44 year old, devt-Savvy, masses-oriented Idah-Kogi Business Mogul, politician, and Philanthropist, Muritala Yakubu Ajaka is making a mark on the Kogi East terrain, now he has earned the accolade “The True Bridge” by spreading his developmental strides across the Three Divisions of Kogi East, namely: Idah, Ankpa, and Dekina respectively.
Flamboyant, young, handsome, sociable, and most of all, successful politician and philanthropist beyond most people’s dreams, with his ever-steady smile and gaze, laced with very unassuming and humble posture, Muritala Yakubu Ajaka is always looking like a star in an Igawood movie, too good to be true, but he is the real deal.
MURI as he is fondly called has empowered many young men with cars and they are driving Uber and Taxify, earning a living from it. This is a departure from the usual handouts or crumbs that older politicians have been using as bait to lure young people into thuggery and sycophancy to praise-sing them to public acceptance.
Thuggery, sycophancy, and bootlicking have become a pain in the butt in our modern society, young people have lost their dignity and value in exchange for licking the wounds of deceitful, unproductive, self-serving politicians.
MURI has also empowered many market women with business capital; he has become the darling and the praise in the mouths of these women who have confessed that they have not seen his type before. This is contrary to the status hitherto, where politicians share money to the masses to lure them or to buy their votes. Here is a man whose love for his people has propelled him into passionately changing lives.
A close contact with MURI reveals a man that is emotionally intelligent, a very important attribute of a true leader; he possesses the qualities of self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skill.
MURI possesses the ability to recognize and understand his moods, emotions, and drives and their effects on the people he interacts with daily. The resultant effect is that he is able to control or redirect his disruptive impulses and moods, an evidence of a mental balance that is connotative of a propensity to suspend judgment, which can be explained as “Thinking before acting”
MURI is a Motivator, He has a passion to work and do things especially touching lives for reasons far stronger than making money and attaining status. He is a strong optimist even in the face of obvious failure, never accepting defeat nor taking no for an answer. Those that work with MURI can attest to his strong organizational commitment and a propensity to pursue goals with energy and persistence.
Perhaps, MURI’s greatest weakness is his Empathy for people, his ability to understand the emotional makeup of his people and his dexterity in treating other people according to their emotional reactions. He achieves this through putting himself in the shoes of others, by this; he understands their pains and burdens. He possesses the social skill and proficiency in managing relationships and building networks, an expertise in leading teams, an ability to find common ground and build rapport. This has translated into his current effectiveness in leading change in the hitherto uncared-for Kogi East.
It is on record that MURI has revolutionized the mindset of the average Igala Man in his community development drive, through his leading role in the light-up Kogi East project. He remains the first Igala man to spread his communal development projects across the entire Igala land from Idah, through Igalamela/odolu to dekina all the way to Ankpa, Such an patriotic spread exemplifies his love for the entire Igala Nation de-emphasizing which part of the Igala Nation he comes from. No doubt he is the true bridge. An icon of Igala unity and development. His pioneer effort in this regard cannot be easily swept under the carpet. He is deserving to be shouted on the rooftops, let those who have ears hear.
As the days roll by, one thing is clear, a new Epochal wave of developmental Nationalism and consciousness is sweeping through the Igala Nation pioneered by a hitherto obscure young man who has made a weighty decision to answer the call to do things differently ,out of the box in a Chaotic and hopelessly normal situation.
PROFILE: The Man; Hon. Zakari Alfa
A financial accountant, professional banker and seasoned capital market personalty, Hon. Zakari Alfa was born 54 years ago in Ankpa, Kogi State, North Central Nigeria.
After bagging a degree in Business Administration from the prestigious Bayero University, Kano, North West Nigeria in 1987, Zakari proceeded to the University of Calabar in South South Nigeria where He obtained a Post-Graduate Diploma in Management in 1998.
At His formative stage, especially as an undergraduate, Zakari exhibited such traits which clearly set Him on a firm path to climb the professional ladder in Nigeria’s organized private sector. This was obvious because even as a student, he obtained relevant skills in banking by seeking gainful employment on an adhoc basis in the defunct Savanna bank, Kaduna and the United Bank for Africa, Makurdi respectively.
