LEADERS are key to community and national development because of their position and influence in society. The word key is defined as ‘a position or condition which affords, entrance, control and possession’.

From this we can deduce that leaders position nations for success or failure, create conditions that help citizens to prosper, and could control the entrance of corruption in national institutions. National and community development requires creative and visionary leadership with the ability of improving on already existing projects or creating new ones to positively affect the political, social and economical landscape of the nation. True unselfish leaders are in great demand in Africa in this time of great opportunities.

Political, social and economical development is key to the growth of any progressive nation. Progress entails change in human societies over periods of time, encompassing personalities, events, conflicts and policy making. Every nation has at least three critical dimensions to its political existence or progress; the State, the rule of law and policies that promote democratic accountability.

However, it’s the types of leaders that make a difference in any given institution. Africa has a reputation: wars, poverty, disease and poor health institutions.

Africa is a vast continent with warm and loving people; it’s more than just a tourist destination. Africa is rich in minerals and human resources, and yet still struggles under the weight of a tortured history and political instability.

Africa has a lot of intimidating social, political and economical complexities that require a new breed of creative and innovative thinkers and leaders. Beneath the surface of Africa’s political, social and economical issues, lies an old culture of spiritual powers.

To an African, the spirit world is significant to progress in society. Many African societies have a core belief in the power of spirits that can be conjured up and harnessed by mediums.

This kind of belief somehow explains why most African societies lack the sense of agency for effective political and social transformation. This belief is responsible for the brutal ritual murders experienced in many African societies especially during or just before elections. Leaders must be elected based on merit not some superstition.

It is evil to shed blood or harvest body parts for the purposes of performing rituals to win elections. One must be elected to Parliament because of legislative abilities and not because of spiritual rituals. It’s a shame for a nation to have murderers in Parliament. We need life givers, not life takers in Parliament. I pray that all those who have shed blood and harvested human body parts for the purposes of winning the elections are exposed and may the blood they have shed speak against their political progress.

Leadership is about responsibility and accountability. Responsibility entails the ability and willingness to be answerable for our obligation. Responsibility is the social force that binds one to the courses of action demanded by that force, the people.
Responsibility is also defined as a form of trustworthiness, the trait of being answerable to someone for something or being responsible for one’s conduct. Peter Druker says, “Leadership must be learned and can be learned.”

It is therefore imperative for leaders at every level to desire to study and learn the art of leadership. Farlex’s Dictionary describes art as, “A system of rules serving to facilitate the performance of certain actions; a system of principles and rules for attaining a desired end; a method of doing well some special work.”

Leaders must possess the ability to release creative ideas which have the potential to positively affect the political, social and economical climate of nations. Real leaders will always create positive environments for everyone in their vicinity to flourish. Fake leaders usually stifle the potential of others around them; they hinder the promotion of others, and sabotage other people’s progress.

Warren G Bennis said, “Leadership is the wise use of power. Power is the capacity to translate intention into reality and sustain it.” Great leaders positively use their positions, power and influence to shape the future and shift atmospheres in communities, companies, institutions and nations. Leaders are cultural engineers who possess the art of designing key values in society or political institutions, so as to create conducive environments and climates for progress. We need principled leaders who won’t relinquish what is valuable when faced with pressure. We need true leaders who value the well-being of people above their own personal agendas.

The most outstanding mark of a leader is character, seen in his or her trustworthiness. Character is also seen in commitment to a course, loyalty, dedication, faithfulness and honesty in dealings. We also need leaders who are implementers. Talk is cheap, things must be done. Margaret Thatcher said, “You can’t enjoy the fruits of effort without first making the effort.” As leaders we must not be afraid to make efforts to change certain things, laws or policies that hinder development and progress in our communities and nation. Leaders must be change agencies. Change has a price tag on it but the results are worth it.

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