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Voice of Emancipation: Transformation Through Yoruba Nation (Pt. 5)

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By Kayode Emola

In chemistry, when elements are added together and form a compound, we can observe that they bond together and start acting like a single material. In some cases, this chemical reaction is reversible and in others, it is not.

We may consider humans in this same manner. Having originated from one source, we have spread around the world and now show variations of features, languages, cultures, and so on. These differences mean that mixing one set of people with another is bound to result in a chemical reaction. This reaction brings forth a new product; some of these new compound people groups begin to behave as one entity. However, this is not always the outcome, especially in the case of Nigeria’s amalgamation.

Our disparate tribes clashed for centuries, yet the British attempted to fuse them together without any consideration as to how the mixture would react. The world has now been awakened to the failure of this experiment and, like many scientific mistakes, the question is now, how do we undo it? If a solution for reversal is found, will each constituent component revert to its original state, or will we see new components form? Your guess is as good as mine.

We all know Newton’s third law of motion: that for any action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Many people use this to describe two objects colliding with each other, although the law itself states that, when two objects interact, they exert equal and opposite forces on each other. It doesn’t state how each object will respond to the force it has experienced. Therefore, it is important to recognise that the two forces are acting on two potentially different objects.

Nigeria, like many other nation-states, was fused together to form one country. Some of these nations have reacted violently thus having to go their separate ways such as in the case of South Sudan/North Sudan, Eritrea/Ethiopia, former Yugoslavia (now Croatia, Slovenia, Macedonia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Others have managed to not get themselves burnt but find a way to extricate themselves like Norway/Sweden, Czech/Slovakia etc.

The Nigeria situation is not dissimilar to all the previously mentioned nations above that have had to reverse their formation. All of those nations split because their cultural differences could not mix together to form a stable element (nation). Some reacted badly and many innocent people died in the process, whilst some reacted maturely and lives were spared. If the elders and elites in Nigeria realises that we have spent 60 years of independence hating ourselves whilst remaining as one nation, then the sooner we de-amalgamate the country, the better it will be for everyone rather than pretending that all will be well if we stick together.

There are many forces pulling Nigeria in different directions, meaning that the country will never reach a steady equilibrium. So often, each indigenous people group is quick to blame its woes on every other tribe apart from their own. The truth is, we are all culpable: from the Yoruba to Igbo, Ibibio, Igala, Hausa, Nupe etc. Every indigenous nation is to blame for where we find ourselves, but pointing the finger of accusation will not solve the problem. Resolution is predicated on diving deep into our past, to see where the foundations became faulty, as it is practiced in Nigeria, so that we can try to remedy it.

In an ideal world, every indigenous nation would sit down together to negotiate how they want to interact in a conglomerate. However, this discussion has not been permitted to take place. Instead, people continue to be pushed to the wall, a situation that will inevitably result in chaos and anarchy if measures are not implemented to avert this.

I am not writing today to argue that withdrawal from Nigeria is the only situation that will favour the Yoruba people. Instead, I would like to acknowledge that even an independent Yoruba nation will be replete with challenges. There is a high risk that the destructive elements of Nigerian culture might be readily transferred to the new Yoruba nation. Thus, we must ask, how do we avoid this?

Life in Nigeria has imbued nearly all its citizens with some degree of corruption. People are frequently willing to offer their opinion on how corruption can be tackled, but with a society that celebrates those who destroy good moral values and normalises of evil, none of these solutions will be able to completely change such people’s orientation.

One way to combat corruption is to create a permanent Ministry of Orientation. This Ministry will be charged with identifying deficiencies in our society, analysing the root causes and proposing strict interventions that will ensure such vices are eliminated from our society.

Currently, the societal celebration of people who have acquired wealth in a questionable manner has led to the widespread belief that defining aspect of a good life is making lots of money, without scrutiny as to whether that is legally or illegally acquired. Resultantly, many government officials steal state resources for their own personal use, and are supported in this by the civil servants. A Ministry of Orientation will deliver messages to the public at large that this is unacceptable and, indeed, reprehensible, thereby resensitising their consciences to what is right and wrong.

We, as citizens, must also recognise that we have responsibilities both to ourselves and to our nation. We must understand that when we give or accept bribes, we become part of the bigger problem. When we shirk our responsibility to turn up for work, or when the market person uses a false weight when selling their produce, we may think we are being smart, but the end result is decay that infects the entire system, undermining and extirpating even the most viable country.

