Mr Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, Minister of Information has underscored the need for student leaders to build consensus on settling issues affecting them to reduce the tensions and agitations associated with students’ grievances.
“Over the years, the model of students leaders have been the model of the agitators, the champion of the cause, the leader of the cause to oppose policies”
“Hardly do we highlight the model of the leader who is focused on building consensus, finding middle ground between entrenched positions, making progress, focusing on the important substantive matters as against holding everyone to ransom often over little side issues.”
Mr Oppong Nkrumah was addressing students of the University of Cape Coast (UCC) Students Representatives Council (SRC) Leadership Summit Programme to build the capacity of students into leadership positions.
He told them that leadership was key in the pursuit of national security, therefore, students leaders needed to make a paradigm shift from the “aggressive” type of leadership to embrace a more people-focused style to facilitate the welfare of the people.
According to him, the misconceptions about student’s leaders, showcased to successive generations that students’ leadership was all about “Aluta Continua”, no compromise, no middle ground, was rather unfortunate and should be discarded.
He defined a student leader as a person who manages to get others to follow his or her direction in pursuits of or in championing a particular objective in the interest of his constituents.
Mr. Oppong Nkrumah cautioned that the nation would become ungovernable in the near future, if it continued to churns out student leaders with entrenched positions who were not ready for consensus building.
He said extremism and grandstanding had never been a model for building sustainable development adding that, “the best nations that many seek to visit, are nations built on accommodating each other’s point of view but not entrenched positions”.
The must always engage with all stakeholders, accommodate each other’s position and eschew all forms of acts that could jeopardize their reputation, career and future endeavours.
Professor Mrs Linda Forde, a Senior Lecture and Counsellor at UCC urged leaders to exhibit true leadership and be ambassadors of change in their various localities.
They must exhibit ethical leadership that involved respecting the rights and dignity of others.
“Ethical leadership focuses on how leaders use their power in the decisions they make, actions they engage and how they meaningfully influence others,” she said.
“To be a true leader, you must have a servant like mentality, approachable, visionary, honesty, passionate and determination,” she added.