Latest News

“Let leaders take heed” by Pastor Akinosun, President (Retired) CAC Worldwide

 


 

You are welcome to Year 2021. It shall be a year of abundant blessing, year of peace, happiness, progress and prosperity for everyone of us in Jesus name. Amen. It is by sheer grace of God that we went through the year 2020 unscathed.That was a year! A year that humanity generally would never forget. It was a leap year which came as if to confirm all the negative superstitions people often associate with years of irregular February. For surviving “The Year of Corona Pandemic” we give God the praise because to His benevolence alonewe owe our survival of that turbulent year and unto Him we return all praises and adoration.

 

I want to specially appreciate my astute, right hand man and my noble successor, Pastor Samuel Olusegun Oladele, a man of iron will, forthright and insightful, for his magnanimity in yielding this forum to me to bid members of Christ Apostolic Church, worldwide and all Christians generally a goodbye from active service. As most people have known, my role as the President of Christ Apostolic Church, Worldwide ended on December 31, 2020. This platform ought to have been engaged by the new CAC President, Pastor  S. O. Oladele but he magnanimously asked me to use the platform to give a parting charge to the generality of our people and thereby say a formal farewell to all. I don’t take this honour for granted. I am most grateful for this. May the Almighty God continue to uphold Pastor Oladele and the entire leadership of Christ Apostolic Church worldwide.

 

I will restrict myself to the main reason this platform was yielded to me. In doing so, I want to give praises to God Almighty who had seen me through a career in which the only qualification a person needs to enter is to know the Lord and accept Him as one’s personal Lord and Saviour. For choosing me as a vessel for His use and for empowering me with the wherewithal to function with His unction, I give God my immortal praise. In all the years of my service in the Lord’s vineyard, God alone had been my stay, my anchor, my buckler and shield. I had no power, no wisdom of my own, but once He saw that I depended on Him in everything, He wrought His works in a marvellous way.

 

Having been at the helm of affairs of a mega Church like the Christ Apostolic Church, worldwide, I perceive that God has given me some insights into what leadership is. It is from this standpoint that I would address Christians and Nigerians in all walks of life. First, I will advise leaders at all  levels; be it political, business, educational or religious institutions. I will also advise the led; that is the people in their various estate of life. In this onerous duty, I will apply the valedictory message of Saint Paul as he was about to depart Ephesus, where he had worked and ministered to the peoplefor several years. Apostle Paul was sure of only one thing: he might never meet any of the people he was addressing again. But he wanted it written in their hearts that he had told them his mind on what they needed to do. So, he gathered the Ephesian leaders of the church together and addressed them. The main thrust of his message to these people was: TAKE HEED. “Therefore take heed to yourselves and to your flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the Church of God which He purchased with His own blood” Acts 20:28.

 

Let’s pay some attention to Apostle Paul’s address to the leaders. First he appealed to them saying:  “take heed to yourselves”. In the same vein, I want to appeal to all leaders in various categories of leadership in all organisations to take heed to themselves.Why am I addressing leaders? I am doing this because like I said earlier, God has made me to gain some insight into what leadership truly is. From my experience, I have come to realize that the role of a leader is to take people from where they are, to where they ought to be. The people may individually desire a glorious destination, but they are unable to reach there individually. It is the bounden duty of the leader to aggregate their collective wish and take them to that glorious destination. It follows, therefore, that a leader must have a clear vision of where he is taking those he leads.

 

Paul spoke about the flock and what made the flock so special. I am persuaded to use the same analogy of the flock throughout this address. I, therefore, call on the political leaders, business leaders, religious and socio-cultural group leaders, those in educational institutions and leaders in all walks of life and charge them to wake up to their God-ordained duty.I repeat after Saint Paul: “Take heed to yourselves”. This is a call for self examination for all categories of leaders. At every stage of leadership, every leader should take time to re-examine himself. A leader ought to examine himself if he truly has a vision of where the people ought to be. A leader should look critically into how he started on the journey to leadership. What promises did you hold out to those you are leading? Are you capable of delivering those promises?  Did you hold out the promise that you would do justice to all without minding whose ox is gored? As a good leader, are you still doing those things?Are you discharging the burden of leadership?

