By Tolulope A. Adegoke
“Value your fellow man greatly. They are the major ‘tools’ and strong forces that can stand by your side anytime any day to relieve you of the stress and denounce the foxes, as they will be the ones to continue your leadership processes and proceed in the future for the benefits of all as a result of your tremendous impact on them today. The assignment of leaders is not to raise mere followers, but leaders beyond the eye-sights, through a consistent, effective, and reflective lifestyle of living ‘what’ you preach; also, never forget to help them with Emotional Intelligence (EI), which is the key factor for leadership inputs and outputs, so that they understand and appreciate the essence of their trials and the certainty of their triumphs as they follow suit without fail.” – Tolulope A. Adegoke
Character is developed by ‘trials’. Testing is the development of ETHICS. Character is built or developed through pressure, temptation (trials), and resolve. The credibility of leadership is character. The force of leadership is character. The trust of leadership is character. The legitimacy of leadership is character. The integrity of leadership is character. The reason why people still celebrate Nelson Mandela and Koffi Annan, among others, is because they were tested and trusted. The reason why Nelson Mandela had so much credibility all over the world is because, while he was alive, he went through a test of years in prison. Because of a conviction he had, he was just like a ‘statue’ with this notion:
I can not bend; I am going to jail just like this;
I believe in what I see. I believe in a dream.
I believe in my convictions, because they are right,
I will not compromise; I will not change!
Nelson Mandela stayed faithful. He went through the tests and trials, and people trusted him. In prison, he was the same. He was severely tortured. He was the same. When he had to cut rocks with a chisel, he was the same. When he came out of prison, he was still the same, and was eventually made the President of South Africa just because he was the same. People could trust him.
Even the late Dr. Myles Monroe once said: ‘People often look at me as if I was born the way I look, but I have been through a lot of things; pressures, scars on my back, tribulations, criticism, attacks, but I decided to believe what I believe! I stayed steady! The world reads my books. I have been invited to over a hundred and fifty-two nations across the world and they wonder: ‘Who is this young man? But I have developed my character through tough times.’
Anybody could begin something. A few people finish it! How many things have you begun? How many things have you started managing? How many have you finished? Where is your character? Are you steady under pressure? Can you be faithful while being disappointed? Can you still believe it when no one is with you? When you have character, you are ready to go alone! Everybody is evil, but not me! Everybody is corrupt, but not me! Everybody is failing, but not me!
You have to work by yourself to develop your character! Your innate gifts are at the mercy of your character! Your character is more important than your gifts, because without character, you can lose your gifts. That is why God gave man CHARACTER (His IMAGE) before He gave him DOMINION (Control):
Genesis 1:27-28 (KJV)
27So God created man in his own image. In the image of God created him; male and female created him.
28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
Most people lose their provisions because they have lost their character. That is why it is important for you to protect yourself with your character (IMAGE), and that is why character (IMAGE) is God’s utmost priority!
Character is necessary for DOMINION (Control); it guarantees tamed-freedom. Most people lose their provisions because they have lost their character. That is why it is important for you to protect yourself with your character (IMAGE), and that is why character (IMAGE) is God’s utmost priority! Character is necessary for DOMINION (Control); it guarantees tamed-freedom.
Character breeds decent followers; it builds them into enviable leaders that can ‘MANAGE’ the natural resources as given to them by God, and then, put them into appropriate and decent use for the good of all mankind. Leadership is simply service to humanity. It is not selfishness, not greed, not abusive… Only character determines and promotes service. Service is followership, help; it is the authentic exhibition of our innate being. Character builds a nation; it builds kingdoms, empires, families, and the world at large. Character tames freedom so as not to abuse absolute power; it promotes sustainable peace and global development that guarantees the handing over of a better world to the next generation. It is a baton that must be passed on and on forever.
Life is a mysterious gift given to man by God Almighty, embedded with so many hidden treasures… its usage is up to man, but only the deeds of men pollute it! Character, therefore, should not be mistaken for REPUTATION. Reputation has become much more important in the world today than character, and that is a tragedy because positions or status have become more important than disposition. As a matter of fact, we need leaders with character, not leaders with personality! Some people have a well-packaged personality but lack character, yet they are the most celebrated in our world today.
Many people are well branded as dignified figures vying for leadership positions. Unfortunately, ignorant people rush up to them, vote them in, then the economy and political structure of their countries crash! Instead of voting for the man with CHARACTER (i.e the right image), which compliments leadership to the position of reliable leadership.
Nigeria and other developing nations must first confront their domestic problems by consolidating their democracy. Democracy is not just the question of holding periodic elections. As important as this is, it means developing a democratic culture underpinned by the rule of law. We must build an egalitarian society with careers open to all talents. It should be possible for any (Nigerian) talent to rise to any position that these talents entitle him or her to. We must face the question of the economy squarely. Sixty (60) years after independence, we still operate a dependent economy based on the export of raw materials and industries of import substitution.
We must reverse the process by building industries, particularly agro-based industries, in which we have a comparative advantage. Nigeria (my country) can support huge textile and garment industries based on local production of cotton. This is also an industry which the current regime of the World Trade Organization favours developing countries. The so-called Tiger economies of South East Asia, China and India, virtually dominate the textile and garment industries of the world. We ought to be able to compete with Israel and the United States in providing the world with properly packaged tropical fruits. We should cut our taste for unnecessary luxury goods and use what we can produce. We need to open our market to investments from the outside world. One hopes present policies in this regard will be determinedly pursued.
The economy is a major factor in earning respect in the international system, and we must do everything to develop our economy. There is no strategy for economic development better than those that have been tried and that have worked in the Western liberal democracies. Any attempt to graft economic development onto an authoritarian regime will fail. Character is a key factor! We need to take a look at the examples of Botswana (a few years ago) and Rwanda, where honest and liberal government and proper management of national resources and patrimony have led to development. Character sees people as their greatest ASSETS and not properties.
Therefore, it is wise to value your fellow man greatly. They are the major ‘tools’ and strong forces that can stand by your side anytime any day to relieve you of the stress and denounce the foxes, as they will be the ones to continue your leadership processes and proceed in the future for the benefit of all as a result of your tremendous impact on them today. The assignment of leaders is not to raise mere followers, but leaders beyond the eye-sights, through a consistent, effective, and reflective lifestyle of living ‘what’ you preach; also, never forget to help them with Emotional Intelligence (EI), which is the key factor for leadership inputs and outputs, so that they understand and appreciate the essence of their trials and the certainty of their triumphs as they follow suit without fail.
Thank you all for reading.
Watch out for the book titled: “The Power of an Empowered Zero” (Awakening The Giant Within You!) by Tolulope A. Adegoke. Foreword by Dr Yomi Garnett (CEO/Chancellor, Royal Biographical Institute, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A., U.K., Abuja, Nigeria.) Edited by Ola Aboderin.