There is need to have competent leadership for nation building. A nation or any team for that matter rises or falls with leadership. And when a team is performing badly in sports, the coach is changed and the same players begin to do well. Performing teams retain their coaches and don’t change for the sake of change. That is usually counterproductive.
I believe that every Nigerian has something to contribute to the building of this great nation but leaders have a special responsibility. Bernard Montgomery, British Field Marshal said,
“Leadership is the capacity and will to rally men and women to a common purpose and the character, which inspires confidence.”
We must therefore be able to define our common purpose and decide how to achieve it. A leader therefore has the responsibility of ensuring that this purpose is achieved by rallying the people to contribute their quota towards achieving this common goal. A leader is not to impose his opinions on people but must understand the collective aspirations of the people and work to make them a reality. Leaders must be able to provide the vision that will unite us all and move us forward. Renowned leadership expert John Maxwell said that a leader should be able to see before others see, farther than others see and more than others see.
He must also be able to communicate this vision with such clarity and simplicity so as to carry everyone along.
A leader must possess the competence to lead. He should be able to harness all the resources to achieve set goals.
He needs intuition to navigate through difficult terrains. A leader is a reader. He is a reader of situations, trends, resources, people and himself.
The next most important attribute of a leader is integrity. He must possess the integrity that will enable the people to trust him. Trust is the foundation of leadership. This will not be possible if the leaders are selfish and insensitive to the needs of the people. It is said that “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”
Both spiritual and political leaders share a common problem: building credibility in a cynical society.
People don’t believe anything especially when they have suffered many disappointments by different leaders. People don’t believe especially in leadership for very many reasons.
Both political and spiritual leaders make frantic efforts to win the hearts of followers and be ahead of our competitors. We have made promises we have not been able to deliver on.
Trust is difficult in a situation where leaders loot the treasury and ignore the yearnings of the people. It is time for leaders to become accountable to the people. It is time for leaders to become good stewards of the resources of state. People get tired and become cynical when promises made by leaders are not kept. People want to see basic amenities provided for them: security, adequate health care, good roads, portable water, and constant supply of electricity, to mention a few.
Every time I watch the public being interviewed on television concerning the government; I feel very bad.
Leaders have over the years created the impression that we can fix everything. The truth is that we simply can’t.
People believe the government should provide schools, jobs, houses, hospitals, good roads etc. Fair enough but what is the dividing line between government responsibility and individual responsibility?
The romance between leaders and followers is one that we hate and love. People want strong and good leaders but they hate them when they fail to keep their promises.
I believe time has come for the Church to spearhead a campaign for reorientation. We just need to trust the government and love the nation. People must be made to understand that we all have a role to play in building a strong nation.
I look forward to see the day Nigerians will talk about Nigeria with love and passion the way Americans talk of their country.
Let me close with these few thoughts:
1. Leadership is a life we live, not a show we perform. Leadership is modelling the character we want the nation or organization to possess. Leadership is serving the people the way we want the people to serve the nation. Leadership is doing what we profess. Leadership is modelling a life of sacrifice, humility and meekness. Jesus was a servant leader who modelled the Christian life for us to follow. He led by example, and so should we.
2. It is not how we begin that matters but how we finish. My prayer is that we will all finish well in Jesus name.
3. When man rejected the authority of God in the Garden of Eden he lost his authority over the earth. Our authority derives from our submission to God. Without God we can do nothing. We must continue to maintain a close relationship with Him if we are to end well. Leaders receive many counsels and they should, but the one counsel that can never fail is the counsel of God. The Bible says if God be for us, who can be against us? True wisdom is found in the World of God. To succeed and excel, it is imperative to operate in the wisdom of God. This wisdom begins with the fear of God. I pray that God will begin to raise God-fearing leaders to lead us.
4. Lean on God for help; He can do what you are not capable of doing. You may have heard the story of a little bird that perched on the back of a big elephant while crossing a local bridge made of ropes and planks. Naturally, the bridge was shaking while they were crossing and when they got to the other side, the little bird said to the elephant; did you see how we shook the bridge? I believe we too can shake bridges and move mountains riding on the back of the very big God who made heaven and earth. Apostle Paul puts it this way, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” It is not that we cannot do anything at all on our own strength, but we can simply do more and do better by relying on God.
May you become a leader of integrity and may you make the right impact on the people you lead in Jesus name! I pray that you will leave a legacy that your children and generations after you will be proud of in Jesus name! Have a blessed week! Happy Independence!
Bishop Dr Charles Olowojoba is the General Overseer of Dayspring Bible Church Worldwide with HQ in Abuja, Nigeria & President, Dayspring Christian Ministries Int’l.