 

SELF EXAMINATION

Our society is rotten because leaders often forget to self examine themselves. Society or an organisation would stagnate and decay, when leaders are docile and are unable to critically examine themselves. I am sorry to be blunt here, most of our politicians are a failure when it comes to self examination. That’s majorly the reason most people complain that politicians often promise heaven on earth whenever they are campaigning to be voted into office, after winning the election, they forget all the goodies they promised their electorates.

 

What most people who find themselves in leadership fail to realize is that God placed a heavy premium on promises freely made. God will take you into account for every word that comes out of your mouth. Every word of promise that comes from the mouth of a reasoning man (that is not insane) is a vow unto God. All promises made in the hustings are, therefore, a vow between the politician and the electorates. “When you shall make a vow unto the Lord your God, you shall not slack to pay it: for the Lord your God will surely require it of you; and it would be a sin unto you” Deut. 23:21. What this is saying is that every promise made but is not fulfilled is a sin, and God will judge you for it. Also in Ecclesiastes 5: 4, 5 we read this: “When you vow a vow unto God, delay not to pay it… pay that which you have vowed. Better is it that you should not vow, than that you should vow and not pay”. I advise our politicians to take heed to themselves and pay all their debts to their electorates. You promised abundant life to the electorates, but instead, what they now have is misery upon misery while you are wallowing in opulence fraudulently appropriated to yourself from the common till, take heed to your self. This phase of illicit wealth you are enjoying will soon pass. Those promises you made to the electorate should not be treated with levity, it is a bond between you and the people who voted you, pay your debt, fulfil your promises and discharge the burden you freely vowed to bear forthe electorates. As this applies to politicians, so it applies to managers of large and small scale businesses, at every stage of leadership, pay attention to the welfare of those you are leading.

 

Leaders should also watch how they rule. Leadership is God-ordained. Every leader, whether he is a believer in God or not is God’s steward. From each steward, righteousness, selflessness and fairness is required by God. “…It is required in a steward that a man be found faithful” 1 Corinth. 4:2. Any leader that is out to serve his narrow and selfish interest is working against God. Any leader that is oppressive and self-serving is working against God and humanity. That’s why the Bible says: “When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; but when the wicked rules, the people mourn”Prov. 29:2.Everyone in leadership is hereby called upon to lead objectively and impartially.

 

WELFARE OF THE PEOPLE

Apostle Paul also admonished in the text of our discourse: Take heed to yourselves and to your flocks. The analogy of flock used is poignant to the audience being addressed here. A largely pastoral society cannot but understand the huge burden a shepherd is expected to bear in the care and nurture of his flock. This duty and burden flows from the gentle and meek nature of the sheep. The sheep relies heavily on the shepherd for its sustenance and protection. He leads the flock to the field to feed, he takes them to the still water to drink fresh water and protects them against savage predator beasts. This onerous task by the shepherd was captured by King David, one of the greatest shepherds in history, in his pastoral poem commonly referred to as Psalm 23. With the picture of how he, David, was meticulous in the care of his flock in his mind, he was able to see that God is, by far, a better shepherd than himself because the way God takes care of his human creation is by far better than the way the best shepherd could ever take care of his sheep. David therefore wrote: “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul: he leads me in the paths of righteousness for his name sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil…” Psalm 23: 1-4. Every word in those verses of this Psalm explains the burden every good leader ought to bear for their followers. Take note of the opening verse: “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want”When the leadership is doing the right thing, the entire followers would not be in want of what they should possess. I take the liberty to apply this widely. This verse is addressing the economic management capability of the leadership. It is the duty of the managers of our economy to pilot the economy of the country in such a way that there would be full employment that would guarantee people have food on their tables. When the management of the economy is in disarray, the reverse would be the case.

