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Much have been said and written about the role, the traits and characteristics of a good political leader. Even though, like other moral issues, the topic can not be exhausted, we still have to revisit it oft times.

My good friend and brother Femi O ladapo aka Femolad, deserves a kudos for always bringing into focus some hidden facts about his political leader, Barrister Sharafadeen Abiodun Alli. In the course of doing this, he carefully and wittingly explicates the essence of leadership in politics and how a leader should reconcile the self with the followers. I have also at one time or the other heralded my perspective on my political leader, Oloye Olajumoke Akinjide, as a true model of what a leader in politics should be. Can you write a single line of encomiums on your own leader? What type of follower are you?

It stands to reason that there could never be an effective political leader  without a corresponding get up-and-go followership as the blind but famous American author, Hellen Adams Keller periscoped “The world is moved not only by the mighty shoves of heroes but also significant are the tiny pushes of the followers.” 

In the corporate entity, followership is the mirror image of leadership. Not in Politics. Also in the organization settings, there are pecking order even among the followers. Not in Politics.

In other business enterprise, a good leader will groom his or her successor and provide substantial evidence to the followers that he or she can be trusted. Reverse seem to be the case in politics, instances abound.

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In politics, followers, to say most, see themselves, as a pawn in the chessboard of their leaders. They are “yes men ” all time and are only obsequious to their leaders to settle for the crumbs. They appear in the sight of leaders as mere dross and not a plus. They are happy as a lackey and never aspire to be a partner. The danger is, many leaders in Politics don’t want a partner, they can’t just brook the gall of a cerebral follower, they will always make do with the  “wooly brained” – the praise singers, the boot licking servile minions and errand boys. They hate to be challenged.
They treat their followers as a means to an end. Never as an end.

Come to think of it, late Baba Lamidi Adedibu will always be remembered as a leader that groomed other leaders in his lifetime. Even if you are a nondescript follower Baba will prompt you to realize your true self and discover  your potential. History teems with Baba’s boys of yesterday now leaders today in their own rights. Hate or love Asiwaju Bola Tinubu is also a “builder of people to become leaders”. There are others, but quite few.
The beauty of this is that nothing happens unless something is moved. Baba Adedibu, Bola Tinubu and the likes  kicked their followers  like a car and they in turn spluttered and answered the ignition call. J C Penny has capped it all “I will have no man work for me who has not the capacity to become a partner.”

Mark my words, if you have a political leader who is not close enough to relate with you, seek your opinion on major decisions and motivate you to go higher, then something is missing.  You are either incurably servile or your so called leader is a “slave -driver”.

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A good follower in politics is one who is albeit fundamentally supportive and have unswerving loyalty to his or her leader but never lack the spunk to question the leader when he or she is making a move considered pernicious to the collective team interest  or that can be hazardous to his or her own.

An effective leader lives in the minds of the followers and the followers reciprocate in ingratiating manner. I remembered a time (not too long ago) that my leader asked me to deliver some items to Baba Adedibu at a popular hotel in Wuse 2 Abuja. I was expecting to see only Baba and his wife in the room but I was dazed to see hundreds of people who were dining with Baba and discussing issues of national interest. An effective leader creates the right environment, effective followers maximally utilize the opportunity.

When last did your political leader bother about your next move in Politics? As Baba Adedibu would ask his people then when opportunity to fill a position opened “Se iwo naa o qualify ni? O daa, lo se Super”. ( Are you not eminently qualified for such opening, ok, go and start as a Supervisory Councilor in your local Government)

Followership is a role, not a destination. How many leaders in politics really give a damn about their followers and how many followers are ready to be their leader’s partners in progress?  If you don’t register your presence in your leader’s house  for a week, does he or she feels your  absence at all?

That’s the Crux of the matter.

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