LEADERSHIP LIABILITY - A CLARION CALL FOR COURAGEOUS, COMPASSIONATE AND WISE LEADERSHIP
Leadership Liability - A Clarion Call for Courageous, Compassionate and Wise leadership is a collection of insightful, inspirational and prophetic essays, articles, and interviews published in book form to commemorate Nigeria's Golden Jubilee independence anniversary.
Leadership Liability – a clarion call for courageous, compassionate and wise leadership addresses the divine duty and obligations of leaders. In Leadership liability, Dr. Ekeke passionately addresses the religious, moral, social and leadership challenges impacting not just Nigeria but also its indirect impact on other African and Western nations. Leadership liability is a call for moral and godly leadership. It teaches the secrets of godly leadership.
In Leadership Liability, Dr. Ekeke argues that the greatest need of this century is finding courageous and compassionate people who are capable of bringing lasting solution to the myriad of leadership problems facing the peoples of this planet earth, in particular Africa.
Africa is undergoing a terrible waste of human potential and therefore in desperate need of competent and visionary individuals to help bring relief and end the sufferings of millions of people. We live in a world, especially in the continent of Africa, where millions of people are faced with wrenching and insurmountable problems. Thousands are decimated in Africa each day due to lack of basic needs of livelihood. The plethora of problems facing the continent of Africa is not just economic, social, moral, environmental, or political issues but lack of competent, courageous, compassionate and wise leaders.
Leadership Liability begins with a detailed history of Africa’s colonial conquest in particular Nigeria. Dr. Ekeke writes that, it is an established fact that Nigeria is a creation of the British Empire during the 19th century. When the Europeans especially the British, French and Portuguese invaded the continent of Africa in search of slaves and mineral resources during the later part of the 19th century, the kingdoms of Oyo, Bornu, Hausa, Benin, Bonny, Jukun, Idah, Aro and Ibo-land in the Western Coastline of Africa lived in peace and traded among themselves. These peoples and kingdoms had existed hundreds of years even before the advent of the Europeans. The peoples of these kingdoms and empires had deep political, social, religious, tribal and linguistic differences.
By the later part of 1890’s when the British invaded and conquered these kingdoms, they created a monstrous nation for their political and economic interest and power rivalry with the French. And so, the peoples of Hausa, Fulani, Kanuri, Ibo, Yoruba, Kalabari, and Ijaw were forced to live together without a well-defined set of core values that addressed national unity, patriotism and parameters to discourage tribalism and intolerance between the peoples of the new nation. Flora Shaw, the wife of Lord Lugard, Nigeria’s second governor general who suggested the name Nigeria for these variant groups of kingdoms and territories around the Niger over which Britain had established a Protectorate.
Then Britain imposed a system government and administration popularly know as “indirect Rule” in which the local affairs were largely left in the hands of Nigerian traditional rulers such as the Emirs, Obas and Chiefs while the national affairs were completely controlled by the British officials. The political structure was also intended to preserver the tribal distinctions in her new found colonial empire. While the North accepted the Indirect Rule without problems, some local leaders from the South, who had managed to receive some education through British established missionary schools in Nigeria, began to challenge the British system of Indirect Rule. Some years later, a good number of Southern leaders including some Northern leaders aspired to share in the national government, which was the exclusive preserve of the British. Those elected to the congress were all British officials and the nationalists thought that the national administration did not represent the Nigerian masses and therefore protested against the British government to revise the 1922 constitution to include Nigerians in the Legislative Council.
In 1950’s Nigeria fought for independence from Britain. The nationalist leaders such as such as Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Alhaji Abubakar Tafawa Belwa, Alhaji Ahmadu Bello, Ernest Ikoli, H. O. Davis, Chief S. L. Akintola, Dr. M. I. Okpara, Solanke, and Eyo Ita, among many others wisely challenged British style of government which was established for the people of Nigeria and most of Africa then. Through their struggle and pressure against the British colonial rule, Nigeria's independence was granted due to the activities of people like Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Chief Obafemi Awolowo and Ahmadu Bello, who were the pioneers of the nationalist grievances against the British system of indirect rule. Nigeria received her independence from Britain in October 1, 1960, and became a Republic in 1963 under a British Parliamentary system of Government.
However, since Nigeria gained independence, she has not been able to enjoy national prosperity despite abundant natural and human resources. She has had many kinds of government – Unitary, Parliamentary, Military and democratic and yet without success. Despite her enormous human potential and abundant natural resources, the promises of these various governments have been a dismal failure. They have not kept their promises but floundered and left the Nigerian masses worse than when they were slaves under the colonial rule because of poor leadership.
The eminent scholar and International poet, Prof. Chinua Achebe in his famous treatise: “The Trouble with Nigeria,’ writes, “The trouble with Nigeria is simply and squarely a failure of leadership.” Many concerned Nigerians, foreign observers and leadership scholars have also attributed the pandemic poverty, diseases, corruption, and violence, ethical and moral decadence in our society as a result of bad leadership.
Dr. Joseph Nanven Garba in his brilliant book: Fractured History, Elite Shifts and Policy Changes in Nigeria, wrote, “Nigeria, to my mind, does not lack real men and women. The ingredients for creating a formidable nation exist. What is lacking is leadership with the political will and the selfless dedication to galvanize the entire nation." Good leaders exist inside and outside the shores of Nigeria.
Nigeria does not lack men and women with natural abilities to lead; what is lacking is the failure to lead from godly perspective. Most of the leaders who had made impact on this planet have been those who led wisely, courageously and compassionately. The missing ingredients are the political will, godly courage and selfless dedication, passion and divine strength to galvanize the Nigerian masses.
Dr. Ekeke strongly believes that lack of godly courage, compassion and wisdom are the primary causes of poor leadership that led to poverty and the travails of our nation.
