Vice President Yemi Osinbajo (SAN) has noted that history teaches that everywhere there had been a national transformation, it had been brought about by public-spirited men and women of goodwill who, inspired by their belief in a higher purpose other than their own profit, had entered the public square to champion the common good.
He spoke yesterday at the first annual general assembly of Catholics in politics and Catholic Business Leaders, where in a rousing speech, he highlighted the imperative of servant leadership and transformational leadership at different levels in society as a force for the common good.
According to a statement by the media aide of the vice president, Laolu Akande, the summit, otherwise known as the AGORA Conference, had the theme: “The Advancement of the Common Good towards Justice, Unity, Structure and Development of Nigeria.”
Speaking on the theme, Prof. Osinbajo was of the view that transformational leadership, particularly in a multi-ethnic and multi-faceted country like Nigeria, was needed across all levels of government and spheres of society, as its primary focus is the pursuit of the common good to ensure fairness, justice, unity and development in a nation.
According to the vice president, building credible institutions of justice, the rule of law and orderly society are crucial expressions of the pursuit of the common good.
Recalling the words of Pope John Paul II during his visit to Nigeria in February 1982 in an address at the State House in Lagos, Osinbajo stated; “Only the harnessing of all the forces for the common good, in true respect of the supreme values of the spirit, will make a nation great and a happy dwelling place for its people.”
The vice president who stated that the common good as an imperative of public policy and governance was articulated by the second chapter of the Nigerian Constitution, said the challenge of actualising the common good was coterminous with our quest to actualize the directive principles and objectives of state policy.
“Achieving both requires transformational leadership across all levels and spheres of our society,” he said.
Highlighting why transformational leadership is critical to national life, the vice president noted that it would spur positive changes across all sectors and spheres of society.
He added that as a model of leadership, transformational leadership operates by serving and uplifting others because it is servant leadership.
The vice president noted; “Purpose of power is service, not domination; it is to uplift and empower others rather than to control or oppress. This is a model of leadership that is inseparable from our conception of the common good.
“Transformational leadership is, therefore, the pursuit of the common good. But the pursuit of the common good itself is not as easy as it sounds. This is especially so where the wounds and enmities of ethnic and religious conflicts are deep.
“The common type of leadership will seek the path of relevance and popularity within their own ethnic or religious camps by seeking only the good of their own. The servant-leader will serve his people by emphasizing the letter and spirit of the gospel, that even our worst enemies were still made in the image of God.
“And the pursuit of the common good is the pursuit of the good of those who hate us and have hurt us even in the recent past.
“Transformational leadership means that we do not mourn and condemn the killing of those who belong to our own tribe or faith alone, or seek justice for ours alone, because all men are equal before God, and that the pain and anguish of a mother’s loss of a child, is not different from one faith or tongue to the other.”