We must also recognise the damage that religion as it is practiced in Nigeria has done to our society. Our people, rather than think critically for themselves, take as absolute truth whatever is declared by the preacher, the government or people in high office. We see people going to mosque on Friday or church on Sunday, still going out to commit atrocious crimes even the same day. We continue this cycle of immorality, yet expect a good nation to result from it.

The road to building a better nation is not merely wishing for it whilst continuing to do what is wrong. We need to be constantly evaluating whether what we are hearing and doing is aligned to the morally correct path.

That is where the Ministry of Orientation will come in. There will always be people who do wrong; but when society as a whole strives to be correct, morally upright and decent, and celebrates these attitudes in its members, the mind of a nation can be changed. Then, and only then, may we have a chance at building a successful nation.

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Opinion

Building Leaders Through Character Management in the 21st Century

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By Tolulope A. Adegoke

“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, guaranteeing the handing over of a better world to the coming generation.” – Tolulope A. Adegoke, AmbP-UN, PhD., FIMC, CMS, CIV, MNIM

This article, by implication of its contents, aims to solve the societal menace that has ravaged, hampered, and tampered with the spinal cords of the majority of leaders in the Third World Countries, which has its roots in what I refer to as Untamed Freedom- the root cause of Character failure in humans, corporates, and nations at large. We all must understand that true leadership penetrates into the core aspect of human relations and endeavors, which helps to nurture, build, and deliver the authentic requirement for true and sustainable leadership, and how it affects the economy and politics of nations and the world at large. It focuses on ‘Character’ as the main and authentic key for leadership, how relevant it could be and why and as well how to harness it to building future leaders locally, nationally, and globally for the benefits of mankind. It also delved into the internal affairs of some developing nations in the world and how they have suffered from ineffective leadership practices through unethical conduct. It also looked into how ‘Ethics’ could be said to be a disturbing aspect of leadership and how it has so much affected the majority of the Third World Countries who are having issues in handling sustainable leadership. It therefore concludes with how a nation like Nigeria could enlarge its coasts by judiciously maximizing its endowments through effective ‘Character’ in individual and joint leadership endeavors, thereby enlightening the readers with the facts that character sees people as great ASSETS and not properties. The researcher adopted Historical and Thematic Analysis in carrying out the research.

I ponder so hard on ‘How do we then build leaders of today? I shall focus on the Power of Character (as vital requirement for leadership in Nation Building)’ with the aim of building capacity through greater enlightenment strategy towards fixing today, and as well handing over a better world to coming generations globally. Do you know why leaders are so weak in many developing countries of the world? The reason is that they lack CHARACTER. Lack of character is what makes bad leadership, and bad leadership is what breeds gross mismanagement and misconducts, while misconducts and mismanagement are what destroy or impede national growth and development. Bad leaders are one thing in the day and another thing at night! They make deals that are shady and then look pretty or handsome on the camera. They rule instead of leading; they grind instead of guiding. The Book of Life (Bible) says, God is the same Yesterday, Today, and Forever! It also reveals that Night and Day are the same to God! This is a clear indication that God has CHARACTER! And He has given unto us the same thing called CHARACTER! If you are going to be what you were born or created or desired to be (future leaders), then, you must develop the first principle God gave to us (MAN) which is CHARACTER! For us to deliver the present and future, and as well fulfill divine intentions (purpose), we need to study God Himself and His manner of operations and creations according to Genesis chapter 1 verses 26 (NKJV): ‘Let us make Man in Our IMAGE after our likeness: and let them have DOMINION over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.’ Nothing is therefore IMPOSSIBLE, because I and you came out of God. He is the most authentic leadership example to be followed; He has made us in His IMAGE and LIKENESS to have DOMINION over the works of His Hands. It should be noted that the first gift given to Man by God is IMAGE. Whatever God gives you first is what you need first.