 

In this light, I call on President Muhammadu Buhari to take radical steps to manage the economy well and turn things around for the better. The last few years has been so uninspiring on the score of management of the economy. The statistics of unemployment in the country today is scary at a huge 27.1% as at the second quarter of 2020. Meaning that 21.7 million Nigerians of working age remain unemployed according to the National Bureau of Statistics. Though I am also aware that the Bureau of labour statistics claims that unemployment is down to 6.7%, everybody knows that this is far from reality. The recent #EndSARS protest is the by-product of the evil of unemployment. The saying is still apposite that an idle hand is the devil’s workshop. If those people who gathered at Lekki toll gate that October week had been fully employed, the gathering of protesters would be so insignificant that their presence would have little impact.It is bad for leaders not to show concern for the welfare and well being of the people they are leading.

 

The Psalmist went further to explain the role being played by his shepherd: “He makes me to lie down in green pasture”when sheep are well fed with green pasture, the shepherd often leads them to a place of still water. After that, the shepherd makes them lie in the same verdant pasture from where they had fed. From this point, we see that it is the duty of the leadership to create economic abundance from which people would feed and relax in hope. The absence of the basic needs, the absence of opportunities for our graduates and our youths generally is what makes them leave the country in droves to foreign lands. Many of our youths take the most unimaginable risk of crossing the Atlantic in order to flee to foreign lands where many of them are engaged in the most dehumanising and debased means of sustenance. The statistics of people who died as a result of the dangerous crossing of the Atlantic to Europe was over 1500from Africa alone in 2020. Nigerians account for over 40% of this unfortunate migrants. Our government has a duty to reverse this trend by accepting that it is its duty to create the atmosphere where our people will live in abundance. Why would the youths take dangerous migration to foreign land if there is enough opportunity in their country? Our leaders are therefore urged to change this dangerous trend.

 

 HEALTH CARE

The psalmist continues: “He restores my soul”.We talk of restoration when someone loses a possession that is very dear to his existence or such possession is threatened and miraculously the bad situation is reversed to one’s joy. This speaks about the state of a person’s wellbeing. Without doubt, health care services are the best way to illustrate restoration of soul. A good shepherd takes note of a weak or sick sheep. He separates it from among the flock and gives it special treatment until its soul is restored. In like manner, a good leader would never ignore the weak, the sick and the vulnerable ones among the people he lens. He would make provision for the health of the people he leads.

 

I commend the government at federal and state levels for the way they responded to the covid-19 pandemic. Their efforts helped to keep the fatality figures low. But this is not to say that our health care system and health care delivery have been anything near adequate.We have only been lucky as a nation that the pandemic that assailed the world in 2020 was not as ruinous here as it was in Europe and America. But the lesson of the pandemic should rather awaken us to build capacity and raise the bar in our health care delivery system. It is most regretted that a few of our top government officials fell victims of covid-19 fatality. In a situation wherethe health facilities are overstretched and the rich could not fly to foreign land for medical treatment as they were wont to do, case fatality is bound to rise. We can just imagine what would have happened if more people were to be infected by covid-19? We were lucky this time round. But we can’t continue to rely on sheer luck every time.Therefore, it is high time we improved on our health facilities.

 

SECURITY OF LIFE AND PROPERTY

The Psalmist continued: “Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil”. Here the “sheep” admits that there will always be dangers lucking in corners and valleys of death will abound everywhere, but it would have no reason to fear any evil because the great shepherd would continue to protect him. We’ve made it crystal clearthatthe relationship between those in government and those they govern should be seen from the relationship between the shepherd and the flock. A good shepherd provides comprehensive security for his flock. A good leader must ensure that the people he is leading are safe. Government must strive to strike a balance between provision of economic sustenance for the people and security of life and property. Once a leader forsakes his bounden dutyin this regard, that leader has become a curse rather than a blessing. A shepherd truly worthy of his calling would never watch the decimation of his flock. The security of the flock is paramount to every good shepherd. This strikes at the core of our security management. It has now become a daily occurrence that Boko Haram and their junior variant called bandits and kidnappers are having a field day in our country and the security apparatus is helpless. The recent abduction of over 300 school boys in Katsina and their subsequent release does not say anything positive about our government. Whoever hoped the government would spin that story to earn a piece of good public relations and good press sincerely speaking, has miscalculated. If the Katsina incident could be so swiftly reversed with the release of the boys, why couldn’t the government get the Lear Sharibu, the Chibok girls and a lot of others out of their evil captors’ conclaves?Government had been advised what to do by many well meaning Nigerians including the National Assembly, the question is whose interest is the President serving by keeping on their jobs, people who could not perform the job of providing the nation with adequate security? It can’t be the interest of the nation. Government must do whatever is needful to stop the daily embarrassing kidnapping and mass killing of innocent Nigerians.

