Recently Prof Yemi Osinbajo made a striking statement about leadership which calls for deep thinking when he said ‘Any leader who comes to office to steal money is mad’. While this may be an indictment on the part of leaders, there is also a dimension of evil which emanates from followership. Africans too have a very wrong perception about the concept of leadership.
Africa has a reputation of producing some of the worst quality of leaders. Here in Nigeria, we allow people to get into the position, they mess up and then we all complain. We have a structure of leadership in our part of the world where being a leader makes you superior to the people you are leading and most of the resources are used to sustain you.
Leadership in Africa is tied to occupying a position so when you refer to our leaders in Nigeria, everybody’s mind goes to the people in government. The discussion worldwide has moved from leaders to leadership because leadership happens at all levels. Secondly, our concept of leadership in our part of the world makes a leader superior to the people he leads, which defeats the essence of leadership.
Meanwhile Worldwide, leadership has been reduced to one word: influence the ability to influence one or more people anywhere you go. Once you bring the definition down to influence, then the scales fall off our eyes.
The essence of leadership is not bossing people; the essence of leadership is service. It is meeting needs and solving people’s problems. So our objective at the conference of this year is to help people realise that we are not as helpless or as powerless as we think we are. We all have capacity to influence.
To address some of these issues, our organization has prioritised leadership capacity building. We started out about 14 years with a leadership Development school in Lagos and followed this up with a national albeit international annual leadership conference tagged ‘ Excellent in leadership conference which began 9 years ago. A dimension we have added is to brand this to attract right visibility.
The essence of this year’s conference is to create a platform where we bring people who are accomplished in different fields will come to inspire our emerging leaders. The backbone of every brand is in its story, the selected speakers will then be coming to share their stories. At the end a model will be presented to the accomplished and younger generations to learn from.
Some of the Speakers include Bill Hybels, the convener of the Global Leadership Summitsis also the Chicago-based pastor whose church was once the largest in the United State. Other speakers include Folorunsho Alakija, Africa’s richest woman; Julian Kyula, a pastor and a businessman in Kenya; Mo Abudu; Bimbo Olashore; and Chude Jideonwo. More Importantly, I will be speaking alongside Nike Adeyemi, the President of Real Woman International. It is hoped that this conference is going to be an opportunity for people who want to commit to be leaders or commit to serve this nation emerge or be energized.
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#Sam Adeyemi is an International Leadership Coach, Pastor and Conference Speaker.