25 Success And Leadership Lesson From The Life Of Amb. Sarafa Tunji-Ishola - SUCCESSFUL PEOPLE MAGAZINE


Monday, February 5, 2024

25 Success And Leadership Lesson From The Life Of Amb. Sarafa Tunji-Ishola

 25 Success And Leadership Lessons From The Life Of Amb. Sarafa Tunji-Ishola

By Charles Segun Adegbite

Amb. Sarafa Tunji-Ishola, the immediate past Nigeria High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, is a distinguished politician whose political experience and influence transverse local, state, national and international borders.

  He is a highly reserved man, with spirit of humility, modesty and diplomacy. He is not in the class of arrogant politicians in Nigeria who have shady characters and women of ease virtues.

As a cultured Yoruba man with good pedigree, he doesn't talk loosely. While he is very media friendly, he is not the type you see struggling for constant recognition on media space. He talks whenever the need arises. Aside events that require media reports. he either talks to put some records straight or keep people informed so that he won't be misperceived or forgotten. 

Ambassador Sarafa Tunji Ishola, is not among those politicians you read a lot of scandal stories about; like being involved in some dirty business deals, undelivered government contracts, being chased about by EFCC or sending thugs to attack opponents, having issues with wife for chasing after ladies and all that.

Consequently, Successful People Magazine publishes here 25 Success And Leadership Lessons from his life which many people, especially youths and young politicians can learn from him. 

   #1. He got his father's blessings early in life.

He was a good cook in his early life when it comes to preparing Amala (Yoruba delicacy made of yam powder).
     By preparing delicious Amala for his father regularly,  his father's spirit was pleased with him, like the biblical Jacob, and that actually prompted his father to pronounce blessings on him that he would succeed in life. 
    LESSON: To get a fatherly blessing you need to please your parents in whatever way you could.

  #2. He survived early challenges through divine protection.
     He was born a twin. His first name is Taiwo, being the first to come out of the womb, during delivery of the twins. But his twin sister died three months after their birth.
    LESSON: Whatever we become later in life, we have to realise that it's not our own wisdom that preserved us from childhood, but God. Whatever role our parents played to keep us alive, it's because God gave us to such parents, since we didn't chose our own parents before our conception.

  #3. He lost his father at age 14 and started struggling to succeed in life since then.
    He didn't allow the death of his father to stop his education and proper upbringing.
LESSON: Success driven people don't allow their life challenges stop them from breaking every barrier to their success in life.

  #4. He has leadership pedigree.
      He said, ‘My grandfather, Ibrahim Tairu, was the Otun of Egbaland between 1907 and 1913. And he (the grandfather) was a member of Egba United Government before the amalgamation of the Southern and Northern Protectorates in 1914.
    "My uncle was a councilor in 1952 during Action Group Era. My maternal grandfather was a member of Kila Society (A group of notable Egba indigenes who were influential in the affairs of Egbaland). 
  LESSON: Good pedigree is priceless. However, if you don't have good pedigree, you can begin to work on yourself to lead a good life that will give your children and grandchildren good pedigree.

   #5 He did a lot of menial jobs to study in UK.
     He paid the price for his future success in his early life by doing what they called dirty(but not illegal) jobs, instead of cutting corners as many young people do, thinking they're clever.
     LESSON: Success driven people do what they should do to succeed, not minding the shame, pain and inconveniences they will suffer for them to achieve their goals in life.

#6 He jettisoned a good job offer in UK to come and serve Nigeria after his graduation.
    His desire to serve Nigeria and contribute his own quota to the development of his country led him to reject a good job appointment offered him in the United Kingdom as he returned home to participate in the National Youth Service Corps, NYSC, program.
   LESSON: Sense of patriotism and willingness to serve, is necessary for anyone who aspires to become leader and occupies public office.

   #7 He was retained as a lecturer in the institution where he served.
  He worked for three years, lecturing at the Federal College of Education, Katsina, as he was retained as a lecturer by that institution where he served the nation through his NYSC program.
  LESSON: Serve diligently wherever you are working, sooner or later the Law of Compensation will work, for you to be compensated for your efforts, .