With this at hand, Zakari proceeded to start a long and distinguished career in banking immediately after undergoing the compulsory National Youth Service Corp program.
Between 1988 and 2008, Zakari held diverse positions of trust in North South Bank, Standard Alliance Insurance Company, Intercity Bank Plc., NUB International Bank Limited, First Inland Bank Plc., and Empire Securities Limited.
Within these years which witnessed about the most dynamic innovations in Nigeria’s financial system being fallout of the global financial meltdown,
Zakari brought His wealth of experience and professional competence to bear as he rose steadily through the ranks from an accounts officer, assistant manager, deputy manager/branch accountant up to branch manager.
On the strength of verifiable records which attest to His strict adherence to the tenets of professionalism, integrity and objectivity, the second phase of
Zakari’s career saw Him rise to managerial level as head of the public sector group of North South Bank Plc., a post which vested on him a unique responsibility of managing public sector clients of the bank as a means of ensuring seamless delivery of a wide range of financial services to ministries, departments and agencies of government.
He subsequently rose to the directorate level when as assistant general manager, He was charged with the responsibility of managing non-performing loans and other remedial assets of NUB International Bank Limited.
After a brief stint in remedial assets management, Zakari proceeded to head the Risk Management and Credit Administration Unit of NUB International Bank Limited. His interventions; some of which came in form of initiation of new credit policies, collateral assets management, product papers dynamics and standard operations procedures for granting credit facilities caused a near immediate reduction in non-performing loans ratios.
This feat was acknowledged by the CBN and other regulatory authorities.
Zakari’s career as a thoroughbred banker peaked during the recapitalization era between 2006 and 2008 when shortly after His appointment as regional executive, North Central of First Inland Bank, He was nominated and eventually appointed divisional head/associate director remedial assets in the same financial institution.
Following His exit from banking in 2008, Zakari proceeded to Empire Securities Limited (A Member of Nigeria Stock Exchange) where He was responsible for the daily operations of the securities investments company as managing director, chief executive officer till 2011.
Over the years, Zakari has undergone numerous professional, business and executive management trainings within and outside Nigeria most of which bother on leadership (organized by AISEC, Brussels), business management (organized by CIBN, Nigeria), credit analysis (organized by FITC, Nigeria), team building (organized by Tom Associates, Nigeria), leasing (organized by Amembel & Associates, Johannesburg), credit information exchange (organized by Credit Risk Managers Association), credit analysis techniques (organized by Euromoney, London) and leadership development (organized by Europe Training centre, London).
In 2012, Zakari was appointed Kogi State commissioner for finance and economic development by the Kogi State Government with a mandate to ensure that necessary structures are created and maintained to ensure sustainable economic growth and development in the state.
Not only was this responsibility discharged, Zakari went further to ensure that adequate mechanisms were in place to create streams of future earnings to provide for the next generation of Kogi people.
Under his management, the Kogi State Investments and Property Limited increased its capital base to N2B from an initial N500M from where funds were earmarked to fund a portion of the 300 affordable housing units in Felele.
Other infrastructural interventions which were made possible on account of His efforts include but are not limited to the 500 unit bond housing estate at Crusher and Ganaja, a modern park at Felele, the Kogi State Teaching Hospital, Anyigba, a 45 bed cottage hospital at Odu-Ogboyaga and the Kogi House, Abuja.
Besides the above, Zakari carved a niche for himself as a senior state official who operated a zero tolerance for fiscal misconduct, mismanagement of government funds and other acts of corruption.
Furthermore, Zakari Alfa is a great party man , a grassroots political leader with great capacity for mobilization on the strength of his consistency in the party affairs. However , Hon Alfa, because of his love for his people , integrity and personality in the political cycle , they was a popular clamour for him to contest for governorship of Kogi state, although, his party , the PDP took a decision but as an aspirant he had a well articulated blue print that would have catapulted the state into a viable economy judging by his antecedents as a banker of great repute and his indelible track record as commissioner of finance. Hon Zakari Alfa is a philanthropist of great standard whose humanitarian exploits transcend borders and who places humanity first .
On the social front, Zakari, a dedicated moslem is married and blessed with children.
