- LAGOS Governor, AKINWUNMI AMBODE Explains
Not many people know that Lagos Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode is a Leadership and Management expert. That is what he has studied greatly, over the last 6 to 7 years. Yes, he is an Accountant. But once the Lagos Governor finished with his Accountancy course and practice, he began to take a more than passing interest in Leadership and Management studies. That is why he has done over 10 key management and leadership courses in all the Ivy League Leadership Institutes globally. It is the knowledge gained from all the leadership courses he has done that he has put to practice in administering Lagos. That is why he rarely grants interview. That is why he hardly dominates discussions when you engage him. He prefers to listen. Gov. Ambode says a good leader should be a good listener. This was what he told CityPeople Publisher SEYE KEHINDE, a few weeks back. Read on.
Before you became governor you’ve always had a very intimidating profile. You are an Accountant. You’ve held vital positions in Lagos State as Accountant General, Auditor General and you have attended practically all the major leadership courses across the world. How did you accomplish this?
I have a philosophical outlook to what I am today I am the son of a teacher, a disciplinarian. And my mum, a complete housewife, and seamstress. But she was also an Entrepreneur. So obviously for me, I have had youthful encounters in instances where, I have actually been scolded that I can never be a successful Accountant.
So, that resonated with me and it has, stayed with me since. When I was age 12 or 13, I promised myself that whatever level it will take to attain the pinnacle of the Accountancy profession, I will do it for myself. I also never wanted to go through the route of living an unworthy life. Those were the 2 things that were always pushing me. And then I lost my father at the age of 18 and my mother was a housewife. So obviously within the context of my beliefs and my age, I needed to do something crazy and extraordinary.
So, I decided to go on doing all the available courses. So at the same time I was in the University, I was doing professional exams, I was working. I was a multi-tasker at the age of 20. I graduated at the age of 21. By 24, I had my Masters degree, ICAN qualification.
Since you came into office, you hardly grant interviews. One can count the few you have granted on my finger tips. Why is this so?
As a politician, you are supposed to be an extrovert. Me, I am a combination of the 2. So I switch. I am introverted and I am also an extrovert sometimes. But the truth is this: if you are a thinker, you don’t talk to much. But the strong sense of leadership is the ability to listen more. When you listen, you digest, and you process, to think. And then create solutions for people. Anybody who wants to be a successful leader must be a deep listener. It is one of the basic ingredients of anything you learn in any leadership school.
When you are managing a state as complex as Lagos, who are you to be talking too much if you are not thinking. You don’t need to talk, you listen to what the people want. You listen to what the people are saying. You listen to your own inner thoughts. You put the 3 together and then you plan it and act it. That is the result you have seen in this last 26 months. That is the way to go.
That is what I also recommend to other people who want to be successful leaders. You listen more to people and then you process what they are saying. You sift off the ones that are negative. And then, you think more about the generality of the people. Anything that brings value to more people, it is what God says we should go and do. That is it.