Former Ambassador says Nigeria needs change agents for a prosperous future

Ashimiyu Olaniyi, a former Nigerian ambassador to Pakistan, has issued a challenge to higher education institutions to generate graduates who can act as change agents and lead the country towards a bright future.

Olaniyi made the statement on Wednesday during his talk at The Polytechnic’s Combined Graduation Lecture in Ibadan. His topic was “Leadership Evolution: Empowering Change Agent for a Transformative Future.”

According to the retired Major General, tertiary institutions need to consider transformative leadership and provide students with the necessary skills.

He said that their goals should be to motivate, instruct, and provide the graduates with the know-how needed to lead successfully and act as change agents in a country that is always evolving.

As a result, he challenged the graduates to strive to be change agents who are industrious, persistent, and uphold their integrity.

“Resolve that you will not rest until you see the future you desire in that sector, in your community, in Nigeria and the world at large,” Olaniyi said.

He feels that “Leadership Evolution: Empowering Change Agent for a Transformative Future” is an excellent topic choice for the convocation lecture in 2023.

“In a world marked by unprecedented challenges and rapid transformations, the landscape of leadership has evolved significantly. Gone are the days when leadership was solely defined by hierarchical authority.

“Today, leadership embodies a mosaic of qualities that encompass adaptability, empathy, innovation, and the relentless pursuit of positive change.

“In a future of radical change, leaders will be crucial in determining how well societies and organisations develop. John C Maxwell stated that “everything rises and falls on leadership”.

“Leaders act as change agents, propelling and directing through seasons of change,” Olaniyi said. He said Nigeria needed leaders who have capacity to foresee, organise and carryout constructive realignments helps build a better and more sustainable future.

According to him, Nigeria needs a future that involves significant and positive changes in various aspects of society, technology, the environment, and culture.

“The world is changing rapidly and in many respects for the worse. For leadership to be impactful therefore, it must go beyond incremental improvements to a fundamental shift in paradigms, structures, and behaviours.

“This concept otherwise known as transformative future is often associated with the pursuit of positive and impactful change that can lead to a more sustainable and inclusive world,” he said.

Additionally, for the following four years, the retired general promised to donate N1 million to the top students pursuing a Higher National Diploma in the Civil Engineering Department.

Earlier in his speech, Prof. Kareem Adebiyi, the institution’s rector, thanked God and the staff for their support since taking up their positions in March 2019.

Adebiyi stated that he was glad the graduation ceremony happened while he was still in office and that he would be stepping down from office on March 25, 2024.