   #8 He practiced the profession he studied.
     He worked with the Ogun State Broadcasting Corporation (OGBC) as a marketer, where he practiced the profession he studied in UK.
    The experience he garnered while working with the state owned corporation helped him to establish his own company five years later.
     LESSON: You can't master any profession you don't practice. Mastery comes through constant practice. And minimum of five years is required for you to be a master in your profession.

  #9 He joined the struggle for restoration of democracy during military rule.
     As far back as 1988, he joined the struggle for restoration of democracy in Nigeria by being a foundation member of Liberal Movement which became Liberal Convention Party, LCP in 1989.
      LESSON: Don't wait till when things become rosy before participating to enjoy the pleasure. It is not a trait of good leaders. Work with sense of mission. Be part of the process of building a better nation.

#10 He started politics from the grassroot in 1988.
     He began as a grassroots politician by being a foundation member of the defunct National Republican Convention, NRC, in 1990 in Abeokuta, Ogun State.
  LESSON: Having knowledge of grassroots politics gives you good foundation and enables you to be rich in political experience, which will later be useful in helping you become a resource person for those who have no good knowledge of local politics to be consulting, if you have no money to contest at state and national levels.

  #11 He became a party chieftain and served as Secretary.
      He was Secretary of the NRC
for Abeokuta Local Government Area (1990-91). He was also a member of the Electoral Panel, NRC Presidential Primaries for Katsina State in 1992.
  LESSON: Leaders don't stay outside the system complaining or daydreaming. They join the inner caucus and get practically involved in the process. With this, they garner more experience that would be useful to them when given higher responsibilities.

#12 He contested and lost chairmanship elections twice  but won the third time.
He contested for the chairmanship of Abeokuta North Local Government Area twice (1991 and 1995) and lost in each attempt.
     His courage to try again and perseverance in facing the challenges involved fetched him success when he contested the third time and won. He thereby became the chairman of the new Abeokuta North Local Government Area in 1997.
      LESSON: Winners don't quit. And quitters don't win. It takes raw courage to keep on trying, each time one fall or fails  until success is attained or goal is achieved.

#13 He Joined Afenifere To Actualize Abiola's June 12 Mandate.
  When the struggle for actualisation of June 12, 1993 Presidential election mandate began, he identified with Yoruba people's common goal by joining the Afenifere Movement, despite the fact that he was initially a member of the NRC which he had joined when nobody knew Abiola would join politics or Yoruba man would be elected president.
LESSON: Good leaders have emotional intelligence. They identify with their people's needs, course, agitation and goals.
Don't abandon your people when your support is needed most.

#14 He became a local leader to climb to the top.
     Instead of contesting for governorship when he didn't have the financial muscle to do so, he contested for chairmanship position of his local government area and won.
    His motive was to serve his people. And NOT ULTERIOR motives that often push some politicians to contest for governorship or senate which they don't have the resources to pursue. And out of unholy determination will force them to go look for moneybags who would lure them into taking oaths for certain percentage of their income from politics if they're supported to win.
LESSON: Start where you are, with what you have. Don't be over ambitious and destroy your future today because of greed for quick returns.

 #15 He sacrificed his private car for government work.
     When he got elected as chairman of his newly created Abeokuta North Local Government Area, the government could not afford to provide him official car.
     He paid his dew in public service and politics by providing his own personal Volkswagen Beetle car for government use. And he couldn’t change the car or get official one throughout the 16months of his administration(1997-1998).
    As the head of the local government then, he could have opted for bank loan or  contacted motor dealers to supply the government a car for his official use on installments payment arrangements.
     But he chose to sacrifice and endure the burden, to serve his people.
        LESSON: Don't think of what you are going to get from your town, state or country. Think of what you are going to give for the town, State or country to get better.

