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Opinions of Monday, 19 March 2018

Columnist: Benedicta Dorcas Tetteh

Untold stories about leadership

Once upon a time, there were four men named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody and Nobody. There was an important job to be done and everybody was asked to do it. But Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it. Anybody could have done it but Nobody did it.Somebody got angry about it because it was Everybody’s job. Everybody thought that Anybody could do it. It ended up that, Everybody blamed Somebody and Nobody did the job that Anybody could have done in the first place.

This is the summary of the untold story about leadership. “There is no great agony than bearing an untold story inside you,” Maya Angelou stated. The stories of our leaders never made it out of the individual mind, some died on the lips of the storyteller, and some went cold as they were being told. Their pains and challenges were kept in silence only to be uncovered by the researcher under the cover of anonymity provided by purposeful research.

We hold big seminars on how to be an effective leader, many stories and articles have been published on how to be a good leader, yet no one talks about the facet of followers. The leaders are accountable and we the followers are the cynics who are ever ready to judge and blame

Ted Engstrom writes with insight “cripple him and you have a Sir Walter Scott. Lock him in a prison cell, and you have a John Bunyan. Bury him in the snows of Valley Forge, and you have a George Washington Lincoln. Strike him down with infantile paralysis, and he becomes Franklin Roosevelt. Burn him so severely that the doctors say he’ll never walk again, and you have a Glen Cunningham who set the world’s one mile record in 1934. Deafen him and you have a Ludwig van Beethoven.

Have him or her born black in a society filled with racial discrimination, and you have a Booker T. Washington, a Marian Anderson, a George Washington Carver. Call him a slow learner, retarded, and write him off as uneducated and you have Albert Einstein.

These are people who never accepted no for an answer. Leaders like Mohammed Ali who are only celebrated by the people when they die. We want the leader who can solve our sanitation problems when we are the cause of our own filth. We so much crave for the perfect guy who can eliminate corruption when we need favours ourselves. We are sitting down idly calling on leaders to provide jobs we already have. We complain of low income yet we have decided to reproduce a football team without planning. The task of nation building without doubt is regarded as a task for everybody. Shared opinion of great leaders over the years and from all part of the world reflect a common idea that nations are meaningfully developed when everyone is ignited and take active roles for the purpose of building a balanced state.

Unfortunately however, it happens that the entire task of nation building is left to the government of the country. Truth be told, it is an absolutely farcical and utterly grotesque opinion that the government all alone are to take upon themselves the task of building a nation, although it is not denied that the bulk of the responsibility lies in the government. Yet the government alone cannot provide solution to the question of the society alone. Hence it is rather a matter of division of labour

“We want free education” the people shout louder than a freight train, yet these schools are now free and they complain of poor infrastructure of the schools. But what they have forgotten is that, half alone is better than none. It is far better to have schools under tress than no schools at all. Let us show some appreciation.

“There is no food, crops are not growing” and of cause leaders are blamed. But we have failed to know that, we can grow plenty of fresh food around the homes and in community gardens. We can replant community managed forest to provide all our needs for building material and firewood and still have plenty left over to leave to nature for the wildlife to enjoy. All we need to do is to train people to develop the strategies for food security system.

We want to be like the whites, we compare our leaders to their leaders. But we have forgotten that, the leaders together with the people made the United State of America not the leaders alone. They have the tools and equipment, they do the thinking and making whiles we do the consumption and importing. Instead of praising and promoting our own very Apostle Sarfo we run and rather chase after Mercedes and Toyotas

“Do not build on waterlog areas” is the law. Yet our own people build and extend the buildings for more money. The question for the day is why won’t there be flood? Victims of the 3rd June disaster do not want to be mourned anymore. But rather, want you and I to prevent more from reoccurring.

No one talks about the effort of various N.G.O’s in the country working day and night to solve the social economic educational and other problems in the country. The well planned network of roads and international airport in Accra and one of the highest standards of living in Africa are enough achievement that the average Ghanaian should be proud of. Instead, we are busy counting the fault of our leaders. We have rather folded our hands and shouting for manna to fall from heaven.

Sometimes, if you want to lead the orchestra you need to turn your back on the crowd. But the most important thing is that the crowd can join in singing. Everyone cannot be satisfied but at least everyone can get a piece of the cake. The people crave for the head with great vision. The leader with empire in the mind but we are the same people to destroy them. The leader says A and we do the letter after Z if only there was.

We are attracted to confidence. The true deeply felt kind that inspires us to follow great leaders to the ends of the earth. But we ungratefully push these leaders to the wall. We force and go one shade darker and we find arrogance and we complain. The people want the rights and privileges but are running away from the responsibilities. We only want the cozy feeling.

We have failed to know that cows do not produce milk, you have to fight for every drop. And the fight is not only meant for the leader. But rather, a collective effort between the leader and the follower. We are acting like the Pharisees who do not want the leaders to reach oversee. We have turned the battle field the leaders made our community into playing grounds. We expect mountains to move without carrying stones. The leaders have done much but without appreciation we want more than Oliver Twist. It is high time we stopped the complaints because they do not give answers, they rather raise more questions. Let us as one united people make a move to solve a problem. Let us stop thinking and feeling because thinking and feeling do not produce action. Actions produce thinking and feeling. Let us stop drinking whiles driving, discourage the teenage pregnancy, the building of houses near waterlog areas, the dumping of refuge.

Once we teach people permaculture, they start to share it with their neighbors. It is a practical system and a hands-on knowledge that even illiterate people can engage with, and once people see the positive results it delivers, then they want to try it too.

The old should empower the young. The young should humbly stand on the shoulders of the experienced and see further. The women should take more initiatives. Our leaders, either the A’s or the B’s cannot achieve without us. Together we can build the tower of Babel. We can have a strong state. We should not be wide eyed and wondering whiles we wait for others to waken. If we together with our leaders do nothing anytime the sun humbly greets, soon the rain will play hide and seek with our lives. Yes we can.