Address to the International Leadership Conference, Nairobi, Kenya, August 29-31, 2008
Delivered by H.E. Dr. Chijoke Wilcox Wigwe, fwe
The theme, “Towards a New Paradigm of Leadership and Good Governance for Development and Peace,” is today more apt than ever before, particularly for the African continent.
It is sad to note that despite the efforts of men of goodwill, governmental and nongovernmental organizations from all parts of the world since the end of the Second World War in 1945, conflicts have not only generally been on the increase but have also persisted around the globe – in Africa, Europe, Asia, the Middle East and the Americas, usually with devastating consequences and massive loss of human lives and destruction of properties.
These conflicts undoubtedly have their roots in real or perceived injustices, unfairness, lack of equity, poverty, human deprivation, oppression, intolerance, greed and poor governance. Added to these is the challenge of the scourge of global terrorism and the enormous threats it poses to human civilization.
The current face-off between the Russian Federation and the European Union and the United States of America on the crisis in Georgia could, if not skillfully handled, create conditions that are capable of snowballing into what may be described as a Second Cold War.
The aforementioned conflict situations only underscore the importance of a caring, responsive and responsible leadership obligated to the welfare of the people. A good leader has a responsibility to God for his or her position and actions, since leadership is ordained only by the omnipresent God himself.
Indeed, leadership is the single most important factor for human development, societal peace and progress. Leadership can either make or mar; it can build or destroy. Examples of dividends of good leadership abound in many countries around the world, just as there are many instances of how poor and irresponsible leadership has brought destruction and mayhem to innocent citizens and others. Poor leadership and bad governance could also lead a nation state to fail and lose not only its sovereignty but its ability to protect and promote the welfare of its people as well as provide their most basic needs, including maintenance of law and order.
As leaders, we bear enormous responsibility for being in the vanguard of persistent and untiring advocacy for world peace and unity. I also commend the emphasis on interreligious and faith-based dialogue, harmony and peaceful co-existence among all religions, as well as promoting God-centered marriages and families.
The family is the smallest unit of society, where the value system, orientation, stereotype, the prejudices, biases and goodness of the infant child as a future leader are imprinted. Therefore, the importance of the family and the upbringing of the infant child therein at the global state can not be overemphasized.