Victoria Praise Abraham is an author and the chief executive officer of Vic-Abraham Media Nigeria Limited. In this interview with JOSEPHINE OKOJIE, she spoke about her book on Pastor Adeboye and lessons in good leadership. Excerpts:
Kindly tell us about VIC-Abraham Media Limited?
VIC-Abraham Media Limited, started operations in 2011 and that was the same year that I published my debut book titled ‘Treasures’. I am very passionate about writing. I write motivational books, songs, and poetry. I also contribute to several publications in Nigeria. I dream and plan to use my kind of writing to inspire and change the world one step at a time for good. My kind of writing is powerful inspirational, instructive insightful and engaging. Writing for me is both a calling and a passion.
What inspired you to take up writing as a career?
I grew up with a very strong passion for reading. My earlier reading was from books from Wole Soyinka, Chinua Achebe and the likes of such authors. I also read some of Shakespeare’s books as a teenager and young adult. My love for reading and for books grew over time and by the time I was about 30 years old I began to read inspirational books from the likes of John Maxwell, Anthony Robbins, Joyce Meyer, Joel Osteen, Bishop David Oyedepo, Mike Murdock and Myles Munroe. All these readings helped shape my mind greatly and around 1996 I started writing my thoughts and ideas down on paper on a more regular basis. This snowballed into my first book and when I suffered from depression around 1998, I then began to use writing as a form of therapy. By 2011 I took on the bold and courageous decision to take to writing as a career, I guess my earlier exposures to these great writers must have sowed the seed of writing in my subconscious and the passion and gifting just came to the fore over time and in the place of adversity.
Your new book focuses on true and effective leadership as inspired by Adeboye: What influenced your focus?
Leadership is life. Leadership is important, critical and necessary in every facet of life. What is missing more than anything in the world today is true and effective leadership? We need leaders at home, in our schools and in our communities and nations. We are where we are today as a nation because of the failure of leadership. I have always been fascinated by the leadership style and attributes of the man called Adeboye.
Pastor Adeboye is my spiritual father. I have sat under his teachings since 2000. I have silently watched him from afar. His simplicity, his timeliness, his integrity, love for the common man and for the salvation of lost souls everywhere he goes. I have been intrigued by his audacity of faith and his amazing spirituality. In 2018, I got a strong leading from the Lord God to write a leadership book on the man many calls ‘Daddy G. O’. I needed to write about him for posterity and also for the upcoming serious leaders of our time to glean from his leadership style, and attributes.
What is the title of your new book, and what inspired the title?
My new book is titled ‘Iconic Leader – Pastor E. A. Adeboye – Lessons in Leadership’. When I decided to write a book on Adeboye, the very respected and loved general overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, I knew it had to be a book on his leadership style and attributes.
What do you consider as critical lessons in leadership?
The concept of leadership is both interesting and intriguing. It is also very complex yet simple. To lead you must first have been a good follower. You cannot lead if you do not have a servant-heart because true leadership is about service. A master is not a leader. Leadership is knowing the way, and showing it. It is about character, competence, capacity, and compassion. Many today are leading without any kind of vision or heart. They lack the power of leadership because they are blinded by selfish ambition. They see the position of leadership as the place of power and domination. There is nothing further than the truth than this. To lead others you must first be able to lead yourself because you cannot give what you do not have. Leadership has many facets and many vistas. To be a true and effective leader you must be both tough and loving. You must be both soft and hard. Every true and effective leader must be willing to pay the price of leadership which is very hard and challenging. Leadership is not for the lily-livered. It is a tough job that requires that you be the first to arrive and the last to leave. A true and effective leader must be courageous, bold and very decisive. Leadership is about responsibility, accountability, dependability, and reliability.
Can you give us a summary of your new book?
The book ‘Iconic Leader-Pastor E. A. Adeboye-Lessons in Leadership is a book that highlights the 12 leadership attributes of Adeboye including, in no particular order, his visionary prowess, his courage, integrity, strategic planning and organisation, humility, hard-work, compassion, discipline and diligence, time-keeping abilities, effective communicator and spirituality. I interviewed leaders situated in Nigeria and the USA who have had close contact and ties with Pastor Adeboye and whose leadership styles have been greatly impacted by him. Among those interviewed are; Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, vice-president, Pastor Ituah Ighodalo, Oby Ezekwesili, Tonye Cole and Prof Adeyewa former vice-chancellor of the Redeemers’ University in the book, among others.
The book is written in simple language, engaging and insightful. It is full of leadership lessons both from the subject of the book and from the other contributors who were interviewed in the making of the book.
The foreword of the book was written by Prof. Z, Debo Adeyewa the former Vice Chancellor of the Redeemers University. There are eleven chapters in the book in 265 pages.
What do you aim to achieve with the book?
I have three important reasons for writing this great and amazing leadership book on Adeboye. The first is to capture the leadership attributes as particularly seen and understood by me after seating under his teachings for over 20 years.
I wanted to honour the legacy of this great and amazing statesman who has singularly been helped by God to shape millions of lives both in Africa and on the global stage. I also wanted the younger generation of leaders to learn from a great leader who exudes great simplicity and effectiveness both in his personal life, his ministry and as a statesman in Nigeria and as a global leader. My third reason was to challenge myself to write what will be one of my greatest books ever written. I know that I will yet write greater and better books in the future but this book will forever stand in its own class because of the subject of the book.
What are your personal thoughts on the leadership style of most African leaders and especially with leaders in the Nigerian space?
Most African leaders are not selfless neither do they want to serve but rather want to be served. We also have the problem of old age with most African leaders. They have refused to quit even when most of them are now tired and spent and can no longer properly lead. It is unfortunate that one of the greatest problems we have in Africa as a continent is that of no leadership, poor leadership and bad leadership. We have a few bright lights shining in this regard in Africa but most African leaders need to better understand the true meaning of leadership. Leadership is influence. Leadership is service. Leadership is about integrity and accountability. Unfortunately what we have presently in Africa amongst our leaders is rulership. We have rulers in Africa and not leaders. We need a paradigm shift from rulership to true leadership and until this happens we will continue to grapple with lack of development and lack of growth in Africa in general and in Nigeria in particular.
What advice would you give to our current leaders so that we can have better leaders emerging from Africa?
We need our leaders to embrace the true spirit of leadership which is service, service and more service. Leaders should have the heart of a servant and not that of a ruler. Africa is dominated by rulers this even plays out in our family settings. The men see their role as that of a ruler rather than as a lover. We need to imbibe the spirit of love, care and compassion in order to properly lead our teeming persons. We must not seek political positions in order to deplete our common patrimony. We must decide to lead in order to serve, to give of our time, talents and courage. It must be about developing the generality of our peoples rather than amassing wealth just for ourselves and our cronies. We must have love and compassions for those we intend to lead not merely manipulate, use and dump them after they have voted us into office.
True leaders must be prepared to die for their people. Leadership is a sacrifice. Until we have a rejig of our thoughts on the real concept of leadership we will continue to sink in the mire of backwardness and shame. We will never really soar in our collective drives in life both as a people and as a nation or a continent.