hurtling onwards, making decisions and executing them.” Viewed in the context of the Ambode road show, the pad of success is not dogmatic. The powerful leader dares to be weak.
He was born on June 14, 1963 in Epe, Lagos, into the family of Festus Akinwale and Christiana Oluleye Ambode. He was a civil servant for 27 years and a financial consultant before running for public office as governor of Lagos State in 2015, under the All Progressives Congress, APC. His career peaked in 2006 when he became the Accountant General of the state. In his six years as the Accountant General, the state’s financial performance improved visibly with the budget performing at a remarkable average of 85 percent annually.