   #16. He was elected Chairman of Local Government chairmen.
  Leadership inclination can't be hidden. The first time he was elected chairman of his local government, other chairmen saw the good leadership spirit and inclination in him at their conference and he was elected Chairman, Conference Of Local Government Council Chairmen, Ogun State, by his fellow LGA Chairmen (1997-1998)
     LESSON. Develop good leadership character, success habits. Sooner or later, people will notice them in you and put you in position of leadership or offer you an appointment with responsibilities that would bring you compensation and honour.

17) He gave Ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo good reception as his LGA Chairman after his release from prison; and served in Obasanjo's Presidency a year later.
    He was the head of the local government area(Abeokuta North Local Government Area) where former Nigeria military Head of State (later civilian president) Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo(Rtd) hails from. And he(Chief Ishola) was the one who received him (Obasanjo) home when he was released from prison by the Federal Government and handed over to the Ogun State Government in 1998.
   He gave the retired general a good welcome home, not knowing that the former head of state, who just returned from prison would in less than a year become Nigeria president again and offer him appointment in his Presidency.

  LESSON: Life is not static. It's dynamic and full of mysteries that are beyond human wisdom. And what goes around comes around.
    Whatever position you find yourself, lead well, because it's connected to other people's destiny. The person you treated badly today because you are in higher position may be the one who you will need their help tomorrow.

#16 He didn't allow his people to attack Hausa and other Northerners when Chief M.K.O. Abiola died
      When Bashorun M.K.O Abiola, who also hailed from the local government he was administering as chairman died in a controversial circumstances, and there was tension in the country. The youths in Abeokuta, wanted to retaliate by attacking Northerners in Abeokuta, for the alleged assassination of their hero, who they believed was killed by the Northern cabals.
   He prevented them from doing so and appealed to them to exercise patience. According to him, not only would retaliation not bring back the deceased Abiola to life, it would only create room for more vengeance and counter retaliation.
     Less than 10 years later he was appointed as a minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria by a Northerner.
     LESSON: Good leaders have broad mind and see beyond today. They don't engage in tribal and religion discrimination, because through their broad mind they could understand that human beings don't choose their parents and ethnicity, only God determined that for everyone.
   And in terms of religion, if God wants the whole world to worship him through only one religion, he would have done that because he has the power, wisdom and all the resources to do so.

18) He was compensated with federal appointment for his good leadership at local level.
He was appointed as Special Assistant to the Minister of State for Finance, Senator Jubril Martins Kuye in 1999 and served in that capacity till 2003.
This was his reward for his sacrifices as chairman of local government, while using his only car for government without changing it or buying another throughout his tenure.
This was a reward for leading the other LGA chairmen well, as their chairman.
This was also a reward for maintaining good relationship with the ex-president who just returned from prison and joining his party, PDP, as a foundation member in 1998.
LESSON: Don't abuse the opportunity given you to serve in that small position, just because it's not rewarding as expected of you. It may be the beginning of your step to higher position in life.

#19 He seized the available opportunities to study in many nations across the world.
    Apart from attending many national and international conferences and summits in Africa, Europe, Asia and America,  he embarked on study visits to five States in USA during which he learned so many things and widened his horizon.
  All these increased his wealth of knowledge and added to his experience in life and exposure.
LESSON: The more you climb the ladder of success and leadership in life, the more you get opportunities to know more and get better. While some people ignore, trivilise or waste such opportunities, the wise ones make the best use of them, and use them to prepare themselves for higher responsibilities.
   Always look for good opportunities in the place you are, which can help you get better without engaging in corrupt practices.

#20 He got commendation letter from the Minister of State for finance
   For his "unflinching commitment to service...uncommon loyalty to service and leadership, dedication to duty, handwork, integrity, sincerity and honesty to purpose... invaluable contributions to the effective running of the office of the honourable minister, which was described as indelible, the then minister gave him a commendation letter.
  LESSON: Serve your boss well. Be committed to your work. There's nothing you are doing that's not being noticed. They may not commend you while you are doing it. When it's time for you to leave, you will know your worth.

