• Friday, December 08, 2023
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Servant leadership footprints

Civil society organization launches practice guide on social justice

Ezeorah draws on extensive true-life stories of individuals who have influenced change through their dreams of making themselves useful to humanity, to create an in-depth picture of ‘service and leadership’. This is an interesting dimension to authorship, writing of people and their dreams and then the results of daring to dream.

Every one of them is a touching story, deeply reflective and fascinating and they all add a much more refreshing perspective to the established way of teaching ‘leadership and humility.

It is also a book that tells the story of every man and woman who rose above a debilitating challenge to thrive and blossom and then to grow to became a true leader-from former US President, Kennedy to Rachael Carson to Chinua Achebe, he wove an inspiring leadership lecture around them, dueling on what inspired them and what you can learn from the legacies they left in their wake.

Grace Groner exemplified low-profile leadership, “ a child of the Depression,” and a millionaire who rarely adorned the headlines. Her story is a total contrast to the attitude of some rich people in our society today whose obscenity could throw an entire community into despair. Groner typified charity and a large heart, which is a rarity in today’s Nigeria.

There is ‘The boy who harnessed the wind’, the story of a 14 year old boy, William Kamkwamba, who brought light to his people. Ryan Hreljac was a child advocate for children’s cause and clean water. Tolulope Sangosanya is the Nigerian dustbin estate kid. Her story is the captivating story of a love filled heart. Then, there is the story of the great Nigerian author, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. All of these ‘kids’ have one thing in common-they were all taught how to become leaders early in life. But more importantly, Ezeorah retains the personal nature of each account.

The characters in the book are elegantly drawn together to illustrate not only self-belief but disbelief as well. Interestingly, these are real people, but more fascinating is how Ezeorah’s narrative illuminated this specific subject of leadership and compassion.

This certainly is a revolutionary book. As the author intended, it reveals much about the pernicious nature of today’s Nigerian political leadership, their contempt for youth development. It suggests also his disdain on how hard ‘this leadership’, have suppressed the “slow-burning but intense awakening of young people”. But in more ways than often he courted controversy through his jibes on the authority and “their inability to uphold selfless service to the needs of the people.” He is emphatic on the remedy. The story, he writes, “will be a thing of the past if we adopt and institutionalize the servant leadership principles that will enable the education sector to produce competent and credible servant leaders that will set good examples.”

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It is so much about the value the country places on the life of its citizens as illustrated by the frustration he felt when he was told that an old man he met lying haplessly and weak from malnutrition under the bridge at ‘Iponri’ (a suburb in Lagos City) died because he was a ‘Commodity’.

In truth, however, Ezeorah has a curiously ambivalent approach to delivering his leadership message. From reflecting on the bold dreams of the young lads who grew humbly big to focusing on himself and his work as a giver, he seemed to digress.

In some form, you could also call this an autobiography, a mirror of what he has accomplished as a teacher of leadership and humanitarianism. All of these are quietly described in his work for Care of the Estranged for Social Development (COTE), COTE free healthcare delivery service, COTE Leadership workshops on Entrepreneurship and Centre for learning and Services focusing on the empowerment of youths between the ages of 17-30 years. He founded or co-founded all of these agencies.

Most scholars would agree that Servant Leadership Footprint did amount to a transformative leadership handbook, and for as long as Ezeorah has been viewed as a ‘teacher’, readers would easily identify the nuances that shaped the thinking that went into this eloquent ‘compilation’.

This inspirational book, writes Peace Chinwendu Israel, PhD, in the book’s forward, “…has been carefully documented to help you develop the spirit of kindness to humanity and to help you fight the four basic human fears: rejection, failure, punishment, and shame.”

The focus on individual details is to recognize the embedded story of emancipation as a good leader and it is truly visionary about how he approached the difficulties in finding leaders and the ease with which you can become a leader.

The author holds a B.Sc. in Zoology from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka and an M.Sc. in Environmental Toxicology and Pollution Management. He is an avid admirer of the environment too. The care he took to reflect on the issue of environment is laudable. The limited attention given the country’s grim’ looking environment, underscores the intensity in his recount of the works of persons who brought the possible harmful impact of a neglected environment to the forefront, and you can only know and feel that intensity when you have read the book.

He even dedicated a full chapter in praise of the medical professionals, “especially those who have given their lives researching and treating deadly diseases.”

Author: Cajetan Ezeorah

Reviewed by Charles Ike-Okoh, EDITOR, BDSUNDAY

158 pages

Cajetan Ezeorah’s book reveals much about leadership, but also exposes the tragic side of failed leadership.