What is IMAGE? Image simply means CHARACTER. God said let Man have my CHARACTER. The most important thing you need to become what you were born to be (which is a LEADER) is CHARACTER. The number one fitness in leaders today is CHARACTER. It is the foundation of leadership! Everybody was born to be a leader, but, we are not meant to rule over people! Leaders lead by examples, guides by principles, and guard by strategies. Leaders lead in specific areas of gifting or expertise. The word CHARACTER means FIXED, PREDICTABLE, STATUE, SET, STABLE, STEADY, DEPENDABLE, READY, and WORK! These are qualities which are unchanging and dependable like the STATUE. For example, have a good look at a STATUE; what is it doing where you put it or fix it? Whatever inflictive words you say to the ‘statue’, it still stands? That is simply CHARACTER! As a leader that you are wired or desired to be, can we trust you to be the same, even in the dark? Are you the same person when no one is watching? What would you do if none would ever find out? What are those things you secretly do on your mobile phones or laptops or on the internet? Are you the same person all the time? Are you the same person even when given freedom or power? When life rains on you, are you the same person? Are you the same person, no matter what people say to you or about you? That is why Third World Countries are having issues handling true and sustainable leadership! What is commonly present in those regions of the world are RULERS not LEADERS, due to lack of CHARACTER.

Requirements of Character for Sustainable Leadership Do you have CHARACTER? When you change location, are you still the same person? LEADERSHIP demands CHARACTER. A reliable example of Character is PRINCIPLE, because it is Constant, it never changes. When you throw something up, it falls down… it is like that everywhere. Leadership requires CONSISTENCY! This is because the will of God never changes. No matter where you go, gravity is constant. Do you have Character? I want you to keep encouraging yourself to keep on developing CHARACTER. As future leaders, who are empowered to save the future, to impacts our world positively, we must be unchanging (i.e consistent on the positive sides) if truly we are going to develop our powerful leadership capacities.

The Disturbing Aspect of Leadership The major disturbing aspect of leadership which most leaders do not consider to develop is ETHICS. Ethics is as a result of character! The power of unethical behavior affects everyone in the community, society, state, nation, and the world at large. Ethics is personal, but it is never private! A few business or political leaders have no ETHICS; they make some unethical moves that can affect everyone. When you violate character, it is a personal decision, but it is not a private issue. You affect all of us. That is why corruption must never be tolerated anytime, because one corrupt person affects everyone. Many developing nations are still struggling with their economy today because of unethical behaviors by a majority which has fully established CORRUPTION as a practice that can now be overlooked, which have crippled the economy of these nations. Many people consider Nigeria a poor nation in spite of all the natural resources she is endowed with (Precious stones, crude oil, very fertile soil among others), because just a few set of people are unethical which affects the entire population in the country. So many investors are currently scared to invest in some part of the developing nations, because there are just a few set of people who would abuse such an investment which has therefore deprived so many people of the opportunities to be employed or t become job owners, just because a few people are unethical. You need to tell your neighbor ‘Do right for my sake’. If great leaders who have been absorbed by history had decided not to do what is right, what do you think would have happened to us today? A few chose to stand right, do right and make right. One decision could have affected the entire world. This is why it is so important for you to have character for the sake of the millions who will look up to you some day! This is why your gift is critical to your generation, but protecting it is much more important. GREED is a matter of CHARACTER. When a research on the major cause of crisis in the world was made, it was said that some set of people had GREED, and greed became a global phenomenon. Discipline powers character for effective leadership. Character and Ethics are national and global security issues. Living right is a global security issue. When you live right, you are simply affecting a lot of people vice-versa.

