Servant leadership


Bros kay, you led from the front, teaching us invaluable lessons in humility as you “served” us as olori ebi after the departure of our beloved father. Your virtues were too many to mention. Unrivalled in selflessness and so so caring. Lightening quick to forgive, you will forever remain a remarkable inspiration to us all. You showed us how to love completely. You related with us your aburos, as friends, your buddies; often leaving outsiders to wonder if the age gap between us was truly what we claimed. Many, and that includes some of us your aburos, often mistook your gentle spirit, your relentless pursuit of peace, as a sign of weakness. The more fool us.

“The one characteristic of authentic power that most people overlook is humility. It is important for many reasons. A humble person walks in a friendly world. He or she sees friends everywhere he or she looks, wherever he or she goes, whomever he or she meets. His or her perception goes beyond the shell of appearance and into essence
– Gary Zukav

Little did we know how turning the proverbial other cheek takes Christlike humility and a strength impossible to fathom. Undoubtedly, you were the greatest among us. You were our servant leader.

There’s plenty of empirical evidence to suggest doing good does indeed make whole. Besides, the bible says so and everyday life says it too. John D Rockefeller became America’s first millionaire at the youthful age of thirty three and its first billionaire at the age of fifty three. He was so ill by this time, he was advised to put his things in order as he wouldn’t see fifty four. Crackers and milk had become his staple diet as he couldn’t ingest anything else. Despite his stupendous wealth, people hanging him in effigies on the streets had become a daily occurrence as he lay helpless on his deathbed. Such was the hatred towards this shrewd businessman. Rockefeller was proud to call himself a Christian and it was evident for all to see that God blessed him with unprecedented wealth but up to this point he was yet to experience Good Success. The sort of success Tabitha, better known as Dorcas enjoyed that when she died, all those positively touched by her selfless service to humanity quickly sent for Jesus’s disciple Peter. They fervently prayed God would use him to resurrect her so she could continue her good work. No, no-one wishes for such a person to die. One night, unable to sleep, Rockefeller sought the face of God and He answered him thus in a vision:

“All the money in the world will do you no good in heaven or hell. Your job and responsibility are to give it away.”

Rockefeller got the message loud and clear. He now knew his purpose. He now knew why God blessed him with the power to create wealth. He now knew what he had to do so the blessings which had brought him great riches could also bring him true joy and not sorrow. Having heard from God he also now knew what the missing link was to his complete self-realisation. As he lay on his deathbed it dawned on him that he had no time to waste as he prepared to meet with the Lord. He accepted that even with his almost unlimited resources he wasn’t in any position to stay the hand of God but as long as he still had breath in him, he could at least do his utmost to determine where he would go next, heaven or hell. He quickly set things in motion and established the John D. Rockefeller Foundation. Some would say his philanthropy changed the course of the world. Why? Its resources have been utilised to permanently erase many life threatening diseases known to mankind since then. Already on his last legs, John D Rockefeller did not only experience a miraculous healing but was made whole. As he discovered his true calling, he received the peace of mind that comes with it. That often elusive rest round about which we all seek. His inner healing led to his physical healing and he eventually died at the age of ninety seven.

When we believe in the word of God and exhibit faith by living as he has purposed, we are entitled to enjoy His blessings. We don’t just receive the blessings as Rockefeller did during the first half of his life but we enjoy the blessings like he did in the second half. The word of God tells us various incontrovertible signs will accompany us who believe and one of these signs is the casting out of demons from those possessed and harassed by the devil. Does this mean those captured by the evil antics of the devil always have to fall down in a heap after exorcism before you know they have been delivered? I don’t contend that some do but is this always the case? That Christlike spirit to help others, which casts out the oppressive spirits of the devil is a sure sign of those who believe. Help that delivers those captured by depression, poverty, hopelessness, fear, anxiety, despondency, worry, sickness is a definite sign of those who believe. Those who go about doing good as Jesus did show they believe.

Bros Kay, you went about doing good. You were always there for your immediate family just as you were for us your younger ones. Selflessly you carried our burdens, as if you had none of your own. Just as Rockefeller gave all, you gave all of yourself touching countless of souls. Always lending a helping hand even when you may have needed such help yourself. Through thick and thin you were always there. Just as in the case of Dorcas, no one wanted you to go. None was in any way prepared to accept that. In those wee hours of the morning, Pastors were called, Elders were woken up but this time, it was not to be. The Lord turned a deaf ear as He held on tightly to His saint. Yes, Rockefeller was graciously given a new lease of life on his deathbed but I also know that’s when his life really begun. For you, there were no wasted years. For want of a better term, you hit the ground running. You not only did well but you did good.

Broa(my form of “brother” that I always called you), you had an uncanny ability to make everyone feel so important, to feel relevant; no matter the age, no matter the status. Pretence can only be sustained for some time. Sooner or later, the real self will surely manifest for all to see. Your love was not the type which now seems to be in vogue; adorned like a beautiful dress for the world to admire only to be swiftly discarded when it’s no longer expedient but as we Yorubas will say, smoke must emit; and so does one’s character.

It still baffles me why our leaders don’t seem to get this. If you want people to follow or support you, be genuine and make them know they matter. Their feelings matter, their opinions matter, their welfare(well being) matters. Speak with them and not just at them. Do this and the billions you spend to buy their support can instead be spent on those things that let them know they matter.

True to type, for you there were no long goodbye’s. No unnecessary fanfare. Dignified simplicity in life and so too in passing. Never one to put anyone out, you commenced your final journey when no-one was watching. Till daybreak all I could utter between uncontrollable tears was, “I can’t believe my brother is gone”. Possibly my darkest moment. Almost certainly the most devastating. Never to be forgotten.

John Olukayode omo Akande, it’s been two years now. A nationally celebrated ace cricketer and captain of the prestigious Igbobi College school team back in the days. Room mate to his lifelong dear friends, Inam Udoma and Pastor Eskor Mfon while at Nigeria’s premier university, the University of Ibadan; contemporary of Lord Sebastian Coe, the President of the International Association of Athletics Federations at Loughborough University UK. Broa, we’re so proud of you, not just because of your obvious laudable achievements but because in rare obedience to our Lord, you indeed went about doing good. Sleep on.

Changing the nation…one mind at a time.


Dapo Akande

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