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Fatima Akilu: Staying true to her values (B)

By Randall Peterson


In 2016, four years into her role as Director for Behavioural Analysis and Strategy at Nigeria’s Office of the National Security Adviser (NSA), Fatima Akilu was summarily dismissed from her position, amid accusations of corruption at the organisation, and subsequently charged with fraud. Nigeria’s fraud agency repeatedly investigated Fatima repeatedly at the insistence of the NSA, but could find nothing to substantiate the claims of malpractice, eventually concluding the allegations were tantamount to harassment on the part of the NSA.

In the middle of being investigated, Fatima sat at her kitchen table at home in Nigeria with her sister and considered her options. One particularly attractive option was a job offer at the United Nations – but that would have meant an end to the counter-radicalisation educational and counselling work she had poured herself into, and that was core to her personal values.

Learning objectives

  1. Be an authentic leader by leveraging your personality and being creative in finding ways to become a leader based on your individual strengths, rather than trying to become what others think leaders should be (i.e., best-self, positive psychology).
  2. Use the power of listening and observing (i.e., being introverted) to become an effective and charismatic leader.
  3. Live your values in becoming a leader (i.e., doing what you believe in).
  4. Harness the power of using failure as a springboard to success.


Publication Date: August 2021
LBS Case Code: CS-21-010
Subjects: ,
Industry: ,
Pages: 11
Format: pdf