The Tests and Trials of Leadership Character is developed by ‘testing and 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, Koffi Annan among others is because he was 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 25 years in prison, because of a conviction he had, he was just like a statue with this notion: I cannot 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 test and trials, and people trusted him. In prison, he was the same, he was beaten mercilessly, he was the same, when he had to cut the rocks with chisel, he was the same, and when he came out of prison he was still the same, and was made the President of South Africa, because he was the same. People could trust him. Even the Dr. Myles Monroe (of blessed memory) 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, criticisms, attacks, but I decided, I believe what I believe! I stay steady! The world reads my books, I have been invited to over a hundred and fifty-two nations across the world and they wondered: who is this young man, but I have developed my character through tough times.’ Anybody could begin something, a few people finish! How many things have you begun, how many things have you started managing, how many of it have you finished? Where is your character? Are you steady under pressure? Can you be faithful under being disappointed? Can you still believe when no one is with you? When you have character, you are ready to go alone! Everybody is evil, not me! Everybody is corrupt, not me! Everybody is failing, not me! You have to work by yourself to develop 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). Most people lose their provisions because they lost their character! That is why it is important for you to protect yourself by your character (IMAGE), and that is why character (IMAGE) is God’s utmost priority! Character is necessary for DOMINION (Control); it guarantees a tamed-freedom. Character breeds decent followers; then, it builds them into enviable leaders that can ‘MANage’ the natural resources as given them by God, and then, put them into appropriate and decent usage 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, family 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 coming generation. It is a baton which 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 pollutes 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, position has become more important than disposition. As a matter of fact, we need leaders with character, not leaders with personality! Some people have 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 crashes! Instead of voting the man with CHARACTER (i.e the right IMAGE), which complements leadership to the position of reliable leadership. This is simply the reason why I chose this topic: ‘HOW DO WE BUILD FUTURE LEADERS?’ Which focuses on CHARACTER in Nation Building in today’s world). Nigeria and other developing nations must first of all confront their domestic problems by consolidating their democracy. Democracy is not just the question of holding periodic elections, Important as this is, it means developing a democratic culture underpinned by the rule of law. We must build an egalitarian society with careers opened to talents. It should be possible for any (Nigerian) talent(s) to rise to any position that these talents entitle him or her. We must face the question of the economy squarely. Sixty-three years after independence, we still operate a dependent economy based on 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 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 favors for developing countries. The so-called Tiger economies of South East Asia, China and India virtually dominate the textile and garments industry 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 tastes 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 would be determinedly pursued. The economy is a major factor to earning respect in the international system and we must do everything to develop our economy. There is no strategy of economic development better than those that have been tried and that have worked in the Western liberal democracies. Any attempt to graft economic development on an authoritarian regime will fail. Character is key factor!

We need to take a look at the example of Botswana (few years ago), when and where honest and liberal government and proper management of national resources and patrimony have led to development. Character sees people as greatest ASSETS and not properties. Value your fellow man greatly, they are the only tool that can stand by your side anytime any day, they shall be the one to continue your leadership processes in the future for the benefits of all as a result of your tremendous impacts on them. The assignment of leaders is not to raise followers, but leaders through greater impacts by living a life of great examples and never to forget to help them with emotional intelligence which is a key factor for leadership inputs and outputs.

Dr. Tolulope A. Adegoke is a Distinguished Ambassador For World Peace (AMBP-UN), and an accredited Effective Leadership Management Trainer. He is also a recognized Fellow, of the Institute of Management Consultants (FIMC), and a Certified Management Specialist (CMS), London Graduate School (LGS).

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Opinion

Tinubu, Beware Of Nyesom Wike

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By Richard Akinnola

Impetuous, garrulous, flippant, compulsively and deliriously narcissistic, that succinctly encapsulates the Nyesom Wike persona. A study of the political trajectory of the FCT Minister shows that he is only loyal to himself and nobody else, irrespective of his feigned allegiance. He may kowtow and genuflect before a political leader, as he is currently doing in Abuja but once he can no longer use you, he goes into a fit of incoherent vituperative verbal assault, denigrating his benefactors.

I watched his recent drama on Channels where he was reeling out his achievements as Governor, he said he built a Cancer Centre and named it after “one man”. He also built a Judicial institute and named it after “one woman”. (Pejoratively referring to Dr Peter Odili and his wife, Justice Mary Odili). His former political leader who he had praised to high heavens is now “one man”. How come his long time political associates suddenly turn enemies? -Rotimi Amaechi, Abiye Sekibo, Celestine Omehia, Austin Opara, Lee Meeba, and now, Dr Peter Odili, among others.

Almost everything that Wike had said in public have been repudiated by him. From the PDP primaries where he vowed to support whosoever emerged as candidate, to his vow not to be minister, to his scathing excoriation of the APC which he likened to a cancerous party, everything Wike supposedly stood for have been repudiated by his fickle mindedness.

Now, he is dancing around PBAT, like an urchin singing nursery rhyme, in his guttural and hoarse voice: “President Tinubu, on your mandate l shall stand”. President Tinubu, Wike is not standing on any mandate. He is standing on his opportunistic position as a minister. Remove him as minister and see if he would still be standing on your mandate. Tomorrow, before the cock crows at night, he would deny you if he is removed as minister and would start lamenting how he supposedly helped you but was used and discarded.

