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Because our leaders don’t love us – Part 2

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President Muhammadu Buhari deplanes at Kano airport during a recent visit to the state. PHOTO: TOLANI ALI

As I was saying, “failure of leadership”, which Chinua Achebe identified since 1983 as, “the trouble with Nigeria” is still valid. And so the conclusion of the whole rigmarole here is that leadership will continue to fail us monumentally until we are able to identify and elect people who will love us and will be ready to die for us.

There has been one thread that runs through the character traits of most of our leaders: selfishness. That is, the opposite of love. They don’t love us I mean as Christ loved the church and gave his life for it. They don’t love us as Paul, the legend taught children of God to love their wives and be ready to die for them.

I listened to Pastor Ituah Ighodalo the other day while preaching about conceptual misunderstanding of “the power of love” in his Trinity-House (church) Victoria Island.

Most men at the service laughed it off when he (Ighodalo) asked rhetorically about how many men were ready to die in defence of their wives.

Men’s spontaneous reactions and responses that followed interactions during the sermon showed that indeed we men still have conceptual misconception about LOVE, which defines the original relationship between God and man.

And so it is with many people in power who always lack understanding about the love that should exist between them and the people they govern. Just as many parishioners confessed in Oghodalo’s church when the question was put to them, many of us got married to our spouses for various reasons other than love for them.

Many of us got into just partnership called marriage for procreation, sex, companionship, satisfying cultural demands, trappings of spouse’s wealth and all that stuff.

Not for love that can give peace and joy, that is long suffering, bears all things, never fails, never gives up, doesn’t have a swelled head, doesn’t force itself on others, isn’t always me-first, doesn’t fly off the handle, trusts God always, looks for the best, never looks back, cares more for others than for self, according to Paul of Tarsus, a credible authority on this thing called Love.

Paul’s prelude in this regard, is that even if anyone speaks with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but doesn’t love, he is nothing but a creaking of a rusty gate.

According to him, even if you can speak God’s word with power, revealing all the mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if you have faith that says to a mountain, ‘jump’ and it jumps, but you don’t have love, you are nothing.

He rounds off this by noting that no matter what we say, what we believe and what we do we are bankrupt without love. He reiterates that, “love never dies… Love never fails…”

According to Paul’s thesis, inspired speech will be over some day; praying in tongues will end; understanding will reach its limit. We know only a portion of the truth and what we say about God is always incomplete… He says we should go after a life of love as if our life depends on it.

This tells me that what we lack is love and we are congenitally selfish.

And so, when we become managers and leaders we banish love and become more selfish. That is why Ighodalo’s assertion in that message on love that, “the world is troubled simply and squarely by lack of love… our leaders don’t care about others…” is quite instructive.

And so as I was saying, as we continue with intensive search for purposeful and dynamic leadership for our great country that failure of leadership continues to diminish, let’s step aside from social media noises a bit to pray and search for candidates that have been noted for social and executive intelligence nurtured by love for others.

We have been having dealers, not leaders who don’t love us. We have been electing and selecting transactional leaders who love only themselves, their families and cronies they need to keep their loot. They don’t love us. If they love us, they will cry with us, sympathise with us when in pains.

When we grieve, they will empathise with us beyond press releases drafted by media aides and speechwriters. If they truly love us, they will not ask for red carpets and town halls when visiting victims of accidents and herdsmen’s attacks.

If our leaders love us, they will not be taking huge loans they steal fromand still nothing to show. If they love us as good husbands love their wives and ready to die for them, they will not impose multiple, deadly taxes on us, especially when they know that the economy that feeds our incomes is not doing well. They don’t have compassion of lovers.

If they do, theywill not fail to pay salaries of workers and teachers while they organise expensive parties for their children. They don’t love us.

That is why they commission a mere school project in a border of another state where citizens were burying their scores lost to herdsmen’s wickedness to farmers. They hate us. That is why they all fly over all the bad roads in the country we elected them to fix for us.

