C-ICADI 2018: Corruption Bane of Effective Leadership in Africa, says Ex-Malawi President
A former President of the Republic of Malawi, Dr. (Mrs) Joyce Banda, has said that Africa would be able to tackle its socio-political and economic development challenges if majority of leaders on the continent had the will to fight corruption.
Dr. Banda, the Special Guest of Honour and Keynote Speaker, had at the opening session of the 4th Covenant-International Conference on African Development Issues (C-ICADI 2018), said only a handful of African leaders were imbued with the character to take on corruption headlong as majority of the leaders merely paid lip service to the issue of fighting corruption.
“What Africa needs are inclusive governments and honest leaders to fight corruption. As a former President, I know what it is to fight corruption; when you fight corruption, corruption fights back. Because some of these people have stolen so much, they fight back with the money. So, Africa needs to identify potential leaders to be motivated,” Dr. Banda explained.
While speaking on the theme of the conference, ‘The Challenge of Leadership: Driving Africa’s Future’, the Keynote Speaker, who noted that the objective of the conference resonates with her own life experience, said the ability to lead a nation required wisdom, education and vision. She revealed that the result of a research conducted by her as a Fellow of the Woodrow Wilson International Centre for Scholars, confirmed the long-held belief that all leaders were born with 30% leadership traits while the other 70% was acquired overtime.
Dr. Banda said myriad of challenges in Africa had prevented many people from fulfilling their leadership potentials, however, a significant picture of Africa had started to emerge in the last two decades. “By my observation, in addition to political reform, Africa’s economy is becoming diversified in the health, financial, pharmaceutical, and agricultural sectors among others,” she stated.
Africa, she posited, needed leaders with innovative strategies to spark development. She stated further that governments of African countries needed to leverage on their immense resources, explore agriculture, invest in education, intensify their efforts in trade and investment, the political will to drive economic governance, and to grow and expand private investment.
The Keynote Speaker, who decried the low level of participation of African women in leadership, said it was her hope that decision makers would put more efforts in educating the girl-child so that Africa could have more women take leadership positions in the continent. She, however, asserted that despite challenges faced by women, they had managed to rise to leadership positions, for instance two women as President of African countries compared to other parts of the world.
Earlier, while delivering his welcome remarks at the event, the Chancellor and Chairman, Board of Regents, Covenant, Dr. David O. Oyedepo, said the purpose of C-ICADI was to gather thinkers together to forge a way forward for Africa. He recalled that the three previous editions of C-ICADI had failed to produce tangible results despite the involvement of some of the world’s great personalities, for instance, two Nobel Laureates.
“Africans are known for great and excellent presentations that had not led to anything. It’s time to think, take stock and think through. The greatest challenge of Africa, which has been presented many times, is leadership,” he stated.
The Chancellor, who noted that the African Leadership Development Centre (ALDC), venue of the C-ICADI, was established to address issues bordering on leadership, said rebranding Africa through C-ICADI had become imperative. He added that there was the need for the rise of thinkers in Africa to help think the continent’s way through as no system could ever outgrow the knowledgeability of its leader.
According to the Chairperson of the 4th C-ICADI, Ms. Cecilia Akintomide, leadership was one of those concepts that could not be missed when present, and when absent or abused, the results were unmistakable, with far reaching consequences. The Independent Non-Executive Director of First Bank Holdings pointed out that leadership was relational and situational, and given that leadership was situational, it was important that leadership programmes be developed that were suited to the African environment and the challenges faced by people on the continent.
While highlighting the power of a leader, Ms. Akintomide said a leader has the capacity to galvanise others to action towards bringing about a desired change or achieving a common goal,
a leader produces other leaders, a leader leads the follower, while followers follow but know when to raise a red flag and/or stop following.
Apparently in line with situational leadership, Ms. Akintomide, who is the immediate past Vice-President and Secretary General of African Development Bank, emphasised that education was key to creating pipeline of leaders, curriculum must be relevant to the African environment, and students must develop solutions to challenges facing the continent.
The Vice-Chancellor, Covenant, Professor AAA. Atayero, in his remarks, said the conference was coming at a time when there seemed to be an urgent need for a paradigm shift in the leadership culture of Africa. While noting that the current human development index of African nations after decades of independence leaves much to be desired contrary to the lofty post-independence expectations of nations in the continent, he regretted that today, several of them were still challenged with underdevelopment.
Professor Atayero stated that African nations were in dire need of visionary leadership that would steer the African people to take full responsibility for the development of the continent. Covenant University, he said, recently emerged as one of the top 3% universities in the Times Higher Education Ranking of World Universities and on this basis, Covenant was collaborating with national and international research agencies, research bodies and other higher education research institutions in driving the development of Africa.
While speaking on the theme of the conference, the Chairperson, Organising Committee of C-ICADI, Professor Aize Obayan, said it was most strategic and focused and actually touched all the nerve centers of that which affected virtually every nation in Africa. She declared that the 2018 conference was set to interrogate issues of advancement in respect of leadership governance on the African continent, while addressing strategic concerns of vital relevance to Africa’s development.
“One of the reasons C-ICADI 2018 was looking at this particular theme was that we don’t just want to continue to bemoan the issues and that there were challenges with respect to leadership, that has been on for several years now. We must begin to proffer solutions and identify directions and pathways, for we want to believe that this conference, which has a pan-African agenda, is particularly working on seeing the future we want for Africa, even beyond vision 2063. We need to look at exigencies that will propel action, but not just action but action that will lead to driving the revolution looking at different operational contexts on the continent,” said Professor Obayan.
The Paramount King of Ota (Covenant’s host community), Oba (Professor) Adeyemi Abdulkabir Obalanlege, the Olota of Ota, who led a coterie of traditional chiefs to the event, had in his goodwill message, thanked Covenant for organising the conference. He averred that leadership was about management, but had a different meaning in Africa. “Political leadership is a call to serve, however, today, our youths think leadership is about getting rich. A good leader must have vision but that is lacking in Africa,” said Oba Obalanlege
Also in attendance at the opening session of the conference, which holds from October 22 – 24, 2018, were the Vice-President (Education), Living Faith Church Worldwide, Pastor (Mrs) Faith Oyedepo, members of the Covenant Management; the Vice-Chancellor Landmark University, Professor Olayanju Adeniyi and academic leaders from other institutions, participants from within and outside Covenant, faculty, staff and postgraduate students.