Sunday, 10th December 2023

Who will cry when our leaders die? 

By Martins Oloja
13 August 2023   |   5:00 am
The word on marble above shows the organic source of the topic. It is from a classic from Robin Sharma, the original ‘Monk Who Sold His Ferrari’. The topic derives from his book, “Who Will Cry When You Die?” It is a time to resort to motivational writing for our leaders...

“When you were born, you cried while the world rejoiced. Live your life in such a way that when you die, the world cries while you rejoice.”― Ancient Sanskrit saying

The word on marble above shows the organic source of the topic. It is from a classic by Robin Sharma, the original ‘Monk Who Sold His Ferrari’. The topic derives from his book, “Who Will Cry When You Die?” It is a time to resort to motivational writing for our leaders who don’t seem to be listening to what oracles and sages in the civil society including the media have been saying and writing. Our leaders appear to have missed the road again. They hate media reports of their listless activities. They don’t like the constitutional role of the media – monitoring governance and holding government to account. They lean only on their understanding through their friends and relations who pose as consultants and experts. They don’t want to respect even the organic law of the land, the constitution, let alone public service rules and regulation. They don’t like to comply with treasury rules as encapsulated in the financial instructions. They drop the appropriation acts as soon as the executive ink on the documents dry up. They don’t study editorials and commentaries as warning signals and writings on the walls anymore. After all, our leaders have invested heavily in the multi-media business. They don’t need the ‘irritation’ of independent media anymore. After all, the political economy of a free press is quite toxic and complicated at this time. Our leaders can afford to recruit even media executives to do even dirty jobs for them. They can pay hack writers to publish what they would like to read. They now pay dubious ‘media entrepreneurs’ to monitor adversarial reports about them. They constantly receive awards from such artful ‘media entrepreneurs’ who have polluted the media space. They have assisted in diminishing the influence and agenda-setting role of the media. Our leaders don’t listen to what the people are saying through the media anymore.

Sadly, they don’t understand the times. We have written and written, spoken and spoken million truths to their power. They pretend to be deaf and dumb. They are even specialising in denying reports they regret giving out. They engage lawyers to write to the editors to remove even authentic stories from digital portals. They don’t want anybody’s voices of reason and wisdom. They don’t want the law to rule them. They are the law. They are the lords. It is rule of lords, not the rule of law. They don’t care about features that after elections, there should be governance. They don’t care about the implications of winning elections and losing the people. They don’t listen to commentators who warn daily about the danger of ignoring civic competence in governance. They celebrate mediocrity as long as the mediocrities and neophytes they recruit are loyal and useful for tomorrow’s political engagements. They employ mercenaries daily to appear on early-hour television shows to deceive the people. They don’t know about the power of the truth they daily bury in the grave. They haven’t read in their classics that you can bury truth in a grave but it wont stay there. Yes, our leaders lean only on their understanding. They can’t understand why Authur Miller once warned leaders to note that, “a good newspaper… is a nation talking to itself”’. They don’t know why a leader of leaders once preferred a newspaper without government to a government without newspaper. They want to kill the independent media.

But we will not give up the fight for a new Nigeria that works for all. That is why I would like to resort to motivational talks to our leaders. May be that will make them listen. Let’s share some tested words of life with them. I would therefore like to encourage our leaders to get some soft power from words of grace from the masters such as Robin Sharma, among others who have been motivating successful business and political leaders who care to listen to what the civil society, including the media is saying to them. I mean leaders who will not bury the truth told to their power in the grave. And so let me introduce some wisdom nuggets from the classics of Sharma, “The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari”. It isn’t a compilation of editorials. It is a compact and useful book our leaders should read too. But they should also ask their political consultants and aides to buy for them the one that inspires today’s topic: ‘Who Will Cry When You Die?’

We are unarguably passing through an area of turbulence and our pilot, the commander-in-chief, is supposed to tell us that there is nothing to fear. But we the citizens in the flight can’t believe the hubris from our pilot that we have nothing to fear now. This is therefore a time to motivate our leaders at all levels that they need to do some introspection on who will genuinely cry in this country if they die today. We may even extend it to them to reflect well on ‘who will cry if their regime, sorry government dies today?’. That is the motivational message here today. It is also a time to stir their conscience about what another author and inspirational writer, David McRaney calls “the public goods game”.