The security of the peopleis the primary role of government. This is part of the social contract leaders entered with the followers on assumption of leadership. How well a leader discharges this duty determines how successful is his leadership.

 

WHY LEADERS ARE LIABLE

Finally, in the address of Apostle Paul to the Ephesians Church leaders, he pointed out the reason why the leaders must discharge the duty of care on their followers. They are bound to do so because the Holy Spirit made them leaders and Jesus Christ purchased them by his shed blood. The soul of every member of the church is precious to the One who redeemed him. Jesus Christ demonstrated this with the parable of the shepherd with a hundred sheep who lost one but securely packed the 99 sheep somewhere to look for the lost sheep. Ministers of God must therefore place high premium on the lives of those under their care. It is from each minister of God that the Lord will demand an account of stewardship: “…where is the flock that was given to you, your beautiful flock?” Jer. 13: 21.Also Psalm 116: 15 says: “precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints”the lord will call you to account for every soul under your care, therefore, do everything in your powers to preserve life, to keep every one under your ministration until the Lord comes. 

We have demonstrated above that whatever is said about the shepherd is directly being said for leaders in all spheres of life. Leaders are God-ordained, whether they know God or not. God has paid ransom for the redemption of every soul. It is only left for each individual to accept this simple truth or not. But whether they accept or not,every citizen’s soul is precious before God. Therefore, leaders must do everything in their power to protect and ensure that no blood of the innocent is shed. The welfare of every citizen of a nation matters to every good leader. If leaders allow wanton destruction of lives and property of its citizens, such leaders should rest assured that God would call him to account for the loss.

 

MY APPEAL TO THE PEOPLE

I won’t end this address without an appeal to the people. To everyone that has been suffering one deprivation or the other through the negligence by their leaders, my appeal to you is to strengthen your faith. To every believer in Christ I appeal to you: Strengthen your faith in Christ Jesus. Don’t be enticed to build your faith on the smooth-sounding, persuasive words of worldly wisdom or philosophy. Cleave to the wisdom of God.

Hebrews 10:38 says: “Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draws back, my soul shall have no pleasure on him” Drawing back means turning around. Pulling away from something, turning your back against what is just and right. Remember the charge that whoever lays his hand on the plough and turns back is unfit for the kingdom of heaven. So, I appeal to you, remain confident in the Great Shepherd of your soul who would sooner than later turn things around for you. Do not allow the failure of leadership push you into losing your focus on Christ the Saviour.

Remain diligent in your work and business, always abounding in righteousness and prove to this age that holiness is still a possibility. Hold fast to your faith because it is the only thing that gives you reason to live in this old world of oddities. Extend brotherly love to one another.

To the saints of the Lord in all congregations, farewell. To members of General Executive Council of the Christ Apostolic Church and to the leaders who are taking the baton as well as all the Laity of the Church, I say farewell for now. I retire from daily hassles of administration, but I am not retiring from fervent worship of God through Christ Jesus. I am not retiring from fervent prayers for the Church as a whole and the nation in particular. I am not retiring from consistent sharing of God’s word. May we never lose eternity in Jesus name.

 

PASTOR ABRAHAM OLUKUNLE AKINOSUN,

PRESIDENT, CHRIST APOSTOLIC CHURCH, WORLDWIDE (RTD.)  

 

No comments