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Servant-leadership-remedy for politics of desperation in Nigeria – Part 2

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Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh, Primate of all Nigeria (Anglican Communion)


Continued From Last WeekBiblical Examples Of Servant-Leadership
Abraham was very rich in material substances, and even had a private army that led and won a war to deliver the people of Sodom from their enemy captors. After restoring the rescued people to their lands, he rejected the offer of gifts from King of Sodom. Abraham gave the glory to God and rendered selfless service. Can we find leaders who will make ultimate sacrifices for the generality of the oppressed and poor people without expecting or exacting some forms of gratification?

Joseph was hated by his own brothers, who wished him dead. He was sold into slavery by the people he loved, betrayed and sent into prison by the people he served faithfully. He was tremendously gifted by God and lavishly favoured by Pharaoh. Yet, when he came into power, he demonstrated faithfulness in service to God and man. His response to his brothers was not vendetta but forgiveness. If only today’s leaders can learn from Joseph, that there is no revenge as sweet and fulfilling as forgiveness. Furthermore, with Joseph’s God-given wisdom, he gathered food during the years of surplus, and dispensed them to the people during the years of scarcity, without hoarding the food or creating a parallel market for selfish gain. Typical Nigerian political leaders would have hoarded the food, created parallel or black markets such that, in Joseph’s market, food will be surplus but very expensive; while in the Government’s market, food will be cheap but very scarce. The populace will be left to scramble for food, starve and even die, while the authorities remain indifferent for reasons most certainly obvious.

Moses learned about the training required to become a servant leader, when circumstances of his wrong attitude and messianic approach led him to commit murder and consequently flee Egypt. For forty years, he learned great lessons in humility. Even then, in spite of his many charismatic, prophetic and miraculous achievements, the fact that he was disallowed from entering the Promised Land he had laboured so much for, shows Yahweh’s supreme power and discretion over the best of human leaders. ‘God is no respecter of persons’. This is a major lesson to guide human leaders’ behaviour. At best, they are servant leaders and must not arrogate power to themselves. All power belongs to God and He exercises it at His behest.

There were several other Biblical heroes from whom we can learn servant leadership. These include, David the shepherd boy. His choice amongst his seemingly more qualified brothers shows that God searches the heart and not merely human qualities when choosing servant leaders. His defeat of Goliath shows that leaders who go out, function and fight trusting only in God’s name will succeed over their enemies. We learnt same qualities of submission from Jonathan, the friend of David and son of Saul. Jonathan, who normally would have been entitled to the throne of Saul his father, chose to submit his ambition to David becoming King. In other words, servant leadership excludes selfish ambition, but recognises and submits to the ultimate good of the people.

The Most Revd. Dr Nicholas D. Okoh is the Archbishop, Metropolitan and Primate of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) and the Chairman of the Ibru Centre Board of Directors

Daniel turned down material offers of King Belshazzar after he interpreted to him the judgmental vision of the strange handwriting on the walls. Servant leaders do not use their endowments for personal gain, like Balaam did. The oracles of Amos were full of judgment against Israelites leaders and privileged class because they oppressed and exploited the poor and lower class citizens. God expects righteousness and welfare by leaders over the led. He hates injustice, corruption, marginalisation and oppression in all forms.

Jesus Christ was the ultimate Servant Leader. He showed practical example that leaders are to serve the people they lead. This does not detract from the authority and dignity of their position as leaders.The Most Revd. Dr Nicholas D. Okoh is the Archbishop, Metropolitan and Primate of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) and the Chairman of the Ibru Centre Board of Directors


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Nicholas Okoh
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