The President of Life Africa and the Presenter of ”Leading Right” Gateway Radio, Abeokuta, Abiodun Fijabi, has urged leaders and indeed Nigerians to develop the craft of public speaking, stressing that their impact and relevance in life depended on it. He made these remarks on Saturday May 9, 2009 while delivering a paper at the Strategic Leadership Summit specially organized for Ministers of the Gospel, scholars, administrators, business executives, PR Practitioners, Bible College Community, undergraduates and youth leaders by the Strategic Leadership Academy at the Redeemer’s University Auditorium.

Quoting copiously from the scriptures and using the biblical “Beatitudes” as his main point of reference, Fijabi explained how Jesus Christ influenced positively his audience through the power of words.

Earlier, the convener of the summit and president of the Strategic Leadership Academy, Mark Ighile had spoken on the theme of the conference: ”The Leader and His Publics” and explained that the leader was essentially a public relations practitioner. Citing Genesis 24 and I Samuel 20 as his biblical areas of emphasis, Pst Ighile, who is a Lecturer in the Department of English, Redeemer’s University, itemized some fundamental principles of leadership and public relations to include the following:

(i.) Every leader is an image maker
(ii.) The leaders’ greatest asset are the people.
(iii.) The leader does not have a second chance of making the first impression
(iv.) The leader’s personality is tied to his effectiveness in public relations
(v.) The way the leader interacts with people matters a lot.

Ighile concluded his lead paper by giving the audience practical tips for effective PR. According to him, leaders should endeavour to be gracious in outlook, dress well, be humble, watch their voice and tone, be of good character, be environment-friendly, be sensitive to the needs of the people, and be positive.

The paper entitled “Character and Charisma in Leadership” was presented by the Director of Operations, Vita Malt, Lagos, Ademola Richards. In his words “A good leader is not only expected to be fair in his judgment and dealings with his followers, he must also be trusted, sincere, straight-forward, of sound mind and truthful. Whenever a leader is perceived to be playing double standards, he loses followers outrightly.

Ademola Richards argued that charisma, when mixed with character, makes a better “condiment” for successful leadership, adding that a charismatic leader who was lacking in character would always be exposed. He then stressed the need for a delicate balance.

Joseph Olutunmida, President of Rehoboth Ministering Lagos and Leadership Consultant who was the last speaker at the summit, made a presentation on “Leadership and Environment”. According to him, an effective leader is one who understands the intricacies of his environment and tries to offer direction bearing in mind the peculiarities of his immediate surrounding. It was his argument that without a consciousness of the uniqueness of an environment of operation a leader would be totally irrelevant.

Participants were drawn from the staff and students of the Redeemer’s University, the Redeemed Christian Bible College, and the Ibadan-Lagos axis of Christian leaders and professionals.


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