CRITICAL LEADERSHIP LESSONS – GHANA’S FUNDAMENTAL PROBLEMS REVEALED IN A 2-MINUTE MOMENT: I have watched this video clip (below-attached) several times now, and I believe there are deep, serious, and revealing lessons in this clip for everyone of us – especially Ghanaians and Africans – when we consider issues of:
1. FLAWED OR FAILED LEADERSHIP
2. FOOLED AND FAN-FOOL FOLLOWERSHIP
3. GENDER DIMENSIONS, DIFFERENCES, AND DEMEANOUR
4. GROUP WICKEDNESS AGAINST THE GOOD/RIGHT CITIZENS
5. LACK OF ACCOUNTABILITY, RESPONSIBILITY, AND INTEGRITY
6. URGENT NEED FOR CITIZENS AND NOT SPECTATORS
7. ONLY THE BEST WILL DO FOR GHANA
SUMMARY – for the sake of my non-Ghanaian friends who have not followed this revealing story: The gentleman holding the microphone in this video clip is Ekow Asmah, a member of the Ghanaian Press Corp. Remember Ghana Football has been in some turmoil and embroiled in scandal and controversy for several months now. Mind you, football is a passion that’s probably second to none in this nation.
Seated on the podium are the four members of Ghana’s caretaker football governing body, known as the Normalisation Committee – two men and two women: from right, Mrs. Naa Odofoley Nortey, a lawyer; Dr Kofi Amoah as President; Mrs Lucy Quist, former chief executive of the Airtel Ghana as Vice-President; and Lawyer Kofi Dua Adonteng, a former board member of Asante Kotoko football club. These four personalities are tasked with cleaning, structuring, and restoring the image/standard of Ghana football following recent revelations of bribery, corruption, and criminality in the former leadership of the Ghana Football Association, GFA, where the compromised and tainted Kwesi Nyantakyi presided over affairs.
IN THIS CLIP: Mr Ekow Asmah, acting as a CITIZEN and not as a spectator, is firmly, surely, and graciously taking on Mr Dua Adonteng for arriving more than an hour late at the Committee’s first major encounter with the media. On a previous occasion, media personnel waited in the sun for more than two hours to engage with this Committee.
Mr Dua Adonteng is furious at being questioned about his lateness. “You don’t know what you are talking about…,” he exclaimed. “I am not interested in this stupidity,” totally red with anger and fury. Mind you, lateness to public events is a deeply worrying and widespread behavior exhibited by many public office holders in Ghana.
HERE ARE THE MAIN TAKEAWAYS – REVEALING WHY OUR NATION IS NOT ADVANCING AS SHE SHOULD:
1. BE A SERVANT OF THE PEOPLE: Mr Dua Adonteng – and all public servants in Ghana – need to know always that they are servants of the people and not the other way around. You can be the richest Ghanaian, the brightest professional, or the most powerful in whatever way but once you’ve accepted a public service role, your titles, wealth, and power do not mean anything – you are a servant of the people, period!. You do not lord it over the people.
2. AVOID THE ARROGANCE OF AUTHORITY AND POWER: In the same vein, every person in a position of authority and power needs to eschew the type of arrogance or any perception of pride and disrespect displayed by Mr Dua Adonteng.
3. A LEADER CANNOT AFFORD TO DISPLAY PUBLIC ANGER: No leader can afford to express anger in public, no matter what, except in the very rare cases where a life is (or lives are) urgently at stake. My Ewe people say “the elder, the chief or the leader cannot afford to squeeze their face … rather they must squeeze their buttocks.” … Of course, no one will ever see an “angry” or squeezed/frowning buttocks – unless the Holy Spirit reveals it to them.
4. LET’S BE FAIR: Let’s suppose for the sake of argument that Mr Dua Adonteng has a truly legitimate reason for being late – something not communicated to the waiting pressmen and women – he should not have expressed such fury and anger at the legitimate question of the journalist. (He should go on YouTube and see (or learn from) how President Barack Obama handled some of the most odious heckling a US politician has been subjected to.)
5. GENDER INTELLIGENCE AND LEADERSHIP: The two women leaders on the platform showed reserve – and true emotional intelligence and leadership – by not saying anything to make the situation worse. Sometimes, it is best to just stay silent and calm as a leader. In fact, the body language speaks volumes. They looked quite embarrassed, I think. Just imagine the misogyny that would have to play if the anger shown by this man had been shown by one of these women instead.
6. THE PRESIDENT DIDN’T HELP: In this clip, we hear the President of the Committee almost “pouring gasoline on the fire” by saying, “It’s okay it’s okay … don’t go down [to his level]” in reference to the CITIZEN’S behaviour of Ekow Asmah. He then ordered that the microphone be removed from this citizen. The least he could have done was serve as a noble arbiter and explain any circumstances leading to his colleague’s lateness. Communication is critical to leadership. Effective leadership requires effective communication.
7. GHANAIANS ARE THEIR/OUR OWN WORST ENEMIES: Just prior to this revealing exchange, the MC for the event had asked the waiting journalists to clap and applaud Dua Adonteng when he had arrived late, and many in the gathering obliged. This is a clear case of condoning what is wrong and accepting the unacceptable to the point of applauding a nation-wrecking, soul-destroying, and backwards-ever behaviour of those we should hold accountable. The same crowd almost spontaneously shouted down the one brave and conscientious person who was asking for the right thing to be done.
This is why many starving, duped, and disrespected Ghanaians will be gladly using the title, “Honourable” in reference to thieves, criminals, and crooks who have entrenched themselves in positions of power and authority across the land. This is why many Ghanaians will turn on the valiant and conscientious bribe-resisting investigative journalists who risk their lives to expose the greed, corruption, and criminality that are destroying our nation.
This is the mentality that will cause many Ghanaians to vote for anyone who steals millions from them but comes round at election time to buy their conscience and vote with a t-shirt and a few pennies. This is why the competent, passionate, sacrificial, visionary and caring brother and sister seeking political office will be hated and despised because they will seek to do the right thing before God and man for the good of all the people. We sacrifice Jesus and free Barnabas, and no nation or people can advance, succeed, or prosper where this mentality thrives.
8. GHANA NEEDS MORE OF THE EKOW ASMAHS TO HOLD OUR LEADERS ACCOUNTABLE: I hope Ekow Asmah is recognised, applauded, and given an award for standing up for truth, respect, and servant-leadership on behalf of Ghana’s 28 million people. I pray and hope other Ekow Asmahs, whose strive out of conscience and Christian or traditional duty to expose the wrongs within our society feel emboldened, empowered and encouraged by Ekow Asmah to keep on doing the right thing, even if others do not immediately agree with them. Kwame Nkrumah didn’t have a 100 per cent score among the people he was sacrificing for. Martin Luther King Jnr was called a rabble-rouser by some of the same Black people he was out to get equal rights for.
9. EVERY LEADER AND EVERY FOLLOWER in Ghana and across our rich-but-poorly-led nations must watch this clip a few times over and draw lessons to guide us into a better tomorrow
10. ONLY THE BEST WILL DO FOR GHANA/AFRICA: We must continue to hold our leaders accountable. With respect, progressiveness, and wisdom, let us be each other’s keeper, let us be each other’s Nathan, let us help each other to do better for a brighter tomorrow.
GOD BLESS OUR HOMELAND GHANA
…. AND HELP US TO RESIST OPPRESSORS RULE …