Leadership 360-Degrees Summit – “LURA”
The automatic question I was asked by almost everyone I told I was going to Kumasi in the last weekend of October 2023 was, “are you going for a funeral? While I found the question disconcerting, I was not surprised considering the Tourism boss’s recent statement on 25th September 2023 below:
“We will find funerals at places where there are tourist attractions. When they finish the funeral, the people will be served local dishes and drinks including sobolo so that when we finish, we will bus them to these tourist attractions.
Ghanaians love funerals, and it’s voluntary. When there is a funeral here, we will announce that we can go to Bonwire. People are selling Kente there, and when they go there, they will spend money.
“We are busing them for free, so when we go to that area, there are restaurants there; they will buy food; they will buy artefacts. They will enrich the local economy. So we will take advantage of funerals to deepen our cultural assets and thereby create jobs for our youth.” (Google)
At the same time in Kenya during the Africa Climate Summit, Kenyan President William Ruto, leveraging on Kenya’s comparative advantage in tea production, was lobbying Ghana as a destination for tea export!
Sadly, while others are thinking hard for economic options for development, we are considering leveraging on our penchant for dead bodies to promote funeral-tourism as a viable foreign-exchange earner.
Fortunately, my four-day stay in Kumasi over October’s last weekend was not funeral-related. So what took me to Kumasi?
I went for a Leadership Summit dubbed “Leadership 360 Degrees - ‘LURA’ (Learn, Unlearn, Relearn, Accelerate)”. The brainchild of a former Army Paratroop Captain Dr Victor Abbey, the Leadership Summit brought together tertiary and secondary students, participants from the Ghana Armed Forces, Police, Immigration and people from all walks of life. It was called 360 Degrees because the summit examined Leadership from all angles.
A high-powered team of speakers educated the participants on various topics/aspects of Leadership as follows:
Dr Farouk Khailann (CEO, Premium Africa Holdings) - The Ghana and Africa we want: The Leadership Perspective
Mrs Adwoa Konadu Dsane (Founder & President Ghana Thyroid Foundation) - Servant Leadership
Dr Ebenezer Kwakye Agyemang (Maj Rtd), Leadership/Security Risk Analyst – Key Tenets of Leadership and Discipline.
Ms Ama Amoah (CEO, Ghana –India Trade Advisory Chamber) - The Selfless Leadership Mindset
Mr Mark Obeng-Apau (Leadership, Risk and Global Affairs Consultant and Analyst) – Leadership and Culture
Dr Asare-Bediako (Country Director - Chartered Institute of Leadership and Governance, Ghana) – Leadership, Governance and Development
Dr Evans Duah (Lecturer and Finance Expert) – Leadership and Wealth Creation
Manye Naa Tsotsoo Soyoo 1 (President, National Congress of Ghanaian Unions – UK: The Global Female Leadership Perspective. (VIA ZOOM)
Dr (Mrs) Genevive Pearl Duncan-Obuobi, Lead Consultant, Tarragon Edge Ltd – Developing Leadership Skills through Networking. (VIA ZOOM)
The Summit which was chaired by Brig Gen Dan Frimpong (Rtd) generated a lot of interest and discussion with the participants asking many questions on Leadership.
To the age-old question as to whether leaders are born or made, the participants were told that, even if individuals are born leaders, training improves them to be better leaders. Leaders are therefore both born and made.
A topic that generated a lot of interest was whether Culture affects Leadership. Starting with a definition of Culture as the totality of a people’s way of life from birth to death, examples were given on how culture impacts on leadership. In our Ghanaian situation, an offender often has a delegation of family, elders, priests and highly-placed individuals in society going to beg the authority for clemency for the offender. Where the authority insists the law take its course, he/she becomes a public enemy for doing the right thing, and rather gets vilified as a bad person. In the process, the offender/criminal rather attains sainthood.
The topic on Leadership and Discipline had the speaker quote the Military Honour Code in many Military Academies. It is also called the “Chetewode Motto” named after its originator British Lt Gen Philip Chetewode who used it the first time at the inauguration of the Indian Military Academy in 1932.
The safety, honour and welfare of your country comes first.
The Honour, welfare and comfort of the men you command next.
Your own, ease, comfort and safe come last all the time.
It was emphasized that, even though this is a military doctrine, it appears in all facets of life as it underscores selflessness as a prime ingredient in Leadership. Participants were also reminded of televangelist Billy Graham’s quote that,
“When Wealth is lost, nothing is lost.
When Health is lost, something is lost
When Character is lost, all is lost.”
The importance of Integrity/character as an important attribute of Leadership was emphasised. Without it, one cannot claim to be a leader.
In the 1965 Summer graduation of cadets at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, UK, Queen Elizabeth told the cadets, “remember always that, the best and purest form of leadership, is by EXAMPLE!”
Can Ghanaian leaders tell God when/if they pray that, they are leading by example? The participants did not think so!
Leadership 360-Degrees “LURA” Summit held in Kumasi on 27th October 2023 was a success. Beneficiaries of lectures were Tertiary/Secondary students, members of the Ghana Armed Forces, Police, Immigration and the general public.
They confirmed that, Leadership as they see it now, characterized by arrogance, greed/ostentation, violates all principles of selflessness, integrity and moral-conscience. The negative traits must be eliminated if Ghana is to develop as a nation. Insincere rhetoric must give way to honesty.
The importance of leaving a good legacy/name for which a good leader will be remembered was emphasized.
Leadership, lead! Fellow Ghanaians, WAKE UP!
The writer is a Former CEO, African Peace Support Trainers Association, Nairobi, Kenya and Council Chairman
Family Health University College, Accra