Leadership in a competitive, cooperative and conflicting environment.
We are gathered here today to see the transformation of this place -which served
once as a Portuguese slave camp, colonial guest house and finally, detention house for Chief Obafemi Awolowo in 1962, – to a Research Institute in pursuit of the study of man, his/her cultural environment, government and public policy.
When Chief Obafemi Awolowo declared in favour of “freedom for all, life more
abundant” in 1954, he knew its achievement was dependent on educating the human mind from cradle to adulthood. Much of Nigerian history can be understood as an elaboration of his works, ideas, programmes and policy implementation as Leader of Government Business and Premier, Leader of Opposition, and Prisoner. As leader of Government Business and Premier, he believed in cooperation and competition and that success was through anticipating appreciation of the individual through good education, job creation, and provision of security by government for themselves, their families and their localities. This entire social welfare scheme had a cost which was financed through taxation, grants, and public private partnership.
As leader of Opposition, he encouraged competition and cooperation with emphasis on the command that every person be accorded the dignity he or she deserves as a human being, and that the job of every government official – from police officer to prime minister – is to treat each person with respect. His duty was to serve God, Party and Country. His accomplishments as leader of Government Business through massive development of public infrastructures, comprehension of the problems and possible solutions as leader of Opposition, was seen as a threat and later manifested into conflict amongst brothers.
Never again should we allow any resolvable conflict deter our progress as a family,
community or nation. For the avoidance of conflict, we should devote our time and
efforts to, and encourage cooperative and competitive attitudes.
In the words of Prof. Sam A Aluko, ‘Papa was a deeply, educated, sophisticated, civilized and polished leader who admired and respected equally endowed followers’. As a believer in his writing and speeches on good governance, it is my government’s pleasure to dedicate this Institute to the benefit of mankind.