Our version of events
We wish for leaders without fault, without blemish and who do not make any mistakes. We wish for leaders with seamless private and public lives; who have impeccable records, are above reproach, infallible, and given to perfect conduct at all times.We wish for leaders strong, viable, without any signs of weakness or timidity and who possess the ability to make the right decisions without fail.
It is the innocence of the young to believe in absolutes; especially absolute right and wrong. It is the glory of the old to teach that it is a thing of pride to want to come to a point where you never make any mistakes. It is the foolishness of the wise not to teach that evil can spring from the desire to do good.There is nothing wrong with a leader who makes mistakes, but there is everything wrong with a leader who does not. For you see, a perfect leader is a dictator in disguise.
It has been said that in leadership, complete confidence is the most suspect quality in any kind of leader.While one is expected to lead from a position of strength, there should always be room for doubt. One must therefore act and think carefully with intelligence and not with passion. Every man in his life time is expected to make many mistakes. The trick is not to make the mistake that would destroy you and the people who have reposed their trust in you.
All through the thread of history we find men who have held positions of power and influence in every sphere of life. Great, we may call them. But remember, greatness has worn many faces: sometimes benign, sometimes ferocious, and sometimes evil.The public has autopic sense of right and wrong and our country is smothered by too many virtuous people who do not appreciate the delicate nuances of life. Who do not understand that sometimes truth could be dangerous and lies could be healing. The fastidiousness with which we harp on truth and total honesty makes any leader even more prone to mistakes and quicker to hide them.
We are often fooled as a people. We are lulled into a false sense of safety by the “man in a suit” who has some appellation before or after his name which make us trust him intrinsically, without checking as to substance or character. We jettison those who have made mistakes, who may have committed some seemingly unforgivable sin, or have some skeletons we know about, without any thought as to the excellent leadership qualities they possess. We forget that we all have sinned only we sin differently.
Flaws are a necessary vice in any man; more so to him who has a call to serve humanity.A flaw is not and should not be a sinful indulgence, though. It is a necessary limiting force that reminds you of your mereness whenever you wish to take pride in your feats as a leader. It is there, lest you become an Iscariot in office and pitch yourself against your Creator.
There are many profane people in government. Men who have sold their birthrights for a morsel to be able to impress others, buy exotic cars, travel, throw lavish parties, walk around with aides and be referred to His/Her Excellency or Special this or that. These are not leaders. They are charlatans in office and shall be like chaff which the wind shall blow away.
The holder of an office could mean great danger to the political process. Many people are hungry for power. They will do anything to acquire and possess it. These are the dangerous ones because they do not learn what is most important in acquiring power,which is how to restrain from its use.
Men have made God the ultimate terrorist. In His name have the most hateful acts being committed in history. There just seems to be many different versions of this God going around. There are many splinters from an individual god and one is not sure whose version of events to believe. But the most dangerous god remains the narcissist and charismatic man, whose gifts are used to convert people to a purpose which are selfish, self-serving and injurious to mankind.
The media has this great orchestra called the public and it conducts the minds of its viewers with what is reported. The media directs the thoughts of the people by what they deftly leave in or out of the news. It is a puppeteering business. They know what instruments to play that would arouse the specific passion desired.
We have a morbid desire for bad news and this has been fanned incessantly over time. History is filled with men who have done great good things and great bad things. But we still managed to laud those who have done commendably towards humanity less than the other part. These days, to be famous, you have to do something outrageously against moral ethos or the law of nature. Something that would shock the world into noticing. News of bombings and killings has gradually become the norm. We have become desensitised to news of people being blown to bits and kidnapped and we just shrug and mutter:
“God help us” under our breath and carry on with our lives. It has become just another item in the news. Now the perpetrators are becoming more ingenious in their attacks because attention seemed to have waned on their previous modus operandi. We now have people being burnt alive in cages, unprovoked shootings, axing and a truck running into a holidaying crowd. Have we thought of what would happen when this becomes the norm and more gruesome acts are considered to sustain our attention?
What would be the fate of the world if all news stations decided to report more positive news? There is so much evil in the world but there is also a lot of good. We do not have to celebrate the bad.
The moral authority of Nigeria and indeed the world is at stake. We get a lot of advice from stakeholders. This advice should be valued even when it is wrong. This is wisdom.
We all have a responsibility. A higher collective agenda that still meets our individual needs. We cannot wipe out crime, we cannot wipe out poverty and we cannot wipe out lack. Those are mere political by-lines and propaganda which make good sound bite during campaigns. Heroes are also sinners, bad decisions come from good intentions and man would always have a god complex. What we can all do is help mankind continue to exist.
• Adeluwoye writes from Lagos, can be reached via abimbola.adeluwoye.gmail.com
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