By Demba Kandeh
Student union leaders at the University of The Gambia have denounced African heads of states for failing to deliver on their responsibilities of propelling the continent into the orbit of development.
“It is disheartening to know that most if not all problems on the African continent are rooted in the lack of good leadership”, a student leader said. “We must take our time to change the situation,” another one said, quickly adding that these changes should take place without violence. These student enthusiasts were speaking at a leadership training workshop organized by the University of the Gambia Students Union (UTGSU), over the weekend, at the university’s Brikama campus at the entrance of Brikama Town in the Western Region.
Speaking at the occasion, Pastor Sunday Olanipekun, chief executive officer of War Room Gambia (the Gambian branch of a Nigeria based marketing firm), told participants that poverty, corruption, diseases, wars and conflicts on the African continent were all the results of leadership crisis.
“Take any nation on the continent, there is leadership predicament,” Pastor Olanipeum said. He went on to emphasize that leadership and integrity are mutually inclusive, but that ‘‘in Africa what we have is leadership without integrity. There is a difference between holding leadership position and being a leader. A leader should have the capacity to rally men and women to a common purpose for a common good. This is made easy if one possesses a character which inspires confidence.”
According to the outspoken Pastor, many leaders on the continent today are plagued by integrity crisis from the government to the business community and other organizations. “What most of them have not noticed is the inseparability of leadership and integrity. Once you lose integrity, it becomes impossible for you to maintain a good lead. In Africa, once they [the leaders] lose the grip, they try any means at their disposal and this is what always results in force.”
For his part Dr. Abee Abraham of Haggai Institute of Management, dilated on the topic paradigms shifts.
He said he was discouraged by the situation on the continent, ‘‘but I believe that we can effect positive change.”
Dr. Abraham urged participants in particular and the African people in general to change their attitudes. He then called for the decolonization of minds on the continent.
Ousman Bojang, president of UTGSU, gave the welcoming address, while Kumbel Good, the students union’s Information and Public Relation Officer, gave the vote of thanks.
Student Unionists Scold African Leaders
By Demba Kandeh