The other day a story was told of atop police chief who once ordered his son who was already coming to Abuja by road to return to Kano and fly to Abuja because of insecurity along Kaduna-Abuja road.

The very senior police chief loves only his son but hates his countrymen who daily ply the dangerous Kaduna-Abuja road, for instance.

Our scores of leaders have only hearts of stone. That is why they keep more policemen for their protection than the millions of citizens they have sworn to defend.

Because they don’t love us, they warehouse public funds for the next election instead of equipping even primary health centres where people’s common diseases can be treated.

They are all educated and they know the importance of clean water to healthcare and wellness of the people. But how many state capitals can boast of portable water let alone the rural areas of the 36 states and the capital of the federation?

They don’t have any heart of flesh – to love us. That is also why they fail to implement all panels’ reports and white papers on cutting the high cost of governance.

They don’t care. Even when they heard that Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Units that has suspended us, was going to expel us and render our credit worthiness and our relationship with the international finance system worthless, they laughed it off.

After all, they can survive without the local version of Visa and MasterCard.

The local banks can suffer and even collapse. They always laugh at us. It is unfortunate that our leaders don’t have unconditional love for us. They don’t care about our happiness.

Our leaders always forget that selfishness is almost always at the root of all unhappiness and that love is the basis of all happiness.

As I was saying, Love has many powers. Let us begin with the more obvious ones. Love has the power to create happiness. This fact is so common an experience to most people that it is not even necessary to mention it.

And if the happiness it creates is sometimes short-lived, the reason probably is that the love that creates it is still imperfect or unclean. This is the truth that no man can bury.

This is what Reyes, the Filipino scholar I quoted last week has to say on this: “There is a great law of happiness, which, to my mind, should rank in importance with any other great discovery in science. It is the law which says:  No man is capable of happiness who is incapable of loving one other person than himself”.

Those who manage and lead others need to realize that one power of love, which makes it unique, is its power to create goodness, or at least to awaken it.

Reyes confirms that Love is the basic goodness, and if it is true that love alone can awaken love, then it follows that love alone can awaken goodness and what Noam Chomsky calls, “the common good”. This is part of the heart f leadership, to waken the common good.

Besides, those who lead us should note that their hateful attitude has consequences. It is a fact in psychology that a child raised in an atmosphere of hate generally becomes cruel. A cruel man is very often an unloved man who, almost surely, was once an unloved child.

Theoretically, a child raised among wolves would probably grow to howl like a wolf.

Love is the power, which makes a child grow into a human being. It is the humanizing force in the human family. That is why there are so many angry people everywhere you go now in Nigeria.

You can see insanity on all fours because there is no love lost between us and our managers and leaders. Those who aspire to lead should study this claim that love is more basic than goodness.

Reason: We do not say that God is loving because he is good; rather we say God is good because he is full of love. Even a hardened criminal may become good, if he should fall in love; and the love that awakens within him can become his resurrection.

Our leaders must learn this: when we wield the mighty power of love, we become young, beautiful and everlasting again.

If only we can be in love every minute of our lives; if only we can be completely without hate, without anger, without rancour, without malice, without vengeance, without fear, without worry, without envy, without lie, without delusion, without cruelty, without greed, without selfishness, without any negative thought or emotion whatever; then, it is certain, we would have no sickness, no old age, no crisis, no scarcity of foreign exchange, no shortage of fuel, no scarcity of goodness. All told, there will be no insurgency and wickedness of farmers to farmers in the land of our birth.

No doubt, someday, science will be able to show what spirituality has revealed: that LOVE is the most powerful weapon of peace and legacy building for even managers and leaders.

Love, yes Love, which according to sages, has the power to confer wisdom.The word of God declares this when it says that love is the wisdom of God.

That is why it cannot die. It cannot fail. Leaders, managers and husbands must pray for hearts of flesh – to love. Yes, Love, like truth, is one of the most powerful forces on earth.

Remember: our world is in trouble because of absence of Love! That is why our leaders and managers must love us by His grace, lest happiness and goodness will continue to elude us.



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