By Ali Abare
Leaders like Nasarawa State Governor, Engineer Abdullahi Sule, are rare. Though a politician by default, Engineer Sule came into power with a vision and since his assumption of office, every step he has taken takes him towards realizing that vision.
Unlike most politicians that come into power devoid of any tangible motive rather than to acquire power, Engineer Sule came onboard prepared, having already conceptualised not only his vision but modus operandi on how to take Nasarawa State to the next level of development.
Though a politician by default, Engineer Sule has a vision for Nasarawa State and must necessarily require a political platform as demanded by the country’s democratic journey. One thing is certain though, as a visionary leader, the Governor came with a vision and like Theodore Hesburgh, President of the University of Notre Dame noted, the essence of leadership is that one have to have a vision, clearly articulated and ready to be enforced at every occasion.
Indeed, as James Kouzes and Barry Posner in their book, “The Leadership Challenge” posited, “There’s nothing more demoralizing than a leader who can’t clearly articulate why we’re doing what we’re doing.”
A visionary leader is an individual who sees the potential for how the world should exist and then takes steps to get there. You can achieve visionary without a leadership role—become an idea guy, for instance. And, you can successfully lead people to accomplish a course of action, while not having a vision for the change you’d like to create.
Before his emergence as the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and subsequent victory at the 2019 general election, Engineer Sule has done what every visionary leader would do. He undertook a holistic study of the entity called Nasarawa State, with a view to ascertaining its God given potentials. Not only that, Engineer Sule commissioned a world class think-tank to formulate a formidable blueprint on how these God given potentials could be realised to the benefit of the people.
Engineer Sule’s vision for Nasarawa State is clearly enunciated and encapsulated in the Nasarawa Economic Development Strategy (NEDS), which is the Bible and guiding principles of his administration. The NEDS is a practicable strategy envisioned to tap the God given potentials of Nasarawa State and to take the take to its rightful position among the comity of states in the country.
There’s no iota of doubt that, for a visionary leader, Engineer Sule possessed two rear qualities, the ability to see the potential to change the system and indeed Nasarawa State, as well as the ability to lead the people to attain his vision.
What makes Engineer Sule’s leadership style unique and distinct from other types of political leadership, is essentially because he sees things differently. Engineer Sule embraces the unknown as a blank canvass for innovation, experimentation and pioneering new possibilities. In order to cast that larger vision for a team or organization, that often means having the ability to look at the situation in a different light, even when there seems to be no light at all.
Another distinctive aspect of Engineer Sule’s leadership style is that he facilitates for other members of his team to see and understand his vision for the state. Since his coming to power, Engineer Sule has used every available opportunity to sell his vision to all that cares to know. The NEDS was documented and massively circulated so that every member of his team is encouraged to understand and comprehend the basic ideas behind the vision.
This is indeed necessary, since members of his cabinet, political appointees, civil servants that are the engine room for translating this vision to reality, must understand their respective roles, especially that until they grasp and understand their role, it would be hard for them to see the vision clearly.
Through his personal commitment and attributes, Engineer Sule like most visionary leaders, is uniting the people, bringing members of his cabinet, political appointees, civil servants as well as the people of the state together and leading them in a common direction.
He leads with the full realisation that the individual, collective team and even the entire state must align with the vision, have a clear goal and understand their role in making his vision for the future a reality.
Of course, Engineer Sule is doing everything possible to turn his vision for Nasarawa State into reality. From his verse experience in the organised private sector, where he rose from the ranks to become the Group Managing Director of the Dangote Group, he knew that innovative and grandiose vision are meaningless if not followed by action. On this note, Engineer Sule has consistently balanced his pronouncement with discipline, focus and specific course of action.
This has continued to yield fruitful results for all to see and to the benefit of the people of the state. Only recently, President Muhammadu Buhari spent two days in Nasarawa State on a working visit. It’s common knowledge that the President commissioned several projects which are direct manifestation of Engineer Sule’s vision for the state.
Engineer Sule’s personal lifestyle has continued to inspire others, especially political appointees. Seeing that the Governor’s preoccupation is giving back to the people, since he has continuously demonstrated that resources coming into the state, will be used only in bringing development to the people, most political appointees are competing not to be left behind in their bid to give back to the society.
Of course, the prevailing peace being enjoyed in the state wasn’t accidental. It was the result of a leadership style that is uniting the people and giving each ethnic nationality a true sense of belonging. Engineer Sule has succeeded in bringing the people of the state together for he is innately aware that without peace, there won’t be any development. He needs peace to reign in order for his vision for Nasarawa State to be translated into reality.
Ahead of the 2023 general election, it’s imperative that the people grasp the basic thrust behind Engineer Sule’s vision for Nasarawa State. They should endeavour to reduce politics to the bearest minimum while supporting the Governor attain his vision for the state. With Engineer Sule at the helm of affairs, Nasarawa State is moving to the next level of development.
Abare is a Special Assistant on Media to the Nasarawa State Governor.