Here was a man who publicly said that Odili saved his political career as Chairman of Obio Akpor local government, leading to his rise in political ascendancy and he used every opportunity to praise and honour Odili and his wife. He followed this up with a public declaration where he was almost swearing thus: “I don’t know the day l would die but l know l would die one day but the truth must be told, any day that l would make Dr Odili and his family cry, may God allow me to go…I would never be alive to make you cry. I will never abandon you and your wife. Where would l have been but for you and your wife? Who am l? From where? My wife would not have been a Magistrate, talk less a Judge but for Mrs Odili. Nobody in this country can make me abandon you and your family. Never. …My wife and l are forever grateful to you for the roles you played in my life”.

This was shown live on CHANNELS. Today, what is Wike doing to the same Odili? Publicly dissing and ridiculing him on same CHANNELS just because Dr Odili refused to queue behind him to decapitate Governor Sim Fubara. As an elder statesman, Odili rather preferred to settle the differences between the duo, which Wike refused. That is Odili’s sin to attract Wike’s “Fatwa”.

He would do same thing to President Tinubu tomorrow if the president does not align with his interest. He doesn’t even understand the dynamics of larger politics to the fact that Odili and PBAT have a long-standing relationship being in the same class of 1999 Governors and that Odili doesn’t even have issues with PBAT. You cannot praise a man to high heavens for eight years in your fit of sycophancy, only to start publicly disrobing him just because he refused to be led by the nose in your ill-conceived political fight with your successor. What that means is that tomorrow, he’ll do same thing to president Tinubu if he doesn’t do his political bidding in Rivers state. That would amount to political self-immolation.

So, if everyone who has assisted you in your political ascendancy are bad, then, something definitely must be wrong with you.

Despite his accomplishments as Governor in terms of project execution which l acknowledge, there is no doubt, Wike has a serious character flaw that only him can cure. But trust me, despite his wealth and “power”, it’s a matter of time, this young man is on his way to political perdition. I pray he doesn’t end that way. Minister Wike, you are an achiever in terms of performance but l pray God grants you wisdom on how to navigate and relate with people who differ from you politically.

Richard Akinnola, a lawyer, activist and public affairs analyst writes from Lagos

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Opinion

Catalyst of Exploits (Pt. 1)

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By Tolulope A. Adegoke

“Look past the exterior, and see that there is so much more within. Then decide to unleash that potential to the fullest” – Lincoln Patz

I have no doubt that you have stepped into a greater realm of inspiration with the discovery of the potentials of the so-called zero. The next question therefore is, how can the possibilities embedded in a perceived nonentity become a reality? The answer, as you may have observed from the various examples that we considered in the previous chapter, is consciousness development. Or simply put, TRAINING.

Training has been rightly described as the process of acquiring the skills needed to succeed in a profession, vocation or venture. It is training or conscious development that turns trash into treasures, just as processing turns raw materials into finished products. Training is an indispensable requirement for bringing out the best in people. Even the most gifted people must go through some form of training to sharpen their innate abilities – how much more those who appear to be deficient!

The interesting truth here is that regardless of a person’s level of natural abilities – whether you consider it zero or zillion – training will always bring about a noticeable transformation in their lives. Take the case of Abraham as an example. Being an exceedingly great man, he had hundreds of servants who had been born in his house by his labourers and domestics. These might have been considered nobodies, having been born by lowly people. Yet, Abraham so trained them that they became valiant soldiers. And they were the ones who accompanied him to wage war against the captors of Lot and his household, and the expedition proved mightily successful (Genesis 14:14).

Two vital truths can be gleaned from the above. One is that you never can tell the true measure of a person’s potential until they have been thoroughly trained. This clearly tallies with our earlier assertion that everyone needs some form of training, whether formally or informally. The second vital truth is that everybody can indeed be trained to thrive.

From Vagabonds to Champions

Here is another proof that there is innate greatness in everyone that can be unlocked through training. 1 Samuel 22:1-3 says, “David therefore departed from there and escaped to the cave of Adullam. So when his brothers and all his father’s house heard it, they went down there to him. And everyone who was in distress, everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was discontented gathered to him. So he became captain over them. And there were about four hundred men with him.”

