(BY NGOZI ADIGHIBE)
The Most Rev. Nicholas D. Okoh, Primate of All Nigeria Anglican Communion and Bishop of the Diocese of Abuja has admonished Clergymen, husbands and political leaders to follow the example of Christ, who practiced servant leadership. He said that Clergymen must be servant leaders for their ministry to be successful and political leaders need to do same for the country to move forward. He made this known during the Maundy Thursday service of Holy Communion, washing of feet and blessing of oil held at the Chapel of the Advent, Wuse Zone 5, Abuja. Primate Okoh said that many men misconstrue the fact that they are said to be the “head of the home” to mean that they are to relax and be treated as kings in the home; adding that the true meaning is that they are the chief servant of the home and expected to work to ensure that all that is needed is provided for the members of the household. He said that if the head of the household refuses to serve, then he has forfeited his authority.
Speaking on the topic, “Servant leadership,” the Bishop of Abuja Anglican diocese pointed out that servant leadership is based on the principle of self-denial. In other words, according to him, a leader should be one who is willing to inconvenience him or herself to serve those who need to be served. Quoting from the Scriptures, Primate Okoh highlighted the importance of servant leadership as observed in the life of Jesus. He said that Jesus carried out an activity that was at that time known to be done only by servants for their masters. He said that Jesus washed the feet of His disciples signifying that true leadership should be one of servanthood, where the one in charge is willing to serve the followers.
Archbishop Okoh emphasized that leaders are to serve, and followers are to obey. He stressed that leaders are entitled to obedience, which according to him is important, not only because it helps man live peacefully on earth, but also because it is a rule in heaven. He cited from the Bible, miracles Jesus performed, pointing out that obedience preceded every miracle recorded in the Bible. Hence, the Cleric admonished all to be obedient and follow the rules, because it is only those who obey that will experience miracles and eat the good of the land.
The Primate of All Nigeria concluded his message with an appeal to political leaders to serve those who elected them, especially those in the rural communities. He said that to serve as servants does not mean that the government has no authority; adding that it has full powers. He added that the people owe the government obedience, while the government owes the people service that can be seen and appreciated. He brought his point home by charging leaders present at the service to live up to the expectation and burden of leadership given to them, because that is the only recommendation that will entitle them to ask for more leadership positions. Primate Okoh said the leader is entitled to obedience, but he or she must serve without grumbling, because that is what legitimizes the authority he or she has been given.
Highpoints of the service include the washing of feet of all present and thanksgiving offering to God Almighty. Present at the service were the Clergy and Lay Ministers of the Diocese of Abuja, some Diocesan officials, staff of the Episcopal House/Primate’s office and some parishioners of the diocese of Abuja.