It’s Friday the15th of April 2016 and as usual it’s the only day I get some respite from the monotony of academic work. I initially planned to get some good rest as usual but there was a program making waves on social media dubbed “ Ghana Tertiary Student Leadership Conference” slated to happen at Trinity Hall, Central University College . This program is an initiative of Echo of leadership Africa in collaboration with Central University College.
I have a keen interest in matters of leadership even though ironically I have never vied for any major leadership position apart from being a class prefect way back in Primary school and being a leader of an academic class group of which I can confidently say that I’ve discharged my duties effectively.
The speakers billed to grace the program were Professor Kwesi Yankah ( President, Central University), Professor Stephen Adei ( Former Rector, GIMPA), Rev Dr. Joyce R. Aryee (Pro-Chancellor Central University), Bishop Samuel Noi Mensah (President, full Gospel Church International), Kojo Oppong Nkrumah & Hon. Sam Okudjeto Ablakwa ( Deputy Minister of Education in charge of Tertiary, Ghana).
Professor Adei, Bishop .N. Mensah and Hon. Okudzeto Ablakwa were able to make it.Rev Dr.Joyce Aryee was represented by Mr Bayon Taylor.Professor Adei, Rev Dr. Joyce Aryee,and Bishop Noi Mensah were the main reasons why I went for this conference. I must confess that Professor Stephen Adei is an Avatar of knowledge and a cornucopia of Wisdom. I first encountered Professor Adei at a leadership conference Organized by Bishop Titi Offei at the World Trade Centre earlier this year and I was wowed by his exposition on leadership related issues. He was very articulate,poignant and tackled issues without fear or favor. I’ve always admired Dr. Joyce Aryee for her achievements as a lady. She has changed the status quo where ladies are always regarded as fit for minor jobs and has thrived in male dominated territories. She is an epitome of what an Akora( Old student of Achimota School) stands for. i.e “serve as a living water to a thirsty land” and am proud to be a member of the Akora Fraternity. Bishop Noi Mensah won my heart when he delivered a vociferous presentation on the need for visionary leadership in Ghana during the African Youth In Leadership summit 2015 Organized by Echo of Leadership Africa.
Prof Stephen Adei in making his key note address raised some thought provoking questions which I think every Ghanaian should also be asking themselves.
What do we mean when we talk about leadership?
How critical is leadership to nation Building?
What sort of leaders leave positive development legacies?
What role can we as a people play when it comes to leadership?
How can we ensure leadership improvement and what is the role of Universities when it comes to leadership of the nation?
Professor Adei in his exposition revealed that, Leadership is cause when it comes to national development and everything is effect. He further went on to say that, Leadership is more than position and authority. Leadership is about changing the status quo. He made reference to the likes of Singapore and other South Eastern Asian countries that, most of their leaders used a period of nineteen years to lift their countries from 3rd world to 1st world countries. He attributed the woes of Ghana and other African countries to dysfunctional leadership. He succinctly described the quality of leadership in Ghana as abysmal.
Professor Adei attributed the development of South Eastern Asian countries to factors like Prolonged period of peace and national unity, a leadership that was committed to national development,capable patriotic think tanks( Because development is brain intensive), Credible and realistic national development agenda, capable public administration, enhanced program of changing the mindset of citizens in terms of work ethics and sustained efforts to put in place socio economic infrastructures in the area of education, health,energy etc.
He further went on to say that, some Features of political leadership that builds nations is the willingness of political leaders to change the status quo, leaders with the help of think tanks providing developmental strategies, the ability of political leaders to appoint capable people to fill cabinet positions, and the ability of political leaders to put in place relevant systems and efficient management of the Economy.
Prof Stephen Adei advocated that, accountability must not just be about projects that a government has executed but it should reflect value for money.
He charged the various universities to create a platform where political aspirants can present their various manifestoes to be analyzed and debated by students . He said the universities have a role to play when it comes to general elections. He made reference, to Nigeria’s recent elections where lecturers, professors and students played the role of polling agents and this was a contributing factor that made their elections successful and credible.
He therefore entreated participants at the program not to be swayed by the slogans of the various political parties but rather focus on the policies that political aspirants bring on board.
I must admit that, it was worth it sacrificing my holiday to partake in this insightful and educative convocation. It is essential that, as future leaders of this nation we should partake in conferences like this to learn from great men like Professor Stephen Adei who have achieved a lot in terms of leadership so that when the onus falls on us to take up the mantle of leadership, we would be able to positively transform the fortunes of this country.
I tip my hat to Richmond Anim Damoah the C.E.O. of Echo of leadership Africa and the SRC of Central University for putting up such a mind blowing event.
I would write on the exposition of the other speakers in my subsequent posts.