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Leadership And Sacrifice: What Nigerians Expect From Political Leaders

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Leadership and sacrifice, as demonstrated by Jesus Christ through His death on the Cross of Calvary, are virtues that are hard to find in the world. But these are crucial qualities that are urgently needed to make the society a better place for all to thrive and survive. As Nigerian Christians join others all over the world to celebrate Easter today, which incidentally coincides with the election period in the country, it is pertinent to wonder how much of these virtues the new leaders are ready to imbibe to impact positively on the Nigerian society. Are they capable of making the necessary sacrifices to unite the country, heal past wounds and thus foster peace? Will they provide exemplary leadership that craves only the welfare and wellbeing of the people? How much of these qualities is required to move the country forward? Some clerics that spoke to CHRIS IREKAMBA on the issue define what leadership demands.

‘Leadership Entails Making
Sacrifice For The Good Of Others’

(Most Rev. (Prof.) Adebayo Dada Akinde, Archbishop of the Ecclesiastical Province of Lagos, Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) and Bishop, Lagos Mainland)

Nigerians should thank God for allowing the elections to hold at this Lenten season, which calls for sober reflection on our lifestyle, values, faith and relationship with God. We need to remind ourselves that Jesus Christ the God-man, Who is equal to God but humbled Himself, came down to the world in human form and was subjected to all the vicissitudes of life including being tempted by the devil.

The good news and example that Jesus Christ set for us is that He was tempted for 40 days and 40 nights yet He didn’t sin. He thereby set for us examples of self-denial and mortification of the flesh, which can corrupt the believer’s life and tarnish his relationship with God. It all culminated in Good Friday, when Jesus Christ, the sinless God-man suffered the vilest of human wickedness and evil. He was falsely accused, falsely condemned to death and brutally nailed on the Cross.

Through Christ’s death and the shedding of His blood, He made the greatest sacrifice. This to me, is an example for every believer to emulate so that wherever the Lord puts you, you must be disposed towards making sacrifices for the good of others.

Our political leaders and players in particular need to learn from the sacrificial lifestyle of Jesus, our Saviour and Redeemer. In other words, when Christians find themselves in politics or God raises them to a position of authority, they must be prepared to make sacrifice at every level. They should be ready to make sacrifice for the generality of Nigerians. A situation where a greater percentage of the nation’s wealth is squandered in an attempt to service the presidency is wrong. It is equally wrong for members of the National Assembly to squander our God-given resources on themselves because we are always hearing of billions of naira being spent by them. It is ridiculous that in a country like Nigeria, where many are wallowing in abject poverty, our politicians are busy spending billions of naira on themselves. It is unchristian, immoral, every thing evil and they must be told, especially those who have just been elected. They are not to go to their offices to gratify themselves. Rather, they should serve the interests of the common man.

Thank God for the results of these elections. Nigerian politicians need to know that the people have the power to kick out any of them that fails to meet their yearnings.

Politicians and religious leaders should regard leadership at any level as an opportunity to serve and not to satisfy their excesses. May the good Lord wake our people to the appreciation of the noble example of Jesus Christ, which He demonstrated by giving His life for the sins of the world.

‘This Is Not The Time For Politicians To Work Towards Personal Gains’
(Archbishop Joseph Ojo, Presiding Bishop, Calvary Kingdom Church, CKC, Lagos-Badagry Expressway)

EASTER is a time of sacrifice as typified by the sacrifice of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ on the Cross of Calvary.

In fact, the Lord Jesus said: “Greater Love has no man than this that a man should lay down his life for his friends”- (John 15:13). This to me is the greatest sacrifice.

At this Easter period, which also coincides with the election period in our country, I want to urge our political leaders, especially those that have just been elected into different offices, to be willing to make sacrifices for those they serve.

Political and religious leaders are supposed to draw inspiration from the example of the Master. Nothing is too much to sacrifice — position, wealth, title, and fame among others. So, this should be a time of making sacrifices for the benefit of the nation; a time to look forward to doing God’s will, especially as our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ paid the supreme price by fulfilling His Father’s will.

I believe this is not and should not be a time of working towards personal gains. In the garden, Jesus prayed; “Father, if it is your will, let this cup (Death) pass by me. Nevertheless not what I will but thy will be done”. I believe that Easter is a time that leaders should put God’s will first in all we do and say. May the Lord’s will be done in Nigeria and may people know His will when they see it.

Thank God for the results of these elections. Nigerian politicians need to know that the people have the power to kick out any of them that fails to meet their yearnings. Politicians and religious leaders should regard leadership at any level as an opportunity to serve and not to satisfy their excesses. May the good Lord wake our people to the appreciation of the noble example of Jesus Christ, which He demonstrated by giving His life for the sins of the world.

‘Leadership Requires Living By Example In Order To Make The System Work’
(Rev. (Dr.) Samson Olasupo Ayokunle,

President, Nigerian Baptist Convention / Vice President Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN)

NO sacrifice is too much for all those in leadership to make in order to make the system work or make the society and church better. Jesus is our perfect example of sacrificial leadershi‎p. He laid down His life and thus showed that we should also lay down our lives for others.

There is a great challenge, especially for our newly elected leaders in cutting the cost of taking care of themselves. Exorbitant salary for political office holders must be cut to increase the fortunes of those earning very low wages so they can afford basic life necessities.