Stanley Ekezie: Echoing vibes of a noble leader
By Bright C. J. Okereke
Just last Saturday, at the Isiala Mbano office of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Sir Stanley Ekezie, made another landmark stride that further engraved his name with gold on the sands of time as a rare-bred politician with an extraordinary courage, when he announced his decision to drop his long-nursed ambition to contest, the 2023, Okigwe North Federal House of Representatives seat, on the laudable grounds of respect and regards for equity, justice and fairness.The Western-styled politician, said his decision was informed by the esteemed advice and counsel, from some respected and distinguished political leaders and Statesmen, from the divide, who were signatories and witnesses to the Charter of Equity and Memorandum Of Understanding, enacted about 22 years ago, to guide and ensure, the 3 Local Governments Areas, that make-up the federal Constituency, have equal opportunities and duration to represent the constituency at the nation’s green Chamber.He maintained that, with all the 3 LGAs of the Constituency, having had an uninterrupted shot of 2 tenures of 4 years each at the green chamber, with Isiala Mbano serving out its last tenure, it is therefore fair, most equitable and in the spirit justice, that Onuimo LGA, begins another round of representation service for constituency.The declaration which attracted mixed reactions of shock encapsulated in eulogies and praises, had all the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) executives from the 3 LGAs of Okigwe, Onuimo and Isiala Mbano, and their Chairmen present, that men began to wonder, muttering to onother; what manner of politician is he (Chief Stanley Ekezie KSC); that he is consideratly passionate, balanced, polished and liberal-minded, especially now that our politicians are grossly rapacious. Indeed, there’s virtue in nobility. Frankly, most of our political leaders manifest high degree of rapacity and inanities even as the masses remain in their position of hollowness as ill-fated people. But, Sir Stan Ekezie, has an entirely different and more veritable approach to leadership.Chief Stan Ekezie (KSC), is a man of rare value, blessed with humanistic spirit, imbued with a high sense of compassion, evidenced in his enduring support and relationships with the youths and the aged.In fact, his appointment as a political leader, within his clan, may have been designed by divinity to salvage the helpless and suffering, especially within his domiciliary, He is a focused leader with an unusual touch of wisdom. With his impeccable character traits powered by integrity and sustained by genuine commitment to helping people become the best of themselves, Stan, is trending as a boundary-less philanthropist and a sterling transformer of human persons. Sir Stan Ekezie is a rare-breed politician with an abundant zeal to redefine our sociopolitical mentality, practice and political conduct. He is a strategic and constructive thinker, a courageous and dependable party man. He is indeed! A political Touch-bearer and Trailblazer. One of the finest political minds of this generation.Very many relatives, kinsmen, friends, political associates and business contemporaries who have had dealings with him found hope and contentment.Sir Stan, is one of the finest specimen of a typical Igboman, and has always provided various forms and magnitude of livelihood support for his people of Umuenyi and Umunkwo, Mbama clan, Isiala-Mbano LGA and beyond. Certainly, his dispositions of humility and meekness may have joined in making him a magnifying mirror for his people. He is a unique political figure with honorable qualities of moral eminence and freedom from petty, mean or dubious conduct and character.Indeed, his generosity has touched communities, market women, youths, school pupils and students, individuals and families within and beyond his domiciliary. He is the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) South East Ex-officio.
Leadership Lessons From Madeleine Albright, The First Female US Secretary Of State
By Edward Segal
Madeleine Albright, the first female U.S. secretary of state who died yesterday at age 84, was a world-class leader who leaves behind several lessons for business executives.
Help Others Find Their Way
Retired U.S. Navy Captain Barbara Bell is a leadership professor at Vanderbilt University and author of Flight Lessons: Navigating Through Life’s Turbulence and Learning to Fly High. She was one of the first women to graduate from the U.S. Naval Academy and U.S. Naval Test Pilot School. Bell said that “When I think of Madeleine Albright, I think of her like a lighthouse—a sturdy, confident, beacon of light that women cross the county, the world, in fact, navigated towards giving them hope that they too could become world leaders one day.”
“Condoleezza Rice saw that light and so did Hillary Clinton, quite literally following in her footsteps. I saw the light and navigated a different course to become a senior naval officer. That’s what role models do, they shine the light that allows others to find their way,” she commented.