“When you were born, you cried while the world rejoiced. Live your life in such a way that when you die, the world cries while you rejoice.”― Ancient Sanskrit saying

Does the gem of wisdom quoted above strike a chord deep within our leaders? Do they often feel that life is slipping by so fast that they just might never get the chance to live with the meaning, happiness and joy they think they deserve? If so, then this very special book (‘Who Will Cry When You Die?’) by leadership guru Robin S. Sharma, that has transformed the lives of thousands, will be the guiding light that can lead them to a brilliant new way of living and governance.

In this easy-to-read yet wisdom-rich manual, Sharma offers more than 100 simple solutions to life’s most complex problems, ranging from a little-known method for beating stress and worry to a powerful way to enjoy the journey through life while creating a legacy that lasts. When our leaders are finally ready to move beyond a life spent chasing wealth and popularity through media from pages and prime time without life-changing projects, to one of deep significance, this is the ideal manual for them. They need to reflect today on a life of significance, Rick Warren, another purpose-driven author has written extensively about.

Our leaders who keep recycling themselves from commissioner to governor and from governor to senator and from governor to minister should look into the seed of time and ask themselves: Who will cry when you die? If this set of dealers, sorry leaders feels that few people will miss them, it may be a time to make some changes. To give your best and to enrich other people’s lives takes a bit of effort, but it’s worth it. All these never-do- well leaders should aim to find personal fulfillment and live their lives to their full value. They can make an active change by using their time productively and recognising what is most important to the people. They will then realise that the best version of them is one that will surely be missed by others.

In ‘Who Will Cry When You Die?, Sharma offers advice on overcoming the difficulties of life while developing personality and skills.

Our leaders, once again, ask yourself: Who will care about you when you die? Have you ever thought about who will attend your funeral? Who will speak? Who will cry? And who will still be loving you? Asking ourselves questions like these can bring peace and calm to our daily life. These questions help remind us that we are human. We are not robots, and our days do not have to be repetitive.

Similarly, the Sharma’s manual urges us to schedule our daily life tasks. This is what will make our leaders to think more about accountability and servant leadership. We should pay attention to this schedule and identify when we are not spending enough time being human. We must allocate time for our loved ones, family, friends, and nature. We must also allocate time to being alone. Being alone allows us to think about life and the communities we serve. We should do what we love to do. Scheduling, passion, and self-discipline are ideas that consistently arise throughout the self-development manual. Scheduling is an important art that everyone needs to master to become highly effective and successful. Our leaders who daily make mistakes even on simple governance issues need to take the basic lessons seriously. We should make a to-do list to be significant in office and power every day. The real secret to getting things done is to know what things need to be left undone. Our leaders appear disorganised and disoriented every day. That is why we are not making progress. An ancient word of life teaches us that we should let things be done properly and in order. I learned from a Middle-East ancient journal that being organised and orderly, is a national culture that is driving development in the United Arabs Emirates (UAE) and indeed most parts of the oil –producing and prosperous Middle East.

Studying ‘Who Will Cry When You Die? can help leaders live life to the fullest. People dying is a tragedy but often people’s lives are a greater tragedy. This is because they are wasting their time on frivolities on earth. We all want to leave a legacy when we die. We all want people to remember us forever. Let our leaders talk of life’s concept remarkably without losing its very essence. Our leaders should work to show themselves approved by the people they govern. Let’s look at some of our past leaders we cried for when they died. Most southwest political leaders like to don the famous Awolowo cap. But how many of them can be cried for as we continue to do for the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo who died since 1987 at the age of 78? The iconic Awolowo, an uncommon strategic thinker and planner who was once referred to as “the best president Nigeria never had” introduced a free and compulsory basic education policy as fundamental objective and directive principle of state policy in Western Nigeria. He established a world-class regional university as a ‘glocal’ centre of research for tropical agriculture and medicine. Another leader, Sir Ahmadu Bello in the North also established another world-class university, Almadu Bello University in Zaria. In the same competitive federalism spirit, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe established another remarkable University in Nsukka, Enugu state. Inexplicably, a federal military government seized all the three centres of excellence in 1975 without paying compensation to the regions. But then, before we debate their return to the owners someday, let our leaders of today note that when the three leaders, (Awo, Bello and Azikiwe) died, we all cried for them. And so our leaders should ask themselves today: who will cry when they die?

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