On Xenophobic Attacks (2)
An Appeal For Responsible Leadership
“Leadership is responsibility, not power.” Robert L. Joss
“Leadership is influence.” John C. Maxwell
I sincerely did not realize how powerful traditional rulers were until recently: the tension caused by the speech of the Oba of Lagos just before the gubernatorial elections in Nigeria, and then, the Xenophobia attacks in South Africa incited by King Goodwill Zwelithini. Well, my message is not for traditional rulers only, but for all leaders – including political leaders, spiritual leaders, community leaders, student union leaders, labour union leaders, teachers, parents, media personalities and organizations, celebrities, etc.
Human beings, including the most intelligent ones, are like sheep. Yes, there are a few exceptions, and of course we are much better, but generally speaking, a lot of us are like sheep whose behaviour is to “follow the leader”. That’s why I agree with John Maxwell that leadership is influence. Majority of people are under the influence of their leaders and they will do whatever they are told to do, willingly or reluctantly, good or bad. Adolf Hitler is an example: “Under Hitler’s leadership, the Nazi regime was responsible for the genocide of at least 5.5 million Jews and millions of other victims whom he and his followers deemed sub-humans and socially undesirable. Hitler and the Nazi regime were also responsible for the killing of an estimated 19.3 million civilians and prisoners of war. In addition, 29 million soldiers and civilians died as a result of military action in the European Theatre of World War II”. That’s how powerful leadership can be. People may be inclined to do certain things, and may not until their leader says so.
That’s why leaders must be responsible!
Leaders at all levels must be responsible. Understand the purposes of leadership: use leadership for meaningful causes, use leadership to inspire people to do great and worthy deeds, use leadership to nurture the seeds of greatness in people, use leadership to improve people’s lives and welfare, use leadership to protect the weak, use leadership to ensure justice, fairness and equity for all, use leadership to guide people in the paths of righteousness. The Bible is full of warnings for leaders against leading the sheep astray. It behoves him who has been entrusted with leadership to use it well. Stop speaking and acting carelessly, understand the impact your actions and words have on the lives of people, don’t let power corrupt you, be sober and always think well before you speak or do anything!
I join the rest of the world in condemning the attacks on innocent people in South Africa, and send my condolences to friends and families of those who lost their lives and property, and are traumatized.
God bless you.
April 22, 2015
Chinaemerem Joshua Ibezim
Author, Spirit & Life Devotional
Pastor, Able Ministers