People want to see leadership lived out in Africa – Rev. Femi B Adeleye

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By: Franklin ASARE-DONKOH

The 5th edition of the Rev. Dr. Theophilus Bamfo Dankwa Mission Fund and Public Lecture has been held at the Accra Ridge Church auditorium.

The theme for this year’s public lecture was: “Leadership, Missions and Nation Building: A Reflection on the Life and Ministry of TB Dankwa.”

Speaking at the gathering, Rev. Femi B Adeleye (Ph.D.) said so much has already been written and published about leadership and much more would be written yet those qualities of leadership have not been played out.

He insisted that what most people want is to see leadership, lived out by those who profess to be leaders in Africa.

“Our concern as Ghanaians or Africans should be less with what has been written or published on leadership than what we see being lived out as leadership. That, and some lessons we can learn from the life and ministry of Uncle TB.

“If there should be a takeaway this evening it is that beyond hearing and reading about leadership, people want to see leadership lived out! Those who have studied definitions of leadership have seen enough gaps between what is written and what is lived out.” Rev. Adeleye reiterated.

“We can say tonight that leadership principles, declarations, and manifestoes are a mile wide but often less than an inch deep in practice. So is the difference between promises by political or business leaders and fulfillment of the same. The more people read, the less they see being lived out, be they promises, or declarations of intent” He added.

Rev. Adeleye went further saying “I speak tonight mostly from the perspective of an African related to matters in our context, where Uncle TB mostly lived and served as a leader., even if his influence went beyond this context.

Related to leadership it has long been established by several documented research efforts, including one of the Harvard Business Review that Africa is richly endowed with abundant mineral resources as well as being “home to many of the world’s biggest opportunities.

Africa is also considered to be “the future economic growth engine of the world.” But the question is, how Do we translate these blessings into shalom or common good for all citizens? (Remember the shalom greeting at the advent of Christ? Peace on Earth, goodwill amongst all men. Not just for some men).”

People want to see leadership lived out in Africa - Rev. Femi B Adeleye

According to Rev. Femi B Adeleye, the black continent has had seasons of lament about inept leadership in the midst of fertile minds and skilled hands, Poverty, Hunger; malnourishment, and destitution in the midst of abundant resources.

Political instability, Genocide, refugee crises, as a result of ethnic and racial conflicts,) leaving us with millions of orphans, refugee crisis, etc. Unprecedented migration and mass exodus of younger generations across what is now often called the Mediterranean cemetery instead of the sea. Summing it up as ‘leadership is a cause; everything else is effect’ he noted.

“Our own Stephen Adei says, Our leaders have failed in most of the areas in which leadership makes the difference; the provision of vision, development of workable strategies, mobilizing our people as one nation, mobilizing national resources for development, managing change internally and responding effectively to outside threats and opportunities, making credible decisions and solving the big problems we face.

Undue expectations and misconceptions of leadership are part of the reason lamentations like these persist in our part of the globe because more expectation has been placed on leaders related to the position, they occupy than to the process of leadership formation in the life of those who occupy such positions.

It is clear that many who occupy certain positions of leadership, especially in the public sphere, are there not on basis of the substance of their character but of the connections or clout they have in the socio-political machinery.

In the absence of the substance of character what has been seen and interpreted as leadership contradicts the very essence of leadership” he explained.

Is it not strange the generic understanding of leadership in various contexts includes: riding in expensive vehicles with blaring sirens, occupying the best mansions in the land, and having the means and capacity to manipulate national wealth and resources for a few at the expense of the common good for all, acquiring the capacity to command the followership of sycophants and societal drifters and globetrotting across diverse lands, etc. Rev. Adeleye retorted.

He, therefore, advised the general public especially the youth not to limit their understanding of leadership to just the political space. Saying not all politicians are necessarily leaders. Far from it. Many are mostly transactional leaders concerned about their current positions as well as the next election.

Rev. Adeleye maintained that while politicians are concerned about the next elections, authentic leaders are concerned about both the present and future next.

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