In opening this compilation, I wish to commend very highly Gen. Abdulsalami A. Abubakar, GCFR for the latest peace moves directed at promoting dialogue among Nigerians. There is no issue that cannot be resolved through dialogue. I equally salute Great and wonderful patriots, Prof. Bolaji Akinwande Akinyemi and Prof. Ibrahim Agboola Gambari and pray that God may use this initiative to solve our common problems. Should they require media services, we at TERRIFIC HEADLINES offer our channels of communication for the campaign for dialogue GRATIS, because we are widely exposed and know the importance of peace and peaceful conducts.
PATRIOTS: Why are these personalities patriots? Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th President of the United States is quoted as stating that: “Patriotism means to stand by the country. ‘’It does not mean to stand by the president or any other public official, save exactly to the degree in which he himself stands by the country. ‘’It is patriotic to support him insofar as he efficiently serves the country. ‘’It is unpatriotic not to oppose him to the exact extent that by inefficiency or otherwise he fails in his duty to stand by the country. ‘’In either event, it is unpatriotic not to tell the truth, whether about the president or anyone else.”
LEADERSHIP: This piece will open with some definitions that capture its essence. In the words of Eleanor Rosalynn Carter, wife of US President Jimmy Carter who was politically active during her White House years, ‘’a great leader takes people where they don’t necessarily want to go, but ought to be.” In this process, there must be trust between the people and the leader. The people, according to John Maxwell, “buy into the leader before they buy into the vision. ‘’The credibility of the leader therefore is essential in effective leadership.’’ In the words of Winston Churchill, “the nation will find it very hard to look up to the leaders who are keeping their ears to the ground.” Churchill was an English statesman and author, best known as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom during the Second World War. He was regarded as an orator, strategist, and politician; as well as one of the most important leaders in modern British and world history.
OBAFEMI AWOLOWO: Easily the most quoted politician and statesman in Nigeria of old and the present is Chief Obafemi Awolowo, one-time Premier of the defunct Western Region, and at various times, opposition Leader in the federal parliament, and Vice-Chairman of the federal cabinet of Gen (Dr) Yakubu Gowon, who was Head of the Federal Military government. By virtue of this appointment, Obafemi Awolowo could convene and chair the Federal Executive Council meetings, in the absence of General Gowon. Vice-Chairmanship of the Federal Executive Council translates into the status of Deputy Head of State, if reasoning and political expediency necessitated that option. He also functioned as leader of the Yoruba, a council of eminent indigenes He churned out books on the way forward for Nigeria in rapid succession. Awolowo’s books preached development and political conducts that are required for moving Nigeria forward.
- “It is incontestable that the British not only made Nigeria, but also hand it to us whole on their surrender of power. But the Nigeria, which they handed over to us, had in it the forces of its own disintegration. It is up to contemporary Nigerian leaders to neutralize these forces, preserve the Nigerian inheritance, and make all our people free, forward- looking and prosperous. “ – Obafemi Awolowo in the publication – The Peoples’ Republic, 1968.
- Africa is a continent of competing beggar- nations. We vie with one another for favours from our former colonial masters; and we deliberately fall over one another to invite neo- colonialists to come over to our different territories to preside over our economic fortunes … Unless a beggar resolutely shakes off, and irrevocably turn his back on, his begging habit, he will forever remain a beggar. For, the more he begs, the more he develops the beggar characteristics of lack of initiative, courage, drive and self-reliance.” Address to 4th OAU Summit in Kinshasa (1967)
- “Power enslaves: absolute power enslaves absolutely. I have made a diligent search through history, and I have not come across a single instance where a regime, be it military or civilian, which has come to power at its own will, and has wielded that power for many years, has found it easy to extricate itself from the sweet uses and shackles of power, and then hand it to others outside its own hierarchy. It is possible, quite possible, that my search is not exhaustive and so, I stand to be corrected.” Address to the Congregation of the University of Ife (1970)
- While many men in power and public office are busy carousing in the midst of women of easy virtue and men of low morals, I, as a few others like me, am busy at my desk thinking about the problems of Nigeria and proffering solutions to them. Only the deep can call to the deep.” – Obafemi Awolowo
- ‘’I look forward to the day – not in the far distant future – when an Ijaw would be President of our Republic, and a Birom his Vice; or vice versa.” – Obafemi Awolowo
- “If we are in the habit of practicing the opposite of what we preach, our admonition will not only lose their force and cogency, but also we ourselves will forfeit every claim to credibility. An ounce of example, it has been widely said, is far better than a ton of precepts.” – Obafemi Awolowo
- “Integrity is telling myself t he truth. And honesty is telling the truth to other people.”