The first thing to notice here is the deliberate reference to the profile and pedigree of these men who joined themselves to David. I believe that the purpose is to make us see that no one can be rightly written off as a failure or a never-do-well. As subsequent exploits of David would reveal, these average men who enrolled in the military academy of David were soon transformed into mighty men of valour.  2 Samuel 23:8-17 narrates the accomplishments of three of these men:

“These are the names of the mighty men whom David had: Josheb-Basshebeth the Tachmonite, chief among the captains. He was called Adino the Eznite, because he had killed eight hundred men at one time. And after him was Eleazar the son of Dodo, the Ahohite, one of the three mighty men with David when they defied the Philistines who were gathered there for battle, and the men of Israel had retreated. He arose and attacked the Philistines until his hand was weary, and his hand stuck to the sword. The Lord brought about a great victory that day; and the people returned after him only to plunder. And after him was Shammah the son of Agee the Hararite. The Philistines had gathered together into a troop where there was a piece of ground full of lentils. So the people fled from the Philistines. But he stationed himself in the middle of the field, defended it, and killed the Philistines. So the Lord brought about a great victory.”

Isn’t this amazing! See what a bunch of men that people would have described as “frustrated failures” had become! What was the secret? Someone believed in them enough to train them, and they themselves were humble and disciplined enough to submit themselves to the training process. And the result was that they were transformed from being men of no repute, men of no value (more or less human trash, or simply zero) to history-makers!

Self-Application

So, what’s in all of this for you? What has all that we have discussed so far have to do with you? I’ll unravel it for you shortly. But, first, here is an insightful quote from Bishop David Oyedepo, “We go to school to acquire the literacy skills required to train ourselves most effectively in our fields of choice. Schooling is not the same thing as the real training! That is why there are many certificated, uneducated people! They have degrees but cannot deliver, because they are not trained to deliver!”

This is exactly what I wish to point out here. Everyone must take personal responsibility for being the best that they can be. Success is not an accidental occurrence. You cannot be wasting your precious time on irrelevances and expect to amount to much in life. You must wake up to the task of being positively responsible, deliberately reaching out and taking advantage of opportunities to enhance and deploy your skills.

As the example of the men who placed themselves under David’s tutelage shows, you are the one who must make up your mind not to settle for a worthless, defeated or frustrated life. Regardless of what people say or think of you, it is up to you to decide the direction you want your life to go!

As I earlier observed, training is not only meant for the ignorant or the inexperienced. It is an on-going activity that everyone must actively and constantly engage in, as long as we wish to stay afloat and be ahead. In other words, while schooling is periodic, training is for a lifetime!

The Place of Discipline and Diligence

Let’s face it: Training – whether formal or informal – is never an easy process. Even the Bible admits, “Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful…” (Hebrews 12:11). It is in the fallen nature of man to prefer the comfort of self-indulgence to the stress of self-enhancement. This is why many visions are aborted and many destinies are ruined. It is for this reason that discipline plays a crucial role in being a beneficiary of the power of training. It takes plenty of discipline to maintain a training lifestyle so as to emerge a relevant and dominant force in your generation!

It is possible to waste a whole lifetime if you do not understand the place of discipline and responsibility in achieving greatness in life. So, you must settle it in your mind from the outset that you are undoubtedly a Kingdom treasure that cannot afford to be comfortable with a substandard, mediocre or “trashy” life. The possibilities that God has wired into you must be empowered to find expression. You must therefore be ready to pay whatever price it requires. Let me quote Bishop Oyedepo again, “You belong to dignity, royalty, excellence and you have your excellence in Jesus Christ. Therefore, you have the mind of Christ. You have the creative, intellectual capability of the mind of Christ. You are not an ordinary person; you are a peculiar person in the order of existence!”

Closely attached to discipline is diligence. The two must function together to produce the expected result of excellence. Diligence simply means hard work. Interestingly, “hard work” is a term that many in this generation hate to hear. I often hear youths talk about “soft-work” almost everywhere now. They want the easy route to success. Of course, they may get what seems like success but because such is not built on the solid foundation of diligence, it often crumbles within a short time.

Proverbs 22:29 says, “Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men.” Proverbs 12:24 (NKJV) adds that: “The hand of the diligent will rule, but the lazy man will be put to forced labour.” The revelation here is that it is diligence that establishes enthronement. There is no future for an idle man in the Kingdom. Christ Himself demonstrated this when He said: “My Father worketh hitherto, and I work” (John 5:17).

Make no mistake about it – it is work that defines your worth! In other words, it is how much you work on yourself that will determine your ultimate worth. Work is a must for anybody who desires to take the lead. Even with the abundant favour and grace of God upon your life, you still must work because that is the God-ordained pathway to the top. In fact, the grace of God being upon you to guarantee success in all your ventures should spur you to attempt greater ventures than the average person. Paul the Apostle shares his own experience thus: “But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all…” (1 Corinthians 15:10).

