Written by Solomon Adetunji
IN HER comportment lies her charisma. She is a woman of substance with rare insights and foresights. She belongs to the class of men that are noble and scarce. She loves to deploy diplomacy as her vibrant tool in all circumstances of administrative nuances. She leaves no one in doubt about her conviction when she sets out to achieve a goal. She sees the other sides of difficult situations and challenging times. She carries hope where being forlorn sits. She has almost become a goddess of administration. She is a mother before she becomes leader! Only few can combine the duo.
IN THE sand of time, she will not only find her name but her impacts beyond measures. Time would overtake her life duration, but her impacts would walk slowly to allow those who would come after her to think and see beyond their fleeting time. Time has a funny way to remind mortals about the valuable past. They would need to search for meanings of life beyond breathing through the nostrils. They would not find. Time would evade them and what they would carry if it lacks ingenuity and genuineness of purpose. Time is always a common test of character and virtues. Time is what we don’t have in abundance. Time is not renewable.
WELCOME TO the world of Mrs. Mulikatu Aliu, the outgoing Director, the Institute of Continue Education (ICE), Federal Polytechnic Offa, Kwara State. She is a mother whose carriage always gives a rethink on how leadership should be, what leadership means and who a leader is. In her resilience resides her focus on the end result rather than the hindrances at the outset. The alibi of many vulnerable leaders.
JUNE 29, 2021, was the dateline. The rendezvous was the ICE Boardroom in the course of her probably last meeting with Part-Time Coordinators that she broke the news of her exit as Director of the Institute. The eerie silence walked through the boardroom. All eyes and attention were fixed on her as she emotionally but courageously dropped the news: “This may be the last meeting with you Coordinators and other principal officers… I will like to use this moment to thank everyone here, past and present Coordinators and other officers who made my duration meaningful…” The news was least expected as part of the likely menu of Any other Business (AOB) when the agenda of the meeting were exhausted. This writer felt shocked too. In her considerate nature, she betrayed her emotion when she wept in the course of one minute silence observed for late Dr. Yusuf of Office Training and Management Department, who was a vibrant and technically gifted in diplomatic tool of administration. The silence was not silenced by her words, when proceeding resumed after one minute’s silence observation. The emotion was contagious.
BEING AT the helm of affairs at the ICE was not a product of an overnight dream and realization, rather, a continued process from being the Head of Department, Library and Information Science to other appointments prior to being a director. A testimony to her insightful propositions on issues and matters beyond the immediate time was the proposed design and constructed structure for the Department of Library and Information Science (LIS); which sits adjacently to the Medical Centre of Federal Polytechnic Offa, at the Main Campus, popularly called Permanent Site. Mrs. Aliu, understood the premise of Socrates’ admonition to the Greeks at Delphi, which is also applicable to the Nigerian contemporary leaders and followers; when he said that: “No citizen has a right to be amateur in the matter of physical training. What a disgrace it is for a man to grow old without seeing the beauty of his strength?”. That’s where glory and honour are wasted. Her own strength is in her visionary pursuit.
THE LIS building with the maximum support of the Management, is not only modern and befitting, it provides insights and foresights of a woman of substance. The building has greater prospects of being remodeled, re-moderned and re-structured when time tries to push it aside. As the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo once said in his timeless piece: If Tomorrow Comes; where he said that: “Vision is the magic wand for development, those who possess it, see what others cannot see”.
SIGNIFICANT IS her initiative to revive and rebuilt an old edifice into the present pavilion that stands opposite the Institute of Continue Education (ICE) at the Mini Campus of the Institution. The pavilion now looks like the Romans that rise from their ruins. She has brought changes where least expected. She is a change agent.
MRS. ALIU realized earlier that a tree cannot make a forest. Thus, appreciates the opportunity granted to her to serve the Polytechnic Offa in the capacity of Director of ICE, through the Rector, Dr. Ademola Olatunji and the entire Management team, as well as the Faculty members of staff: School of Communication and Information Technology (SCIT), who imported her to the the Management for the world to see her potentials. She believes strongly that she can’t express her gratitude maximumly to all those who have played one role or the other in her personal development as a leader. She is still learning – in her humorous tone.
SHE HAS paid her dues. She has not expired. She is still strong and relevant. But like every office and position, there
is always the space for the entry and the exit. Every thing in life has expiring date. All mortals would kiss the dust. But the goods in our hands must we deliver to humanity and posterity.
MRS. ALIU loves to sing the praises of others. She is an unsung heroine – whose niche is her usefulness and selflessness. She knows why she does not think about herself. She understood and understands that humans are frail in nature. We re all living on borrowed time. She is a leader that talks the talk and walks the talk. Thus, she is a team-player, loves team-work and loves to accept the shortcoming of her team as her own responsibility. Many leaders crave only the glory.
AS PARTS of her unique selling proposition, her outstanding quality is the ability to be humane at all time. Her leadership wears human face too. She has given what she has to offer. She is not one of them that pretends. In addition, as any culturally inclined Yoruba would say, she lives up to expectations because she has not forgotten that she is not the only one who bears her name in her family. A note of caution to those of us coming behind and to those who wield influence and power, not to forget that their name does not only belong to them, but a shared heritage among and within their lineage. Mrs. Mulikatu Aliu has served the Federal Polytechnic Offa more than a decade of delight. The dice rolls to you.
Solomon Adetunji is a lecturer in Mass Communication Department, Federal Polytechnic Offa, Kwara State. He is the founder and writer, The GUEST COLUMNISTS, available at: http://www.facebook.com/groups/guestcolumnists/
WINNER: 2017 Sam Omatseye’s 30th Anniversary of Journalism Practice Book Prize (December 1) and 2016 SLAM Youths Hero Award: Rising Star of The Year (Awka, Anambra State); 2010 Library Personality of the Year: Redeemed Christian Church of God, Jega, Kebbi State; 2008 August: Most Committed and Dedicated Correspondent – North, THE NATION Campus Life(Annual National Award) and 2008 April: The April Best Correspondent – THE NATION, Campus Life.