"Why is it that people long for political power, and why, when they have achieved it, are they so reluctant to give it up?" (President Václav Havel of Czechoslovakia)
Political power as Václav Havel noted was a result of several factors that behoove men and women in search of power. The three are essentially what can be termed as the trilogy of power. These are namely: "Ideas about a better way to organize society, by faith in certain values or ideals, be they impeccable, or dubious, and the irresistible desire to fight for those ideas and turn them into reality."
The second as Václav would suggest is: "They are probably motivated by the natural longing of every human being has for self-affirmation." The third reason proposed by Havel is, "Many people long for power and are so reluctant to part with it because of the wide range of perks that are necessary part of political power – even under the most democratic of conditions."
Václav is not blind to the fact that the three reasons or categories are entwined in a much more complicated way. In fact his paper is a reflection of his personal experience in leadership.
The reasons that he proposes as critical in analyzing leadership are not essentially reprehensible though at time they sound so. This is because they are part of the human psyche and natural to all. The difference is our moral posture as it were. This is because, politics or leadership per se is a projection of the persons or individuals engaged therein.
Paul the eminent architect of Christianity says, 'To the clean everything is clean and to the dirty everything is dirty.
The Genesis narratives on the creation of man propose the three categories, which can also be termed as the trilogy of temptations that Václav seems to have observed in his leadership experience. This is because, man on being placed in the Garden of Eden, three things were expected of him and presented to him. The first being the leadership role, the enjoyment of the perks from the fruits of the Garden and his boundaries and extent of exercising his power.
It is this responsibility and the perks thereof that if not taken in balance, they become vices in themselves. Because, essentially it is the excesses that defile anything no matter how good.
The need for affirmation is also the need for acceptance and positive self-esteem.
The temptation to be lured by the perks or the pleasures that come with power is always there and none of us is immune to it. From wherever we are, whether rich or poor, we all admire those in leadership roles. Sometimes we loath those in leadership simply because they project our negative sides or because they project our failures.
Our country is inundated by individuals clamouring for various political positions in the government and its agencies; some have noble reasons some not so noble and yet it is very difficult to judge at this time. One thing is common with all of them. They believe they have the answers to all our problems.
They believe they can bring the desired change to the community. They will all at this moment never want you to know; that they are also tempted and driven to seek the posts by the perks that accompany the positions they are vying for. Do not be fooled by the fact that some of them are wealthy and some of them not so wealthy.
They should not be condemned wholesale for competing for leadership positions. This is because, our society has created this positions and also put avenues that help in ascending to those positions.
Positions immortalize and in the human psyche, the need to live forever is the greatest quest. Leadership positions help in affirming the archaic human crave for eternity. The fallacy of being immortalized is unfortunately embedded in the perks of material wealth that are part of power in all its forms. Façades built or done by us are extensions of our need to leave our mark as it were to the next generation.
The drive to seek to control others and influence them is the epitome of power. It is naïve for one to be in the race and deny the fact that, part of the reason they are in the race is to usurp power. Of course democratic process has to a large degree justified the desire of power and especially political power.
It has removed the archaic forms of power struggle that often are seen in violent military coups and counter coup.
Losing ones soul for powers' sake is the biggest temptation and the tragedy of leadership failure. People enter into leagues, into secret pacts either formally or informally. Like the now famous MOUs one with LDP and the one with NAMLEF in our political arena or vide the funding that we receive from those supporting our ideals. There are essentially no 'free lunches' in politics.
Those funding us, expect from us favours in return. It is for this reason, that those seeking leadership in the so-called democracies should become vigilant. Because by bowing down to the goddess of wealth and power, you will end up selling your soul and conscience to the devil and once in their clutches, it is your soul or death.
The allure for immortality is there, the temptation of wealth is there too and the enticement of negative or misconstrued affirmation stalks those in leadership positions. The need for vigilance cannot be overstated.
This is because, leadership has its amoral persona; it is up to you to cloth it with an acceptable moral persona. And like Dr. Henry Brandt has stated, "Circumstances don’t determine a person, circumstances rather reveal who you are and have become."
Of course the Living Scripts have stated, "The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favour to the learned; but time and chance happen to all." (Eccl. 9:11)
Time and chance determine who has what, where and when, and it is true that fortune favours those who are prepared. Time and chance belong to the Providence and this is why even after laying down some of our well thought structures and plans we have to acquiesce to the perfect will of our Creator.
By saying if God wills, we will achieve all our dreams. Felicitations for this magical season and a prosperous, happy new year.
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