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Servant-leadership-remedy for politics of desperation in Nigeria – Part 7


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

Those who serve their societies are God-sent. The true way to greatness is by offering dedicated service to the poor people of their locality, who voted them into power. That is servant-leadership.

Jesus’ lesson of servant-leadership is to be imbibed by all political, traditional and religious leaders, for a better society and meaningful life. Do we have agents of government who believe in being guided by the servant-leader spirit in relationship with their constituencies? Do they really serve their people, or they use them and dump, till another election time? Politicians who serve are God’s agents of transformation to perform political miracles – ensuring security of lives and property, providing good roads, potable drinking water, electricity, medical facilities, ensuring impartiality and managing resources well for the good of all.

Leadership is service to the people- being available to make way, provide services of various kinds to make life better for the people. It is actually about the people. Different styles of leadership have been identified, but Servant leadership is unique, as the focus is the people and providing to meet their needs. It is to serve others in humility, in a way that is not often identified with those in position of leadership or authority. Nobody who is offering himself/herself for service should show desperation, such as is witnessed in our politics. The reason is that their focus is financial gain or economic emancipation and self-enrichment. Hence they kill, maim and wreak havoc to have their way. Consider the recent elections and the cases of ballot boxes stolen or destroyed with fire. Consider the number of politically-motivated or related deaths. Not less than 39 people were reportedly killed in different parts of our Federation during the last General Elections. These are consequences of desperation.


The foremost Servant-leader of all times, Jesus Christ, our perfect example (John 13:1ff), gave up His right and His life for the people, but desperate politicians usurp the rights and commonwealth of the masses for their benefit and their cronies. Until servant leadership is practised, desperation will continue to characterise our polity. The way forward is demonstrable service, underpinned by genuine and selfless love, considering others first before self; sacrificial love and service; accountability to God and the people, and self- evaluation as a means to enhance performance. Servant leadership is a form of paradigm shift advocated through the ministry of Jesus. It is a shift from the conventional leadership style, and it is the most viable leadership style. The true servant leader must first be a δουλος (slave) of God, and a δἱακονος (servant) of the people for God’s sake.

For emphasis, from the ongoing, the following suggestions are hereby made:

• A way should be found to reduce the financial reward of political office holders at the three levels of Government, so that only those that really want to serve will come forward. Due to the jumbo pay, the money has become the sole reason majority are desperate to enter.

• The religious bodies should recapture the teachings on sacrifice, self-denial, selfless service, suffering for righteousness, contentment and humility, among others, which have disappeared from our popular religion today.

• Training for selfless service should start in the home. Children should not be induced before doing an assignment in the home. They should be taught satisfaction in serving.

• The zoning of the Presidential office should be institutionalised. This will reduce the tension and funds expended on electioneering because all the campaigns will be limited to the zone to produce the President.

• Monetary requirement for buying nomination forms from political parties should be constitutionally reduced, so that a poor man can afford it and contest.

• The National Orientation Agency (N.O.A.) should engage in vigorous campaigns on the dangers of collecting money from aspirants during elections. Such campaigns to reorient Nigerians should be constant, and not only during election periods.

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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