Leaders need encouragement, support, prayers and advice from time to time from those they are leading. The lucky ones have people who help them in their programmes and policies to touch the lives of those they have come to serve. Although the number of those that are true and genuine may be negligibly few. A greater number close to the corridors of power are gold diggers and opportunists. They usually do not hide their identity no matter how they pretend for their mission is usually for their personal enrichment as long as they remain close and continue to speak what a gullible leader may wish to hear at that point in time.

In the Old Testament we saw some kings surrounded by false prophets and they constantly proclaimed peace to the rulers even when they knew that all were not well (I Kings 22:12, Ezk. 13:10). It is condemnable anytime a leader constantly leans on charlatans rather than listening to God and his conscience. Check out if such a ruler fails, such charlatan that surrounded him will all disappear and possibly wait for another ruler and may quickly re-align for such is their stock in trade.

How do they dig deep into leaders?

These charlatans who have no business in governance often turn themselves into praise singers. They claim to know much about government policies and programmes and sometimes go all out to buy newspaper columns for advertorials; they can indulge in jingles in the television and the radio houses. They suddenly become champions and mouth policies of those in governance. Trust them with such shameful and condemnable maneuvers; they hope to reap quickly particularly if they get noticed. Yes, they may be rewarded by juicy contracts and such other petty jobs to help cover their unsolicited advertorials and jingles. But the truth remains, they receive so much for doing so less.

In a country such as ours, those in leadership position need to be careful and discerning. No one no matter how he or she is loved remains in power for ever. There must be a terminal date. And when such do happen, one who use to be in power is on his own.

Praise singing has been a thorn in governance and may not likely come to an end. Some people now view it as a surest way to stardom or a shortcut to economic emancipation. The lettered does it, the so called rich people also engage in it being insatiable with wealth; the poor also anchors on it to break loose from shackle of poverty.

But we have a lesson seriously to learn from the bible. In I Sam. 18V7 it says:

“As they danced, they sang: Saul

Has slain thousands, and David

His tens of thousands”.

The women of Israel knew the military exploits of King Saul over their enemies. They were impressed with his victories that gave Israel a pride of place among their neighbours. The women also adding to the military exploits of King Saul had a good memory of the most outstanding victory of David over Goliath who desecrated the name of God of Israel. David though young and inexperienced was able to overcome the more militarily experienced Goliath for he came against him in the name of the Lord. It was not really that David killed Goliath but that the Philistines were killed in their numbers. So, the women with their tambourine and cymbals had to indulge in a praise singing that was most appropriate and suitable for people that really performed in their exalted positions. Conquest at that time was not an easy one and so when it was recorded people not only took judicial notice but came all out to sing and dance about it. Really this was to assure Saul and David that the people enjoyed their exploits, performance and wish they continue for the good of Israelite nation.

If a leader is genuinely performing, sometimes spontaneously certain things could be said: “Carry go”, “na you we know”, “you have our mandate”, etc.

This for me may be stronger than self seeking advertorials especially when we know that one does not deserve such. The people are not blind, they also see.

It is good we sound a cautious note to civil and religious leaders. Examine those around you and try to find out how genuine they are. Some are there to help, others may be there to see what they can get out of you. But you have a reason for occupying the post you are occupying. How far have you touched lives? How far have you carried your programmes and policies? If you step out of office, how many do you think will still be in touch with you?

Remember, someone must surely take over from you as Christ tarries; this is the time to be true to your God and your conscience.

People will praise you in and out of government if you do your best. Your work will stand the test of time if truly they were geared towards touching lives. In short your work will outline you. I believe the quotation that says: “act well your part there the honour lies”.

Be careful of those who sing your praise, for they may turn around to spoil you and your work when you are gone. Trust if they are given money, they can change their music. Serve God, serve humanity to the best of your ability, be wary of charlatans, praise singers, they may do more harm than good.

Ven. Ernest Onuoha

Rector, Ibru International Ecumenical Centre,

Agbarha-Otor, Delta State.

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