Ndudi Godwin Elumelu is not only a charismatic leader, he is a compassionate person. The people of Aniocha Oshimili Federal Consultancy in Delta State are not only happy and grateful to have him as their Representatives, but thankful that such a quintessential person is representing them at the Federal House of Representatives.
He has been fighting for the little guy, for children, for the poor and disadvantaged, sometimes against establishments and elites. But as a leader, he is greatly admired across the political spectrum. Even those who disagree with his politics can draw inspiration from his life.
From knowing and observing him, I choose four leadership lessons I hope executives will take to heart.
Remember that performance is everything. No one is entitled to a position.
When Hon Ndudi Elumelu won his National Assembly (House of Representatives) election in the last general election, critics said that he inherited the position because of his family business and bought his way into the National Assembly through favoritism.
Critics also dismissed him as a weak younger brother (to a globally renowned and celebrated corporate mogul and philanthropist), who is a merely celebrity congressman. How wrong they were.
Hon Ndudi Godwin Elumelu’s route to the Congress stopped mattering once he began performing for his constituents and collaborating with his colleagues.
Elumelu did not rely on dynasty as destiny. He rolled up his sleeves and mastered the details, and he kept studying and learning as the issues changed.
No one is entitled to a top political position, everyone has to earn it through his or her deeds, and each is only as good as his or her command of the issues.
“Elumelu has endeared himself to his people. Well that’s what you have to do as a legislator,” Ndudi knows the job. His career rewards followed from his service.
Think values first, and suspend ego.
Ndudi Godwin Elumelu believes in public service as an honorable profession and in government as a vehicle for helping all citizens get their chance for high quality of life. His accomplishments speak for themselves. This is not about Elumelu or his ego. He is known for humility, graciousness, and geniality in the Congress; he was not engaged in partisan contests to win for the sake of winning.
The goals are so important that he is willing to work with political opponents to reach agreement on measures that serve the people. Negotiating by calling on higher principles made him effective with principled members of the other party.
Business leaders who operate from a sense of values and purpose.
Elumelu believes that the work as a Rep is more important than title or position. Business leaders should heed that lesson, above all: Performance, mission, and endurance are possible because the people we support and care about also support us.
Chris Okobah, Ph.D, is a Real Estate Consultant based in Abuja, Nigeria.