― Spencer Johnson
- “An unbelieved truth can hurt a man much more than a lie. It takes great courage to back truth unacceptable to our times. There’s a punishment for it, and it’s usually crucifixion.” – John Steinbeech
- “Silence becomes cowardice when occasion demands speaking out the whole truth and acting accordingly.” ― Mahatma Gandhi
EMBRACE TRUTH – By Pastor E.A. Adeboye: This piece will open with a preamble, contributed by TERRIFIC HEADLINES, to beef up the subject under reference , in view of its very strong importance to societal development and the need to treat this matter judiciously. ‘’Modern philosophy and science have advanced a notion of truth as pure and simple factuality that is opposed to the rich conceptuality and ambiguity found in literature’’ (PerlmanLee) Three major assumptions we make to convince ourselves that we are right are highlighted by Kathryn Schultz, the author of Being Wrong, who identified the three factors as: Ignorance Assumption: We believe that others are uneducated or lack the information that we have. That’s why they are wrong. If we share our knowledge, they will stop being ignorant. Idiocy Assumption: Other people have the same information as we do, but they can’t put the pieces together. They are not as smart as we are. That’s why they are wrong; and Evil Assumption: We operate under the premise that others know the truth (and know we are right) but are distorting it. They are wrong on purpose — they want to cause evil. Schulz, a former book critic for New York magazine emerged the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing.
TRUTH AS OUR SAVING GRACE: The whole world is in turmoil. There are innumerable conflicts provoked by religious, economic and political considerations. Ian Bremmer, in a publication: the Globe and mail asserted that: There’s a larger crisis coming. Many of the storms creating political turmoil in the United States and Europe – including job-killing technological change in the workplace and a sense of grievance at income inequality – are now crossing into the developing world, where governments and institutions are even less prepared than their Western counterparts. Developing countries are especially vulnerable, because their institutions and social safety nets aren’t as strong as in wealthier countries.
Bremmer, an American political scientist and specialist in United States foreign policy in transition, and global political risk notes further that: ‘’They face an even bigger gap between rich and poor. They are less prepared for the downsides of technological change. ‘’How will emerging-world governments respond? The weakest will fall away, leaving more failed states, such as Syria and Somalia. ‘’Some governments will build walls – actual and virtual – that separate people from one another and government from citizens. ‘’Those still hoping to build or simply maintain open societies will adapt to survive, attempting to rewrite social contracts to create new ways to meet the needs of citizens in a changing world.’’
TRUTH AS A CONSTANT FACTOR THAT AVERTS CRISES: One of the constant factors that avert crises and conflicts is truth. The Dictionary describes TRUTH as: ‘’The quality or state of being true, that which is true or in accordance with fact or reality, a fact or belief that is accepted as true’’ To understand the importance of TRUTH to human successes, we will take some quotes that help: ― William Faulkner, a 1949 Nobel Prize winner in Literature stated that: “Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty and truth and compassion against injustice and lying and greed. ‘’If people all over the world…would do this, it would change the earth.”
Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th President of the United States is quoted as stating that: “Patriotism means to stand by the country. ‘’It does not mean to stand by the president or any other public official, save exactly to the degree in which he himself stands by the country. ‘’It is patriotic to support him insofar as he efficiently serves the country. ‘’It is unpatriotic not to oppose him to the exact extent that by inefficiency or otherwise he fails in his duty to stand by the country. ‘’In either event, it is unpatriotic not to tell the truth, whether about the president or anyone else.” Mahatma Gandhi is also quoted as positing that: “Silence becomes cowardice when occasion demands speaking out the whole truth and acting accordingly.”
ASK NOT WHAT YOUR COUNTRY CAN DO FOR YOU: All over the world, in all settings where leadership and governance responsibilities are performed, there is usually a terrible conspiracy against the TRUTH. The fierce attack against TRUTH is responsible for the very strong human frailties recorded in all societies. Most times, embracing lies is provoked by selfishness, personal gains and pecuniary considerations. In several other instances, we fail to tell the truth because we wish to leave unto our generations yet unborn huge wealth or resources; especially in societies where there are in existence horrible social welfare services that cater for the aged, the poor as well as the affluent.
One of the underlying factors is our inability to act in a godly manner. And this permeates all strata of societies. It is important for us to search our minds and individual conscience to establish to what extent we have contribution to conflicts and crises all over the world. John F. Kennedy’s inaugural address inspired children and adults to see the importance of civic action and public service. His historic words, “Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country,” challenged every American to contribute in some way to the public good. President Kennedy’s inaugural address, addressed civic action, and considered how it applies to their own lives. If we all decide to tell the truth forthwith, God will be merciful to us in judgment and we will experience HIS peace.
