Hello <<First Name>>

It's good to be with you again. I hope you are slowly easing into the new year and getting into the rhythm of work, school or business. Last time, I advised you to set a goal for the year rooted in reality and to include actionable points in your plans. Have you done that? If so, you'll see for yourself how things pan out differently in the coming months. 

If you live in Oyo State, you will be aware of some of the challenges we have faced in the past week. Having a plan made it easier for us to tackle some of those issues. Thanks to everyone who followed our directives about allowing peace to reign in Oyo State by not stoking ethnic tensions. Sometimes, it is difficult to follow directions, especially when our emotions tell us the opposite or people around us are doing and saying something different. It can be tough to be a loyal follower.

But did you know that one of the most important qualities of good leaders is that they are loyal followers? So, if you aspire to be a leader, you must learn how to be a follower.

Think of all the successful leaders you know. As a Christian, one of the greatest leaders I know is Jesus Christ. He is a great leader because He followed the instructions that God gave him. Another great leader I have been reading about is Nehemiah. For those who are reading ''Hand me Another Brick'' along with me this month, you'd agree that one of the reasons things turned out well for Nehemiah, is that he always turned to God for leadership and direction. 

Consequently, even when the enemies set traps for him, it did not catch him. This is because he had Someone wiser, he was following. Not even the coalition of the foreigners: Sanballat, Tobiah and Geshem could prevail against him. Brick by brick, he and the returning Israelites worked until they completed the building of the wall in 52 days.

So, my message for you today is this: If you want to be a great leader, find a leader you believe in and follow them loyally. You cannot develop the empathy required in being a good leader if you have not been in the same position that people you are leading have been. In Nehemiah's case, he served as the king's cupbearer before he became governor. And so, when it was time to build the wall, he saw no shame in rolling up his sleeves and working along with the other Israelites. He had to follow the instructions of other masons, even as he led in the building. 

Similarly, while I continue to look to God as my ultimate guide, I have had mentors in my political and business life, like Mr Godwin Okuns. When I was offered a contract job in Shell, a position I would have ordinarily taken because I was trying to impress my girlfriend (now wife), he counselled me not to. He believed I had a higher calling. Following his advice changed the course of my life for the best.  Even as governor, I have a cabinet I listen to and other advisers who I turn to. I continue to be a loyal follower while I lead.

As Swindoll puts it, "Leaders and followers alike need others upon whom they can rely as they face the inevitable difficulties in life." So, my advice is that if you want to be a leader tomorrow, be a faithful follower today. Of course, follow the people whose life's philosophy align with yours.

Remember to stay safe. COVID-19 is still very much in our midst. Wear a mask when you are outdoors and maintain social distancing. And don't forget to regularly wash your hands for at least twenty seconds or use an alcohol-based sanitiser. 

Talk to you again soon,

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Our address is:
Seyi Makinde
Governor's Office, Oyo State Secretariat, Agodi, Ibadan, Oyo State.
Ibadan 200223

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