Let’s get to meet you. Please tell us about yourself and your background?
*My name is Barr. Barakat Bakare Akande. I am a Councilor, doubling as the Council Leader, Surulere Local Government. Before my venture into politics, I practiced law briefly.
What is the inspiration towards your choice of career and who are the people that mentored you in your early work life?
Almighty Allah is my number one mentor. My grandmother was my major inspiration in my political sojourn. She was the one that ignited my zeal to serve people.
My mentor is Rt HON Femi Gbajabiamila, the Speaker of the Federal House of Representatives. His legislative acumen is what I use as a model my political engagements.
What sense of purpose / mission / duty guides you in your life?
I am a goal-getter. Once I set my mind towards achieving anything, I am always ready to deploy all resources within my capacity to get it. Sometimes, I am successful, sometimes I am not. But I am less bothered whenever I invest resources and don’t get results. I see such episodes as an opportunity to get better.
As Nigeria keeps evolving and making strides in harnessing all the inherent values, how can we continue building women in political leadership?
Building women in political leadership should not be left in the hands of men. Women needs to understand that they have what it takes to aspire for leadership positions. It is not an issue of assisting women to attain leadership position. We need to take our aspirations seriously and not be perceived as needing help or assistance to attain political positions.
What are the basic experience you have gained in the public office? What has been your best leadership moment and what significance did it have for you?
Public office in Nigeria is a very difficult task. The moment you are elected or appointed to a political post, you become a potential charity House. Everybody wants to bring their personal problems to your table. It gets so bad that if you don’t meet the demands, you face the risk of aggressive castigation.
The moment I cherish most was the day I was nominated to be the council leader, despite being the youngest amongst my colleagues. It really showed that the new crop of political office holders in Nigeria have a better understanding of what it means to put square pegs in square holes.
Can you describe the changes you would like to see in Nigeria and how you think it would impact the value drive of the younger generation?
I am opportune to have experienced what it means for a country to be well-structured. Political office holders should begin to see beyond personal gains while serving the people. Politicians are corrupted by the perception that political office is a money-making venture. This mindset needs to change.
What would you describe as success in terms of career achievement and aspirations?
Success is not semantically. When you seek for something, you only become successful when you might have laid your hands on what you seek.
Are you involved in any community initiative that mentors the youths and positions them for empowerment?
Yes. As an elected office holder, it is expected that I reach out to the people who elected me from time to time. This is not limited to official assignments alone but also extends to ensuring that the youths in my community are provided with the necessary training and tools to make them better.
What should Nigerians and the world expect from you in the nearest future?
The future is not what anybody can boldly predict. What is expected from me in the present is what I am more concerned about. It is what I do in the present that people should use as a basis for my future engagements.