It is as a result of the foregoing that Andrew Carnegie, in his famous treatise themed: The Gospel of Wealth’’ criticized the ‘’condition of affairs under which the best interests of the race are promoted, but which inevitably gives wealth to the few. ‘’The first is the most injudicious. In monarchical countries, the estates and the greatest portion of the wealth are left to the first son that the vanity of the parent may be gratified by the thought that his name and title are to descend to succeeding generations unimpaired. ‘’The condition of this class in Europe today teaches the futility of such hopes or ambitions. The successors have become impoverished through their follies or from the fall in the value of land. Even in Great Britain the strict law of entail has been found inadequate to maintain the status of an hereditary class. ‘’Its soil is rapidly passing into the hands of the stranger. Under republican institutions the division of property among the children is much fairer, but the question which forces itself upon thoughtful men in all lands is: Why should men leave great fortunes to their children?’’ CARNEGIE continues: ‘’If this is done from affection, is it not misguided affection? Observation teaches that, generally speaking, it is not well for the children that they should be so burdened. ‘’Neither is it well for the state. Beyond providing for the wife and daughters moderate sources of income, and very moderate allowances indeed, if any, for the sons, men may well hesitate, for it is no longer questionable that great sums bequeathed oftener work more for the injury than for the good of the recipients. Wise men will soon conclude that, for the best interests of the members of their families and of the state, such bequests are an improper use of their means.’’
Open Heavens Devotional contains and interesting piece on TRUTH, written by Pastor E.A. Adeboye, General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God Worldwide.
EMBRACE TRUTH – By Pastor E.A. Adeboye: As Paul demonstrates in Romans 9:1, whenever truth is in operation, there is agreement between the human conscience and the witness of the Holy Spirit. Living a life of truth is desirable by God and receives commendation from Him. Proverb 12:22 says: “Lying lips are abomination to the LORD: but they that deal truly are his delight.”
God is the essence of truth, and he expects this nature of His truth to reflect in the character of His children. He condemns falsehood in all forms, but takes pleasure in truth and honesty, which He regards as the hallmark of an upright person. Truth always paints the picture of things without filtering them to suit personal preferences or vested interests. Unfortunately, one of the problems of leadership in the world today is the shortage of sincere counsel.
SYCOPHANCY : To their undoing, the allure of office has proved to have a strong corrupting influence on many people around great leaders, including ministers of God. Even the best of men and women begin to exhibit sycophancy, flattery and systematic manipulation soon after introduction to the corridors of power, and as a result, most leaders today are either starved of the truth or presented with filtered, edited or colored version of it.
DO NOT FILTER THE TRUTH: The Bible refers to this act as “holding the truth in unrighteousness” (Romans 1:18). Those behind this deception often claim to be acting in the best interest of their masters. They claim that keeping bad news away from them reduces their exposure to stress. Thanks be to God for the Holy Spirit who always strengthens and guides His children into all truth! There is therefore no need to filter the truth presented to leaders acting under God’s unction. Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another. Ephesians 4:25 Pastor E.A. Adeboye
DIALOGUE: Our commendation goes to former Head of State, Gen. Abdulsalami A. Abubakar, GCFR, and members of his team, Prof. Bolaji Akinyemi and Professor Ibrahim Gambari, who all know in practical and theoretical terms what the absence of peace means, as well as its cost. Security is a most important matter that concerns everybody; hence staying on the fence could be injurious to the society. May we NEVER witness another war in Nigeria. There is perhaps nothing more important in our nation today that the need for us to come together to fashion enduring solutions to security problems confronting our dear nation. TERRIFIC HEADLINES points out that our country’s position of pre-eminence in the sub-Saharan Africa, and even the African region makes it mandatory for Nigeria to maintain and sustain peace and lead African nations by example. Indeed, all lovers of our great country must necessarily make efforts to guard very jealously, our growing democracy. Let us never forget that we live in a continent afflicted by poverty, disease, illiteracy and underdevelopment. If Africa must enjoy peace, Nigerians must show keen interest in occurrences around us to prevent us from being consumed by forces of conflict and catastrophe, occasioned by senseless wars, avoidable conflicts and other forms of intolerance.
TOGETHER, WE ARE CAPABLE OF BUILDING A GREATER NIGERIA PEACEFULLY
May the Good Lord Bless Nigeria!