HAKEEM OLAYINKA MURI-OKUNOLA: MODEL IN VISIONARY LEADERSHIP

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Visionary leadership involves rallying people behind a dream or vision of something that has been out of reach.  In short, visionary leaders are confident, purpose driven people, who can connect well with others and mobilize them into action.

Visionary leaders are the builders of a new beginning, working with imagination, insight and boldness. They present a challenge that calls forth the best in people and brings them together around a shared sense of purpose.

They work with the power of intentionality and alignment with a higher purpose. Their eyes are on the horizon, not just on the near at hand. They are social innovators and change agents, seeing the big picture and thinking strategically.

Vision, according to the Strong’s Concordance Dictionary is “a sight (mentally), i.e., a dream, revelation, a mental image, or an invisible inspiration”. Vision motivates, directs and inspires.

Famous author, speaker and the late President of Bahamas Faith Ministries International, Myles Munroe, further reinforce the place of vision in human existence when he stated that: “The greatest gift God ever gave man is not the gift of sight but the gift of vision”. According to Munroe, “sight is a function of the eyes, but vision is a function of the heart. When a person doesn’t have a vision, they live by their eyes. That means we live by what we see. That’s one of the reasons why people are so depressed, and that’s why the future never becomes a reality”.

Therefore, vision is a source of hope; it’s the source of courage; it’s the source of perseverance in the midst of difficulty. Vision is the bridge between the present and the future. Vision gives pain a purpose. Those without vision spend their lives taking the path of least resistance as they try to avoid discomfort. The level of sacrifice that a vision requires will determine the size of people who follow. It is this sacrifice that eventually separates the small from the great.

The summary of the success story of Lagos State, especially in the current democratic dispensation (1999-till date) could be aptly described as triumph of vision and idea. In every strata of governance, the ‘Center of Excellence’ is truly blessed with individuals whose profound vision has helped to drive the State to the right path.

One of such personalities with insightful vision for a Greater Lagos is Hakeem Olayinka Muri-Okunola. Popularly called HMO, Hakeem Olayinka Muri-Okunola is a visionary leader with the ability to influence others at a one-on-one level through relational power.

As it is typical of most visionary leaders, HMO has possesses the ability to communicate a clear vision of the future along with the gap between that vision and current realities, in compelling and contextually relevant ways.

Born in Lagos Island on 7th January, 1972, HMO had his elementary education at ADRAO International School and Ireti Primary School in Lagos.

For his secondary education, he was at the Nigeria Navy Secondary School, Lagos from 1982 to 1987.

He had his tertiary education at the Lagos State University, Ojo between 1989 and 1995 from where he obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Law, following which he completed the mandatory one year of study at the Nigeria Law School.

Between 1998 and 1999, HMO was at the Queen Mary & Westfield College, University of London, England where he earned a Master’s Degree in International Business Law.

Prior to his travelling abroad for further studies, HMO had served as an Associate Solicitor with Adepetun, Caxton-Martins and Agbor, Barristers & Solicitors (1996-1999). This enabled him acquired remarkable proficiency in legal drafting, review of legal instruments and various other aspects of Law spanning Commercial, Property, Employment, Oil & Gas operations, among others.

Upon the successful completion of his post-graduate study abroad, HMO served as Company Secretary/Legal Adviser at Ibile Holdings Limited, the Investment Company of Lagos State Government, from 2000 to 2003.

His visionary leadership at Ibile Holdings swiftly endeared him to the then Governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu who appointed him to serve as his Personal Assistant. In view of the profundity of his vision as well as ability to deliver on set goals, HMO was appointed Executive Secretary, Land Use & Allocation Committee (LUAC); a position he held till 2011.

As a result of his human management skills, administrative capabilities and wide corporate management experience, HMO was elevated to the post of Permanent Secretary in the Lagos State Public Service in 2011. His first deployment after his appointment was in the Lands Bureau in the Governor’s Office where he took charge of the State’s Lands Administration machinery.

In this position, he was instrumental to visionary and innovative initiatives such as the Electronic Certificate of Occupancy (E-C of O), the Electronic Data Management System (EDMS) and the thirty (30) day processing of consent applications which greatly improved the Lagos state Government’s position on World Bank’s ranking in respect of Ease of Doing Business Index.

In 2015, line with Public Service tradition and consequent upon the prioritization of youth development policy of the then administration, HMO was re-deployed as Permanent Secretary Ministry of Youth and Social Development.

Under his leadership, the Child Adoption Processes was effectively strengthened and streamlined in line with international best practices. Furthermore, the Social Welfare Department was re-energized with a consequent improvement in the rescue and rehabilitation of beggars, indigents and the destitute.

Equally, the Child Protection system in the State was reviewed successfully and so comprehensively that the State Government’s response time to reports of child abuse and/or abandonment has since become more efficient and significantly faster today.

In addition, HMO was also instrumental to the amended version of the Child’s Rights Law; the Child Protection Policy as well as the LASODA Trust Fund.

In December 2018, following the statutory retirement of the erstwhile Head of Service, from Mrs. Folashade Adesoye, being, HMO was appointed the 21st Lagos State Head of Service of the Lagos State Public Service.

Ever since his appointment, his visionary disposition has impacted positively in many ways on the State Public Service. More emphasis is ow placed on training and re-training of staff while a significant improvement is being witnessed in service delivery. Similarly, some of the Staff Quarters are being given befitting face-lift, in addition to the modernization of the Staff Bus system. Also, the popular HOS Game has been enlarged to include more games and sports.

A member of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), the International Bar Association (IBA) and other social clubs such as Ikoyi Club 1938, Lagos Motor Boat Club, Lagos Polo Club and F’S Club, HMO is passionate about soccer, athletics, polo, boating, squash, basketball and many other water sports.

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