  #21 He got appointed as the Secretary to Ogun State Government.
   In just five years after leaving the LGA chairmanship position and barely a month after finishing as a Special Assistant to the Minister, he was appointed Secretary to the Ogun State Government in 2003, the appointment that put him in number three position in the Executive arm of the state government. And he performed well till the end of the tenure in 2007.
      LESSON: You may not have all the money to contest election, you may not be involved in politics, but you can develop good character, team spirit, industry, unflinching commitment to duty, among other virtues that will distinguish you as a good leader or success driven person.

#22 He became a minister 4yrs after serving as a Special Assistant to a minister.
      He was appointed as a Minister of Mine and Steel Development by late President Umar Yar’Adua on 26 July 2007, just four years after he finished serving as the Special Assistant to the Minister of Finance.
    This appointment was never planned for  by him while he was an assistant to the Minister. Neither did he plan to reach such level three months to the end of his appointment as the Secretary to the State Government, SSG.
  LESSON: There are certain levels we can reach in life without predetermining it, as long as we keep on doing all we need to do to increase our luck.
      Keep on working hard and working smart. Keep on studying and learning more. Keep on improving and getting better. Keep on associating with good and great people. Keep on developing good and great habits. Be more loyal to your bosses. Sooner or later, the Law of Compensation will work in your favour, to reward you for the good things you did to your parents which earned you blessings from them.

  #23 He returned to his private business in 2008.
       Barely a year and some months in 2008, there was a cabinet reshuffle, and he was relieved of his appointment as a minister, with a commendation letter from the President that he served the nation well. And he didn't get another public appointment until 12years later( 2020).
    So, he returned to his private business in 2018, as an Executive Chairman of Taist Nigeria Ltd.
   LESSON: No condition is permanent in life. Only death is permanent. When you are in higher position, bear in mind that power is transient. Help as many as you could, in a right way, to maintain your integrity while creating and maintaining  good relationship.
#24 He became Nigeria ambassador to the same country where he did menial jobs to study.

   In 2020 he was appointed the Nigeria's High Commissioner To The United Kingdom  by the then President of Nigeria,  Muhammadu Buhari. But he and other ambassadorial designates couldn't resume until January 2021, because of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  He however resumed, played his diplomatic roles well and succeeded in a country where he first did a lot of dirty(but not illegal)jobs as a student.
    LESSON: When you are on the floor, don't lead your life as if you cannot get to the top. Don't live a careless lifestyle today just because you are a nobody, and do irredeemable damage to your future under self pretence that you are a youth or self deception that you are enjoying your life as a man.
   If the then Mr Sarafa Tunji Ishola had raped a girl as a student, carried hard drugs or lived any form of worthless life, he won't have been fit as Nigeria’s ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary to the United Kingdom when he was appointed.

  #25 His life of dignity is commended and rewarded.
    In a letter dated August 31, from the Nigeria Ministry of Foreign Affairs, through which he (like other Nigeria's ambassadors) was recalled from his office as Nigeria’s ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary to the United Kingdom due to a significant change in Nigeria’s diplomatic front under President Bola Tinubu.

Through the letter, President Tinubu,  also commended him for his exemplary leadership qualities and worthy services he offered the nation during his ambassadorial assignments.
      Aside the commendations from the President and other political leaders he ever worked with, he has been honoured with over fifteen chieftaincy titles across Ogun State and Nigeria before becoming an ambassador.

 He has been honoured with such chieftaincy titles like: Tayese of Egbaland, Tayese of Oke Ona Egba, Oluomo of Gbagura, Are Tayese of Ago Iwoye, Apesin of Ijebu Isiwo, Sarki Yaki Hausawa Ogun State, Saraki Adinni of Ipokia, Baba Adinni of Yorubaland and Zein Quadriyyat of Nigeria.

    His Ethos: Service, trust and integrity. His Passion are: Law and order, people's welfare, social infrastructure and economic development.

   In view of this his ethos, which he lives by, Amb. Sarafa Tunji-Ishola 

 Is our Successful People Man of the Moment

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