ACCORDING to the Bible, ‘all authority comes from God and those in positions of leadership have been placed there by God’ -Rom. 13v1. Therefore, God permits leadership, whether by election, appointment or force for a purpose. It is not meant to be condemned outright.

In every strata of social life, we have leadership, ordained by God for the common good of people. It is left to a leader to positively influence subordinates and inspire their confidence. A true leader leads and shows the way for others to follow.

In political leadership, people are either appointed or elected. For the President of Nigeria, the constitution (Section 133) says: A candidate for election to the office of President shall be deemed to have been duly elected to such office where being the only candidate nominated for the election, (a) he has a majority of YES votes over NO votes cast at the election; and (b) he has not less than one-quarter of the votes cast at the election in each of at least two-thirds of all the states in the federation and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. (1999 CFRN as amended). Clearly, emergence of such a leader is not easy.

Those who obtain leadership by force may remain in power for many years without fixed tenure. Examples are: Late Colonel Gaddafi of Libya and Late Field Marshal Idi Amin of Uganda. Despots often end up in tragic circumstances.

In religious circles, the election of a Bishop, for instance, is done so that persons who qualify are consecrated and enthroned. No matter how we look at it, God is involved and He would not allow a vacuum to exist.

It is very unfair for persons to criticise leaders maliciously. The aim of those involved in such is to run down government. Their posture usually is that nothing good would come out from a particular leader. Such critics could fare worse if they are given opportunity to function in the positions they malign.

We can, therefore, understand the pains of President Jonathan, recently, when he took on malicious critics of his administration. The President at different times has spoken about things he has tried to fix and efforts at providing dividends of democracy.

The country unfortunately is bedevilled by huge challenges–Boko Haram, robbery, kidnapping, bad roads, corruption, etc. Such issues require leadership with integrity and courage.

In the Bible, St Paul, before Governor Felix, courageously denied falsely charges pressed against him and appealed to Caesar. This action set him free later in Rome. He was encouraged because the Lord appeared to him in a dream saying: ‘Be of good courage’ -Acts 23v11. Impliedly, people in leadership positions, secular or religious, need courage.

If we maliciously criticise leaders, we dampen their enthusiasm to perform. To a larger extent, we could be held responsible when they fail to succeed.

As we celebrate the nation’s 52nd independence anniversary, critics must tread softly. We need good governance, not vilification.

Ven. Ernest Onuoha
Rector, Ibru International Ecumenical Centre,
Delta State.

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