Officials of the Students’ Union of the Federal University of Technology Akure, FUTA have been admonished to imbibe the virtue of selfless leadership and place the interests of the student body above theirs as this will make their impact more effective. This admonition was given during a two-day leadership retreat for the officials organized by the Student Affairs Division at Premier Resort Igbara Oke which held of Thursday and Friday January 20 and 21, 2022
Delivering the Lead Paper on Leadership Qualities expected of Responsive and Responsible Student Leaders, foremost administrator and one-time Registrar of the Obafemi Awolowo University Ile Ife Mr. Ayo Ogunruku said “Leadership begins with leading yourself. If you can’t manage yourself, you can’t manage others because you can’t give what you do not have”. He said “leadership is not about titular privilege. It is a call to selfless service to humanity. It is about one life influencing another. It is impact driven. Position is transient but influence is perpetual. Your respect is thus dependent on how much you can use your leadership qualities to influence others for good”
Mr. Ogunruku told the students that the essence of leadership is the welfare and wellbeing of the followers. He said “your responsiveness to your people and responsibility towards your people is important. You must set goals that you want to be remembered for. If the goals you want to achieve have no benefit to the people you are leading then you have no impact. We are living in a digital age so you must be careful about the things that bring you into limelight. If they are negative, it will dog you for the rest of your life and prevent you from living your full potential.”
Ogunruku highlighted ingredients for leadership to include having a positive voice, good character, values, and responsiveness, while some challenges are security and conflict management. He said serving the needy, working for the best, involving partners, engaging experienced counsellors, involving adequate students support are factors that will build a robust student union that followers will be proud of.
Delivering the Keynote address, the Vice Chancellor, Professor Joseph Fuwape said leadership is not just about occupying a position; it is about service and giving oneself to accomplishing a task and making outstanding contributions for the benefit of humanity. He said “leadership positions have undoubtedly bestowed on you privileges and of course responsibilities that you could not have imagined. Your colleagues entrusted you with these positions perhaps because of the issues you articulated during your campaigns but most likely because of the potentials they saw in you. As such you cannot afford to let them down”
He said “the primary aim of the retreat is to create a forum for you to interact with experienced leaders and share ideas and experiences towards building a responsive and responsible leadership. We believe through this process; you can build capacities to lead and influence your fellow students positively. This is a call to service and in performing this function you are to uphold peace on the campus, protect university property and liaise with the university management to resolve challenges that affect students”
He highlighted four attributes that sustain leadership and make it strong both in triumph or crisis to include Curiosity, Humility, Empathy, and Resilience. He stated that asides the big four exceptional leaders always; stay authentic, keep an open mind and always listen, know how to delegate tasks to achieve common goals, learn from mistakes to improve for the future and seek knowledge.
Counselling the students, Professor Fuwape said “as critical stakeholders in the system, we have the collective responsibility to take the university to the next level of becoming a world class university. I believe you will play vital roles in achieving positive changes in the development of FUTA as a member of the Student Union Executive”
Earlier in his welcome address, the dean Students Affairs, Professor Gbenga Onibi said “the necessity of good leadership cannot be overemphasized. True leadership is guiding others to success-in ensuring that everyone is performing at their best, doing the work they pledged to do and doing it excellently well. This means that a leader is a planner and a strategist thus as a leader you determine to a great extent the values for your followers.”
Professor Onibi urged them to be focused and not let union duties get in the way of successful studentship. He said “one goal of every student in FUTA should be to get qualitative education and to come out in flying colours. It is therefore needful to emphasize your seriousness with your academics. You are a union leader in FUTA because you were first a student of FUTA. You must therefore remember and determine not to joke with your academics or allow your responsibilities as leaders to becloud your vision for academic excellence seek questions to answers that will contribute to your overall success not only as FUTASU leaders but as leaders of tomorrow”
The retreat was attended by principal officers, deans, directors and other members of the University management.