By Queen Onwughalu
“The true test of a leader is not measured in what they do when things are easy, but in what they do when things are tough.” – Michelle Obama
These words from the amiable Michelle Obama are a stark reminder that leadership is not an easy task, especially in the public service sector. It requires dedication, commitment, and the ability to make tough decisions that are in the best interest of the people. From her people-centric disposition to her administrative prudence, she has positioned herself to impact on people from all walks of life. Her admirers are quick to point that despite being a ‘junior minister’ with little wiggle room, she made the most impact. Not surprisingly however, Ramatu Tijjani Aliyu, the immediate-past Minister of State for the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), has recently come under malicious and I suspect, orchestrated attack by unseen hands. From experience, this is common when you chose the tough and lonely path of honour in a terrain where honour is a scarce commodity. This also is a pointer for the media houses to be alert and ensure that there is the highest observance of quality control and to task their field reporters on the media ethics of objectivity, truth, balance and accuracy of their sources and findings so the media House is not used for politically orchestrated malice and to spread fake news.
Well, I read the rebuttal and how she debunked the allegations against her, and I realized she is made of the ‘right stuff’. While it is important to hold public officials accountable for their actions, it is equally important to recognize when individual(s) hiding behind a ‘pen and paper’ spew allegations against people just for the sake of it. And with hatchet-men masquerading as journalists having a field day during this transition period, I was advised by many-including reputable journalists, to be wary of what publications I consumed. So it again dawned on me that the woman also had massive ’street credibility’ even out of office.
In the course of my enquiry, reference was then made to the fact that, even though a former Minister, she extended goodwill through her intervention when FCT pilgrims cried out for help, following the accommodation and logistics issues that they encountered last week. Some of the pilgrims who couldn’t keep that kind gesture to themselves, took to social media to shower praises on her.
Now if indeed this is the kind of goodwill Dr. Ramatu gets all the time, in-spite of the general disdain for public office holders, then I advise her to brace up for even more vicious attacks as she climbs higher. The room at the top is very congested!
A golden fish has no hiding place. Whilst it may thus appear cruel to malign a dedicated public servant, I can only wish her tougher times ahead because that is the oft-traveled path to the very top. Her admirers should therefore not break a sweat, and instead allow her record of service speak for itself.
In the words of John C. Maxwell, “A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” Many are convinced; and I have no reason to begrudge them, that Ramatu Tijjani Aliyu belongs to the new breed of leaders that would help shape the Nigeria we deserve. And if it is in the interest of Nigeria and Nigerians, I say a BIG FAT AMEN!
*Queen Onwughalu is a staff of the HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) and writes from Abuja.