Call for servant leadership in Africa and 'zero tolerance for corruption'

A Christian forum in Cameroon has been given an impassioned call for Bible-based servant leadership from a former Nigerian cabinet minister.

Africa was starved of good leadership, Jerry Gana told the African Biblical Leadership Initiative (ABLI Forum).

Citing a Commission for Africa report, he said: 'At the heart of Africa's numerous problems of severe underdevelopment lies the pathetic weakness of governance and the absence of effective state.'

Former Nigerian cabinet minister Jerry Gana has spoken of the need for good governance in African countries.Andrew Boyd/Bible Society

Gana continued: 'There are few areas in Africa where people are excelling in governance. Development should transform lives. It should lift the community from poverty into prosperity. But in most African countries, what we see is a poverty of good leadership.

'We see this sad reality – the lack of good governance. There is too much corruption, taking over the public good for private use.'

Gana called on Africa's leaders to follow the biblical model. The next generation of African leaders would need to be inspired by the word of God and led by the Holy Spirit – servant leaders with true integrity, he said. They should become servants of their people with 'a zero tolerance for corruption'.

He said, 'Leaders should not have the appetite to acquire – they should have an appetite to serve.'

But the reality today in Africa was far from that.

Speaking to Christian leaders gathered in the Cameroon capital, Yaoundé, Mr Gana called on Africa's future rulers to reject tyranny and show a mercy and compassion that would build up their people:

'Please, leaders, don't kill the people! Don't destroy the people! Live for them, lift them up, protect them, guard them. We see leaders in Africa whose only determination is how to destroy the people and lord it over them. No! You are to serve!'

He described the qualities of a servant leader, as modelled in the Bible: 'All servant leaders love their people. Their motivation is their people. They are passionate for their people. May you be a servant leader!'

Those charged with governing nations, he said, 'need to be robustly in the word of God and guided by the Holy Spirit.'

He described the Bible as a book of inspiration. 'As you wait on the Lord daily, as you pray, the Holy Spirit inspires you, the word of God grants clear vision and light.'

He said God's word would fill leaders with passion to keep them going and never give up. 'The grace and wisdom of the Lord can help the Christian excel in public office with honour and integrity. Make the Bible your friend.'

Gana was addressing the ABLI Forum in Cameroon, an initiative of Bible Society. He described ABLI's task, of raising up African Christian leaders, as 'important, vital and critical', adding, 'I pray that out of here will arise presidents in Africa!'