Saturday, 3rd December 2022
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Political messiahs and burden of leadership

Leadership is a dichotomy of both blessing and burden. In actual fact, the burden sometimes seems to outweigh the blessing that comes with it.

Sir: Leadership is a dichotomy of both blessing and burden. In actual fact, the burden sometimes seems to outweigh the blessing that comes with it.

Indeed, onlookers and spectators focus mostly on the blessing—the luxury of living that often disillusions people into thinking that power should be pursued for the sake of power alone. As a result, they are led into the cesspool of greed and inordinate ambition. 

A seasoned leader knows that power comes at a price. Power makes the powerful responsible, answerable and accountable to a higher phenomenon and cause. This is the burden it bestows on anyone who decides to feast at its table. Power insists on us to tap on the best of our potential and lives out the highest calling of our professed ideals, all the while spotlighting our vulnerability for others to see. 
 
The burden of power hasn’t really been emphasised in our polity in so far that many still come to power unprepared and oblivion to what it demands from them. Above everything else, this is the primary reason there are so many unqualified, unequipped and unfit elected officials in our local, state and Federal Government positions. Many of these leaders parade themselves as guardian of the masses, liberator of the oppressed as well as messiahs of the minority. They invent around themselves the illusion of competency, capacity and posterity. 

Rather than helping and lifting the people they claim to serve, these leaders enrich their own coffers, steal the future of their own people and sell their name and birthright for the pottage of national wealth. 

Leaders like this put the love for self over devotion to God and country. They will substitute leadership for rulership. 

On the other hand, there are others who grapple with the burden of leadership; who see their position as sacred and sacrosanct to the wellbeing of their people. These leaders are basically not heroes or messiah of any kind. In fact, they are plucked out of the same tree as most of us. They suffer every temptation and trial known to men in power. They are tested in the furnace of diverse challenges and inevitable tide of changes. 

 
Indeed, most people will criticise them, misunderstand them and even crucify them. They will be loved as much as hated. They will be characterised as banal, uninspiring, conservative, nonradical, unprogressive and conventional. Great leaders are never praised while in power. 

Now, we’re at the crossroad again. A season of choosing between fine rhetoric and reality; politics as we know it requires the fine eloquence of heavenly pledges; however, it’s left for we the people to read between the lines of these sweet words and choose wisely based on our present reality. 
 
Cyrus Ademola, a journalist and columnist, wrote from Lagos.