By Constaincia Uruakpa
The Parish Priest of St. Patrick Catholic Church, Alaba, and Dean, Satellite Deanery, Very Rev. Fr. Francis Ike has urged those in leadership positions, to serve selflessly, and practice, the act of sacrifice, so as to propel the dreams and aspirations of their followers. Fr. Ike gave the charge at the leadership training workshop of the Service Team, Catholic Charismatic Renewal of Nigeria (CCRN), Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos, Satellite Deanery, with the theme: “Promoting sound leadership through interaction, held recently at St. Patrick Catholic Church, Ojo-Alaba, Lagos. According to the priest, the greatest problem confronting the Nigeria nation is that of leadership. He said the Church should show great interest in leadership, so that church members, who eventually find themselves in leadership positions either in the church or outside the church, are those that are already trained to the point of understanding the meaning of leadership He said: “As a Church we want to ensure relationship. We take it that those who are going to participate in politics are first citizens. Some could even be Church members. It is also important that the Church shows great interest that those that would eventually find themselves in politics are those that are already religiously trained, to the point of understanding the meaning of leadership, just as Jesus has shown us leadership qualities and roles. On the cost of leadership and expectations of leaders, Fr. Ike sad: “It will begin from homes, to Church, and it will permeate into Society. The Church is within the society. It will be a panacea for better understanding of leadership for future leaders. “Leadership at national level is wobbling and it seems to have no direction. And if they have a direction, the will is not there to propel the dreams and aspirations of those that are being led. This is why this session is important. It is not easy to be a leader. If anyone is called to be a leader, the person should see it as a responsibility and challenge. The person is going to govern people and should learn the act of sacrifice and be able to put it into practice.” He advised leaders to first ask themselves their reason for their going into leadership, querying if they go there to serve people or go to fulfill their inordinate ambition, to take care of their personal or individual gratification. He noted that leadership should be a selfless activity and experience to the people being led. “A leader must be humble, open to criticism, ready to listen to the calls and cries of the people. He should be ready to retrace the wrong decisions taken. If he takes a decision with good intention, but suddenly, realizes it is not working, he would have to change. There is nothing like no retreat. A leader should be able to ask himself if the policies he has taken is working well, and if it is in the interest of the people. If not he should have a change”, he said. On his part, Rev. Fr, Anthony Okeke, Parish Priest, Holy Spirit Catholic Church, Onireke, and Chaplain, CCRN, Satellite Deanery said leadership problem is the bane of the Nigerian nation, adding that if Nigeria had good leaders; things would work out well in the country. He said: “When we have bad leaders, nothing works out well. Bad leaders only think about themselves, their relatives and friends, and would not have the common good of others, so that things work out well in the society. “If those in position have the knowledge of what it means to be a sound leader, they would think of common good of the people, and if we have common good, things will be alright.” Speaking on selfless leadership, Fr. Okeke said: “We have a leader who is Christ. Jesus Christ is the leader we are to imitate. He is a Friend, a leader who gave His life for His followers and He commanded us to look at Him and imitate Him.” He urged the CCRN Service Team to manifest leadership traits in the Church, their place of business, village meeting, as well as in the society they belong. “The Church also encourages them to go into partisan politics, as we can no longer leave it in the hands of people outside to do because we think it is a bad thing. It is not a bad thing because people in politics can help to make things right, as long as they have sound knowledge of what politics is all about”, he said. Also speaking on the occasion, Mr. Cyril Oghaego, Deanery Chairman, CCRN, Satellite Deanery said that leadership is key and vital in building a group or organization, as well as family. He said: “It is very clear that the leadership we have in this country is performing below expectation. When the well being of the citizens is at stake, it is enough to say that the leaders have failed. “I believe that God has blessed this country with a lot of talents and with people capable to do the needful. If the current leaders we have are willing and ready to do away with greed, there will be change that every Nigerian is expecting. If they are willing, they are capable. Leadership is not living for oneself or one’s tribe. They have to be selfless. It is not living for self but living for all the citizens, even strangers.” On training and retraining of leaders, he said: “What we are doing today is a global principle which can be organized anywhere to train leaders to be productive and relevant. We should create a platform for the youth to take off, like preparing them for leadership role. We are to catch them young, to prepare them for future leadership.” He urged parents to take up responsibility in training their children, and not leave everything to the school to do for them. “If you can manage a home very well, you can manage a country. Joseph was prepared for leadership role from home. Those that are in leadership positions today, started from somewhere. Anyone who can manage a home can manage a country”, he said.