Leaders Can Rise Above Their Humble Beginnings
Bell said that “As someone who immigrated to the United States in 1948, Albright was faced with her own set of challenges, not only as a woman but also as a young child growing up in Europe during World War II. She ultimately rose above the hardships of her past and became a trailblazer as the first female secretary of state and the highest-ranking female diplomat in the history of the U.S. government.”
Your Impact May Not Be Felt Until Later
“As Bill Clinton remarked in a recent statement following her death, Madeleine’s push to expand NATO is perhaps the glue that is going to help us overcome the crisis in Ukraine,” Bell noted.
Leaders Raise The Next Generation Of Leaders
She pointed out that, Albright’s four decades at Georgetown University “created almost two generations of world leaders who are all well-versed in diplomacy. Take Condoleezza Rice, former secretary of state who is now the director of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, or Barbara Mikulski, former U.S. Senator and a critical player in pushing women’s roles in the military who now teaches public policy at Johns Hopkins University. These women are leaders who were guided by Albright’s unmatched mentorship.”
Flexibility And Adaptability
Baruch Labunski, CEO of Rank Secure, observed that “At a moment in history when leaders like Vladimir Putin dominate the news and wield power like a weapon, the world could use a few more Madeleine Albrights. Not only can she teach us much about diplomacy and its importance, but she can also teach us about business leadership.
He recalled that Albright said, “As a leader, you have to have the ability to assimilate new information and understand that there might be a different view.” Leadership doesn’t require that one have all the answers…or pretend to. Leadership requires flexibility and the willingness to adapt as we acquire new information. Both in business and diplomacy, great leaders surround themselves with bright people, and they listen to those bright people.”
‘Don’t Take Yourself Too Seriously’
According to Labunski, “In business as in life in general, one of the surest ways to lose your perspective is to take yourself too seriously. Albright said, ‘Life is grim, and we don’t have to be grim all the time.’”
Keep Things In Perspective
“Running a profitable business is important. It benefits local economies and funds our abilities to pursue our passions. But we have to keep our business in perspective. Have a little fun. Let your employees relax a bit and see their work as an important part of their lives, but just a part nonetheless,” he concluded.
‘Have A Value System’
Organizational psychologist and executive coach Gena Cox, head of advisory and research at Feels Human Partners, thought that “Madeleine Albright showed the world that leaders must have a value system, a point-of-view, a ‘why’ as their North Star. That North Star can help you define your moral redline, and that redline can define your actions. Leaders’ actions are like ping-pong balls without such a compass, and they lose followership. Madeleine Albright had a clearly defined ‘why,’” she noted.
‘Wield Experience As An Advantage’
Cox said that “As a woman in corporate roles for over 30 years, Madeleine Albright provided a vision of what an ‘older’ woman could do. I saw how one could wield experience as an advantage for gravitas and then apply a layer of disconcerting velvet-covered steel. She showed me how to win by being ‘different.’”
Find Different Ways To Express Yourself
Magdalena Johndrow is a financial advisor and the managing partner of Financial Johndrow Wealth Management. Johndrow recalled that Albright, “was famous for always wearing intricate brooches to important meetings. She told us a story [at a] conference about when she wore a snake pin to a meeting with Iraqi officials in response to them calling her an ‘unparalleled serpent.’ Her choice to express herself silently in this way but sternly is so important to business leaders.
“Her actions taught me that it’s not always what you say, but how you say it. Furthermore, by continuing to wear colorful brooches she also added a touch of femininity in a male-dominated field, and I also believed that taught us women leaders to remain true to yourself regardless of the setting, even if in a subtle way,” Johndrow concluded.
Remember The Mission
Daniel Comparetto, strategy leader at Deloitte Consulting, said that Albright provided an example “on how to not only create a mission but how to bring everyone on board in pursuit of that mission. She exemplified doubling down on your organization’s belief in the mission.
“The leader must explain not just what to do, but why. It is the responsibility of the other leaders to reach out and ask if they do not understand. Only when leaders at all levels understand and believe in the mission can they pass that understanding and belief to their teams so that they can persevere through challenges, execute and win,” he said.
Culled from Forbes.com