In sacrifice, church leaders and political office holders have to live by example. Leadership is not about what you are there to enjoy, but about the service you are there to provide for the organisation or the people in general.

‘Leadership Is About Responsibility
To God And Fellow Human Beings’

(His Grace, Most Rev. Alfred Adewale Martins, Catholic Archbishop of Lagos)

I THINK what Christ is telling us is that what gives value to our lives is the measure of sacrifice we can make for the welfare of others.

In other words, it is the much that we can offer for the good of others that makes our own lives worthwhile and I think that is what Christ has demonstrated in very many ways. Therefore, a follower of Christ must obviously recognise that giving for the good of others is the ultimate not only in this life, but also in the world to come. A priest as a minister is there because Christ has called him to be a priest and therefore, he is responsible to God and His people. As such, he cannot but act in accordance with the direction that He gives.

So, offering his life, his energy and talents for the good of God’s people, I believe, is the major thing that is expected of any priest. Taking other people for granted or using them for personal advantage is certainly contrary to the Spirit of Christ, just as exploiting the goodwill of others is not the will of Christ.

Politically, it is obviously an interesting time in the sense that God has given Nigeria another opportunity to rise and be what it is destined to be. We are having another set of people coming to lead us at the national level, which is significant in that Nigeria has great expectations and high hopes in those who will be occupying positions of leadership. We are hoping strongly that they will look beyond their personal and party interests to consider the common goods, particularly with regard to appointments and their policies. There is also the need for them to effectively manage available resources and ensure they deploy them to cut across every aspect of the economy. That will ensure that the nation develops and grows to be what God wants it to be.

‘Religious Leaders Need To Run Away From Sin And Politicians Should
Ensure That People Are Happy’

(Pastor Johnson Funso Odesola, Member, Governing Council of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG)/Special Assistant to the General Overseer on Admin./Personnel)

CHRIST has shown us the example by going to the Cross and I think everyone wanting to emulate Him as a religious or political leader should also make total sacrifice. Anyone not capable of this should at least do something very close to it.

Jesus Christ didn’t hold back anything; He gave everything. He could have decided to keep His life, or what He had but because of us, He came and died on the Cross so that other people could get the benefit.

Indeed, it’s a lesson for every citizen of the world that we all should make sacrifices so that in fulfilling our destinies, other people are also profiting. This is another way of leaving a legacy. So, the politicians need to know that for them to fulfill their purpose, they need to make total sacrifice, but if they cannot achieve this, then they should do something close to it. This to me is the great lesson of Easter.

From what I know about leadership, no one is qualified to be a leader without the element of sacrifice. In leadership, we have self-serving leaders and servant leaders. The latter believe in making sacrifices through service, while the former focus on themselves, spending time in protecting themselves and their positions. And this is why our nation is engulfed in the crises we are currently experiencing— no infrastructure is working, most of our youths are unemployed, the roads are bad, power supply is nearly zero

So, those that have just been elected into political offices should know that they are not going there to be masters, but rather to make sacrifices so that other people can benefit. If they are not prepared for this, then they shouldn’t approach the office because it is exclusively for sacrifice.

In the same vein, spiritually gifted religious leaders need to make sacrifices of fasting and prayer or deny themselves of certain things for the Lord to grant their requests. They need to run away from sin. Nigerian political leaders should go to office with the intention of serving, and not for what they can gain. It is what will benefit the majority of people that should be uppermost in their mind and one of the required sacrifices is for them to be prudent in the way they manage the resources, to be prudent even with the power they have been given. They should ensure that the people they are serving are getting the benefit of their service.

‘Leadership Is Not To Oppress People’

(Isaac Adeyemi, Presiding Pastor Embrace International Assembly)
LEADERSHIP is about service. Jesus taught that he that must lead must be the servant. However, the reverse is the case in many instances today. A lot of leaders in today’s society, both temporal and spiritual love to be worshipped. Their perception of leadership is to be oppressive, self-assertive and coercive.

The question of “how much sacrifice should leaders make in their community” is actually an all time issue. Should there even be people in leadership positions, who are not sacrificial? From what I know about leadership, no one is qualified to be a leader without the element of sacrifice.

In leadership, we have self-serving leaders and servant leaders. The latter believe in making sacrifices through service, while the former focus on themselves, spending time in protecting themselves and their positions. I think this type of people is the ones we have majorly in leadership in our society today. And this is why our nation is engulfed in the crises we are currently experiencing— no infrastructure is working, most of our youths are unemployed, the roads are bad, power supply is nearly zero. While the society is looking up to the Church, even Church leaders are fast forgetting their source and embracing world’s standard.

Jesus gave us an invaluable example of leadership when He, the King of kings, stooped down to wash His disciples’ feet and at the end of that exercise, He told them that He was leaving that for them as an example.

What example is the Church leaving for our society in leadership? My counsel for those in authority is that they should consider others first and see themselves as men called to serve the interest of the masses at large. If we do this, our country shall become prosperous.

Religious leaders need to make sacrifices and run away from sin. Political leaders should go to office with the intention of serving, and not for what they can gain. It is what will benefit the majority of people that should be uppermost in their mind and one of the required sacrifices is for them to be prudent in the way they manage the resources, to be prudent even with the power they have been given

Let me close with this leadership quote of Jesus Christ “But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” (‭Matthew‬ ‭20‬: ‭25-28‬ NKJV)


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