We would not know now what he would do if and when he controls budget, police, INEC, etc as a governor, local government chairman or minister in the future. For now, however, he has passed the leadership test with flying colors. We are talking of Lanre Yusuf who from December 3rd, 2019 becomes Dr. Lanre Yusuf after being awarded a PhD in Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Ibadan.
In the past few years, he has been the student representative for the doctoral candidates of the University of Ibadan’s Institute of Peace and Strategic Studies, (IPSS). It must be the most demanding ‘job’ in Nigeria today with about a hundred of such senior students, most of them based outside Ibadan but with each one literarily sending him on one errand or another every working day and even non-working days. Nobody has complained that he failed in any case or manifested crassness, arrogance or lack of due diligence at any point in time. It is not everyone who has that capacity.
Considering the diversity of such demands and the spaces he had to shuttle on the campus to accomplish such missions as well as the length of time he did that, it could be said that Dr. Lanre’s PhD has a leadership grooming component that is not same for many others before him and from among those who would follow. Many would say he has done what Napoleon could not do, for a ‘job’ that had no obvious benefits.
It is interesting that his successful defence of his argument and award of the PhD to him has become a sort of a festival among the candidates, a sure recognition of authenticity in leadership, with some even going as far as silently wondering about who succeeds him and, by implication, if the successor will be a replica.
Dr. Lanre thus sends a signal that true as it is that Nigeria is manifesting disturbing signals of an unimaginably dysfunctional society, so also is it manifesting instances of renewal here and there. Those who are seeing only collapse without also talking about signposts of renewal are bad social scientists although whether the quantum of signposts of renewal can counterbalance that of decay is a different matter.
But, why not if the country can successfully pull together the Lanres from all the universities and other centres of leadership grooming? That way, it can still surprise those thinking that that the country is finished.
But with Nigeria’s dismal record of leadership recruitment, who will do the identification and pooling of the Lanres around the country without corrupting the process?