First, Dr. Ekeke believes that ‘godly courage’ is one of the sterling ingredients of great leadership. No one can become a great leader without godly courage and divine strength. One of the great examples of biblical leaders with godly courage and divine strength is the biblical account of Israel's leader Joshua and how he faced a daunting task of taking the nomadic troops of Israelites into battle against the fortified cities of Canaan. After the death of the great Jewish leader Moses, Joshua, his protégé was overwhelmed with the enormity of the task of taking more than three million Israelites into the fortified cities of Canaan, a land flowing with milk and honey. God commanded Joshua to be strong and courageous because he will lead the children of Israel into the land of Canaan.
God spoke to Joshua, "Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them. Be strong and very courageous…Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go" (Joshua 1:6, 9). God promised to give the Israelites victory despite the overwhelming odds against them.
In Deuteronomy 31:7-8, “Moses summoned Joshua and said to him in the presence of all Israel, “Be strong and courageous, for you must go with this people into he land that the LORD swore to their fore-fathers to give them, and you must divide it among them as their inheritance. The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Then Moses laid his hands on Joshua before all the assembly of Israel and before the High Priest Eleazer and commissioned Joshua as the LORD instructed.
Second, Dr. Ekeke believes, that leading people also requires enormous compassion. Enduring leadership, the kind that makes a positive, long-range difference, is always characterized by compassion. A compassionate leader cares about people. A compassionate leader seeks the greatest good for all people. True leaders must show compassion even when confronted with challenges. Showing compassion sometimes requires breaking the rules, often in ways that people don’t understand. A leader can only be effective when the basic needs of others are met. If anyone wants to be a great leader, he or she must be compassionate and a servant. A leader must be humble and serve with humility, compassion and love.
Jesus Christ, the greatest leader of all time made this powerful statement, “whoever wants to become great leader among must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first (leader) must be your servant just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to give his life as a ransom” (Matthew 20:26-28). Jesus profoundly made it clear that if one desires to serve in any position of authority and power that one must be willing to serve, be a slave and ready to fight and if necessary give his or her life. That is what courageous, compassionate and godly leadership is all about.
Third, Dr. Ekeke argues that, godly wisdom is an essential ingredient of pure and genuine leadership. King Solomon realized the need for godly wisdom for leadership despite his physical attributes and family heritage when he asked God for wisdom, knowledge and discerning heart to lead the people of Israel. King Solomon makes it abundantly clear that godly wisdom is a very important ingredient of leadership as well as a key element for godly living. King Solomon applied godly wisdom to the economic and political benefits for his people; even though he failed to apply the same wisdom in his personal life.
In Leadership Liability, Dr. Ekeke argues that true and genuine leadership is a divine and sacred duty. Leadership is a great sacrifice and service to humanity. Seeking to be a leader is an honorable ambition and a noble task. "If any sets his heart on being an overseer (leader), he desires a noble task (1Timothy 3:1)."However, it requires wisdom, character, integrity, prayer, perseverance, passion, shared vision and strategy in order to lead others. Leadership is a divine and a sacred duty and our society is desperately in need of courageous and strong leaders. Leading is hard work and our nation is in desperate need for leaders who have the vision, character, courage, capacity, compassion, and wisdom to bring about peaceful solutions to the myriad problems facing the Nigerian people. Leadership is hard work that requires divine strength, godly wisdom and great courage that can only be given by God. True leadership involves great sacrifice and selfless service to the people.
Leadership liability deals with the divine obligations that leaders owe to their people. It is also an inspiration of writings that list several nuggets for leading wisely, morally, courageously and compassionately. Leadership liability is a call for moral and godly leadership. It teaches the secrets for godly leadership. Dr. Ekeke writes, “The greatest need of this century is developing authentic, courageous, compassionate and wise leaders that truly understand the divine obligations of leadership.” Leadership liability lists and explains the responsibility of those elected, appointed or selected to lead and their divine duty and obligation to the people that chose them to lead.
In Leadership liability, Dr. Ekeke passionately addresses the religious, moral, social and leadership challenges impacting not just Nigeria but also its indirect impact on other African and Western nations. Genuine Leadership is the greatest need of our time. It will be perhaps the most important need of the 21st century. God kind of leadership is the only leadership that can lead our societies into a real and genuine change.
In conclusion, Dr. Ekeke lists eleven things that must be pursued to re-engineer, re-brand, and restore Nigeria’s image, ingenuity, influence and glory among the comity of nations:
1. Restore the honor and dignity of the family institution
2. Restore the power, honor and glory of religious institutions
3. Restore the responsibility of civil and governmental institutions
4. Restore the vision of governance, transparent and compassionate leadership
5. Pursue and restore peace, security and stability through genuine repentance, forgiveness ands reconciliation
6. Restore the beauty and strength of our diversity, cultural, ethnic, and tribal differences through a national core value system.
7. Restore tolerance of our multi religious, spiritual, and belief differences
8. Restore and empower all Nigerians no matter their ethnic, tribal or religious beliefs who have the integrity, character, and capacity for visionary leadership
9. Restore equitable and fair allocation of the nation’s natural and human resources revenue
10. Restore social, economic and healthcare system of our nation through investment and development of basic infrastructure
11. Restore freedom and empower Nigerians to be patriotic citizens.
Leadership liability is a must read for many who care about our country – Nigeria. The reader will learn the biblical principles and wisdom for godly living and leadership. It contains an unusual inspirational, insightful, and prophetic writings on the subject of leadership. Leadership liability would be a useful resource for colleges and universities and a timeless tool in your hand as a leader.
Chima Kingston Ekeke, Ph.D., is a theologian, writer, and IT consultant and leadership scholar. He is the author of Leadership Wisdom and the president of Leadership Wisdom Institute.