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Leadership is NOT a privilege

This column was originally called THE BANGOLO BYSTANDER. Then I changed it to LOOKING BACK. And now I titled it THE BYSTANDER’s LOOKING BACK.
The Bystander was Ibrahim Jubaira,’s cup of coffee in the then Philippine Muslim Times published in Manila  two decades ago. I was then managing the defunct paper when the famous writer and diplomat from the islands was making us proud to have him write with us.
Jubaira, whose style had received accolades and recognition internationally, lived a classic life of a writer and a diplomat. His work had never been surpassed by any other Muslim writers.
As he is my idol and a mentor, I borrowed his column title to cherish him.

So it is the same with Looking Back., the title of the column the late Tungku Abdul Rahman wrote after he retired from politics.in one of Malaysia’s old national dailies.
Tungku Abdul Rahman is the father of two Malaysias: first is the then Confederation of Malaya, and, second, the now Federal Malaysia.
I borrowed his column title to be always reminded when he told the late Philippine President Diosdado Macapagal in a meeting in Manila that he would not go to Manila again until there would be a Mosque where he could pray as a Muslim.
At that time, Macapagal was refusing to allow the Filipino Muslims build a Mosque where they could pray and have a cemetery to bury their dead in Manila because, as he said, he was afraid the Christian majority would get angry.
It might just have been a coincidence but immediately after the Tungku uttered his concern for his Filipino brothers in faith, Macapagal laid the Philippine’s claim on Sabah although everybody knew that it was not an easy case to win as Sabah belonged to the Sultanate of Sulu, if, indeed, it belonged to it, when it was still sovereign and when there was no Philippines yet.
That was Diosdado Macapagal, father of one of the country’s political infamous celebrities, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
Now, I coined the two to come up with this new column title The Bystander’s Looking Back.
I am the Bystander literally or figuratively, and what I am going to write about are things of the past to lead us in one way or another through the future.
What do you think?
Leadership is not a privilege.
My favorite sister, Hja. Norfatma “Emma” Alonto, reminded me when recently she commented to a post I did IN August 2012 the FB group called The Yahya Clan Foundation about leadership.. I really appreciated when she honestly said it was very true.
Her husband, Almin Alonto, by the way, is the present NSO’s provincial director for Lanao del Sur. He assumed office after our uncle Suod Barodi, Marawi’s Wato-a-Ulo, was made regional director of NSO based in Cotabato after his predecessor retired from government service.
The post runs this way:
If you aspire for leadership or accept leadership, don't ever forget that leadership is not a privilege. Rather it is a commitment, an obligation, a responsibility... So that the future of your organization -- whatever kind of organization that you are supposed to lead, family clan, political unit, GO, NGO, anykind -- greatly depends upon you and your kind of leadership.
“Do not blame others, or anyone, member or not, for the failure of your organization.
“The leadership of the Yahya Clan, and the leadership of the Noor Descendants, and of any other clans and even organizations… MUST always bear this in mind.
“That is why I always refuse to or very seldom accept leadership..
“If then as a leader you cannot achieve the goal or mission of your group, then relinquish your position to the next in rank, or to the one that members think can best do it; that is the most noble and admirable action that you should do. And doing so is a privilege, an honourable one.
“For why do you need to be a leader when you do not know leadership?”
Come and think of it.

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