One of the finest rulers of Islam was Umar Ibn Abd Al Aziz also known as Umar II. He is known for his lasting reforms in the Muslim society, its economy, politics and religious sciences. Umar II embodied humility, kindness and tolerance toward others. He enacted a profoundly transforming polices that created scholarly activities and institutions that transcended time and place. He operated and facilitated in truth and freedom of conscious. He restored treasury NOT as a personal property but to be pursued for justice and fairness. He paid administrators and technocrats handsomely so they won’t be corrupt officials. He revived the “Shura” consultation as a means of governance and government. He warned his governors against tyranny and oppression. He practiced equal social and economic justice for Arabs and none Arabs. He once wrote to one of his governors “The rulers before us were destroyed because of their obstruction of rights until it was bought from them, and their spreading wrong until it was safe guard against them”. He added, “Adapt leniency because it is better for our present and future than those used to gain from torturing their opponents in cramped prisons. Refrain from such practices. Keep them in humane and good condition”. Umar II was intense for being a catalyst of change; he had profound changes in only three years of rule.
Abraham Lincoln, 16th US President
To illustrate leadership and credibility consider Abraham Lincoln. Most of the people remember Lincoln as abolitionist and preserving the union in the United States of America. Yet, Lincoln and the republican congress passed bold sweeping legislation that created huge national markets, economic growth and a rising middle class. He also proclaimed agriculture as the foundation of Democracy and created the Department of Agriculture 150 years ago. He created partnership between the state and the Federal Government in advancing research and development and invested in Agriculture. Without a doubt Lincolns’ hallmark was courage. He once remarked “Neither let us be slandered from our duty by false accusations against us, nor frightened from it by menaces of destruction to the government, nor of dungeons to ourselves. Let us have faith that right makes might and in that faith let us to the end dare to do our duty as we understand it”. Lincoln was slandered but he handled it all with patience, leniency and determination as his enemies increased attack on him. Honest Abe as it turned out is just as relevant leader as he was then; competent; honest; courageous and inspiring leader.
Erdogan Tayyip, Turkish Prime Minister
Or perhaps we want our leaders emulate the Turkish model embodied by the dynamic Prime Minister Erdogan Tayyip. Mr. Erdogan was the successful mayor of Istanbul before he became prominent and the leader of JDP. As the founder of JDP his political convictions shaped the belief that democracy is compatible with Islam. As visionary leader, his party JDP established economic power promoted coexistence and mutual respect among the many Turkish groups. He called for respect of law and order and that elections must always be respected. Mr. Erdogan pledged to energize the economy, consolidate democracy and to leave the details of operating political agenda to the societal institutions. This leadership quality is proved to be inspiring, visionary and credible model to emulate within the Muslim world today.
Being a Leader
Being a visionary leader means having a comprehensive and concise policy plan to address at least how you would: Provide security, law and order. Build Good Governance, Public Administration and Transparency. Provide economic growth and opportunities. Educate our children. Hold clean election. Promote good neighbor policies. Protect the environment. Uphold and honor human rights. Fight corrupt practices. Encourage Private Investments. Hold constitutional referendum, Establish Judiciary and Enlist political parties.
Somalia needs leadership that honors and protects human rights and ensures equality for all its citizens; preserves and protects the environment. What is needed is leadership that welcomes back human capital abundant in the Diaspora and taps into creative reforms and stop brain drain; hold clean elections since clean elections equals’ ethical and accountable government. As ethical practice in government, business and education is the foundation for a just and prosperous nation.
As demonstrated by Umar II, Abraham Lincoln and Tayyip Erdogan, with exceptional leader Somalia can be guided back to an equal and just society and among the Democratic peaceful nations on earth.
Bashir I. Duale, B.sc. MS (Agricultural Economist)