In this post, I will talk briefly about a few lessons learnt from reading the book My Watch, by Olusegun Obasanjo. The book is composed of three volumes.
The book talks about history of Owu, Abeokuta and Nigeria, Obasanjo’s early life, career and distinguished service to Nigeria and Africa in general.
The book also expounds on Obasanjo’s philosophies about life, leadership and economics and spirituality among other subjects.
Some lessons I learnt are as follows:
A leader must surround himself with capable advisers
For a leader to be effective, he must surround himself with high quality advisers, not mediocre people.
Nation above tribe
To keep Nigeria united, one must be willing to put love of the country above love for a particular tribe within the country, even if it’s the tribe the person comes from
Solve problems by bringing all relevant parties together
Whenever two groups have a disagreement, to solve the problem you must be able to bring all the relevant parties together and have a heart to heart talk with them until you reach a good conclusion. Don’t just support one side automatically because they are from your tribe, or some other reason.
Good people are everywhere
There are good people all around who can help you achieve your goals in life. You just need to be able to search hard for them sometimes. Never settle for mediocrity due to “lack” of good people around.
When arguing with someone don’t bring up your past glories in a way to bring them down
When arguing with someone, referring to the good you have done for him/her in the past is not in good taste. If you do good for someone, take it that it is God that made it possible for you to do that good for the person.
Strive to excel in all things I do
If you get into any venture, aim to make a great success out of it. Don’t just do it for the sake of doing it. Do it to win.
Learn to get the best out of people regardless of their deficiencies
Nobody is perfect. So when working with people, find out what their strengths and weaknesses. Help them play on their strengths. Also work to manage their weaknesses so that it doesn’t become a big problem for you or your team.
Put God in all endeavours
God has a factor to play in any endeavour. Regardless of the preparation we humans make, there’s always that part God plays in determining whether it succeeds or not. Be prayerful and keep God in all endeavours.
Always prepare for the worst-case scenario in all projects. This way, you won’t be taken by surprise if it happens that way, and if it turns out better than worst case, you can feel good about it.
If you have a clear conscience, you should never be afraid of any man. Have courage and do your best to achieve your goals. When Obasanjo learnt that Abacha was trying to arrest him, Obasanjo was brave and came back into Nigeria even against advice from friends to flee. We only die once in this world and life is a risk. Achieving anything significant requires some risk and he who takes no risks is likely to live a boring unremarkable life.
Biographies are an excellent way to learn about human relationships
Read biographies extensively to learn about human behaviour and relationships.
Corruption and mismanagement are two key problem in Nigeria
Privatisation is an effective means of reducing waste by government and boosting productivity in the economy.
Consequences of corruption and mismanagement
Some of the consequences of corruption and mismanagement are disunity, poverty, chaos, ethnic and religious tension, lack on investment in the country by investors home and abroad, and lack of respect for the country by international peers
Make friends by visiting people
To really make friends, it’s best to visit people. Phone calls, letters, etc. are not as effective as going to see a person live in his/her home.
Keep your word
Be a man of integrity. When you say you will do something, then do it. Don’t back track on your words. When Obasanjo became military head-of-state he promised he would transition to a civilian rule and he did so, despite some of his friends abroad advising otherwise.
Be wary of mass media
Mass media should be believed with a pinch of salt. Before believing something in the news, do a bit of research and see if the information is credible. Generally, media publishers tend to publish information that makes their paper sells even while tarnishing the images of their subject. The media spread a lot of lies about Obasanjo trying to run for a third term even though he never wanted to.
Have a thick skin
There will always be critiques for any successful person on this world. You can’t afford to react to every negative thing people say about you. Most times, you just need to ignore undue criticism. Only respond when it’s absolutely necessary.
That’s all for now.