Opinion: What Obasanjo taught me about giving advice

First is ‘seek as much advice as possible, but the final decision is entirely yours to make’. Just as Obasanjo was the commander in chief of Nigeria, you are the C-in-C of your life. The decisions you take would be ascribed totally to you. Your advisers hold no liability. So be in control. Consult widely; decide wisely.

Our past leaders have taught me many things. But Obasanjo’s lessons on advice immediately comes to mind. Watch this space for more as I unearth connections between men-of-old and life’s realities.

This post is published with permission from Tobenna Okoli

Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

olusegun obasanjo

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First is ‘seek as much advice as possible, but the final decision is entirely yours to make’. Just as Obasanjo was the commander in chief of Nigeria, you are the C-in-C of your life. The decisions you take would be ascribed totally to you. Your advisers hold no liability. So be in control. Consult widely; decide wisely.

Peace!

I drew two lessons from the episode.

Secondly, on the flip side, I learnt that ‘advising some people is futile exercise’. There are people who would regularly seek your advice. But they end up doing the total opposite of what you advised. This can be very frustrating for the adviser. What do you do in this situation? Stop advising!

Several years ago the then president of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo appointed a number of special advisers. The inauguration ceremony was routine but there was a standout sentence in his address to them. Obasanjo remarked that ‘Your job is to advise me but I might not take your advice.”

by Tobenna Okoli

Tell the advice-seeker you trust his ‘intuition’. Become more of a listener and less of a talker. Let the narcissistic know-all figure it out himself. Such people just court advice for the sake of ‘humour’. They really don’t care about what you have to say. Their minds have been made up long before you were invited. Obasanjo is such a man. There are many of his ilk.

That got me thinking. Why would someone employ people specifically to proffer advice and then turn around to say that their advice might go unheeded?

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