Every successful person (empowered zero) is a product of favour from the factory of labour. You can never take out of life more than what you have invested into it. Galatians 6:7 says it accurately, “Be not deceived…whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” 2 Corinthians 9:6 explains it further, “He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.”

It is only hard workers who become great leaders (heroes)! There is nothing called “luck” in determining leadership or empowering a zero! The harder and smarter you work, the greater the level of your success. This is why someone ironically says, “I’m a great believer in luck and I found that the harder I work, the luckier I become.” So, dear friend, if you can concentrate more on empowering your zero, rather than wasting time lamenting, complaining, regretting, envying others, chatting on social media, listening to irrelevant talks or spending so much time watching the television, you will soon find your circumstances changing on their own. You will not even need to shake the Heavens before your blessings unfold!

Personal Experience

Permit me to use myself as a case study here. There was a time I sowed out my television in order to be on television. There was also a time that, for over a year, I did not subscribe to any cable channel, just to be able to meet up with the demand of delivering possibilities beyond the ordinary frequency. Here is Bishop Oyedepo again: “I have invested an average time of 16 hours a day from the time I stepped into ministry to date, no matter how odd the night may be, I still have my night to work. Seest thou a man diligent in his business, he shall stand before kings and not mere men…Our business that did not look like anything – it was trash when we came into ministry; it had no form of comeliness that anyone should look for it. It is what you invest or put into a trash that will bring forth its treasure! You need to show the world out there that you are on a mission (that is to take the lead in your field). But you cannot take the lead without doing the work to make it happen. So, go on and do the work!”

You can always change your level. It all depends on your level of investment. Just by re-aligning your mentality to believe that you do not belong to mediocrity brings you closer to excellence! Just by evaluating your activities and relationships and severing all unprofitable ties will give your life a sharper focus and clearer direction.

Note it again – hard workers fly higher! Nothing is a substitute for hard work. Be ready to go through the incubation process of becoming a hero. Subject yourself to the diligence and discipline that will transform you to a solution-provider to the people of your generation.

Sacrifice: The “Extra” in Extraordinary

Added to your discipline and diligence is the need for sacrifice, or going the extra mile. Essentially, it is not enough for you to be disciplined and diligent – you must also go the extra mile in doing these. Sacrifice is the scar (or scars) that we bear in the process of carrying our crosses towards getting our crowns.

There is no star without a scar! The scar of every star is sacrifice. It is nothing else! It is simply the ticket towards delivering possibilities. Sacrifice is going the extra mile, paying the extra price and taking the extra steps towards delivering your mandates! Your extraordinary inputs will precede your extraordinary impacts. You must go the extra mile in discipline and diligence – and then the star in you will emerge.

So powerful is sacrifice that it can turn a “dummy” into a genius. It can make a so-called misfit become a maestro. There have been cases of people who had great gifts and potentials but found themselves in fields that were different from what they were meant to do in life. Many of these have had to put themselves through the rigours of returning to their natural passions and getting trained to live out their dreams.

See, you cannot have your cake and eat it! You cannot make omelette without breaking eggs! Not even faith is a substitute for sacrifice. Vision is not a substitute for sacrifice! Sacrifice is a covenant requirement of every Kingdom star! Apostle Paul again says, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians1:21). The apostle is simply saying, “I’d rather die than allow anyone despise my glory in Christ”. This is a classic portrayal of what sacrifice entailsBeing crucified with Jesus Christ is sacrifice!

Every star has a story of sacrifice to tell. It is a must for you to rouse yourself from slumber and invest your time in creating the future that you desire! Until you do what others do not do, you will still remain on the same spot as others! You must therefore wake up and tell yourself the bitter truth and design for yourself an enviable destiny. Never let a year end without preparing a schedule of accomplishments for the following year. This will show that you are really on a mission to deliver your world from its aches!

Jesus Christ, the most anointed Achiever, says in Luke12:49-50: “I am come to send fire on the earth…But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished!” That was someone who had a clear picture of His mission and what it would take to accomplish it.  Anyone who desires to have a “global impact” must pay a “global price”. Yes, you cannot accomplish that glorious dream of yours without understanding its true worth and paying the necessary price!

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