The Executive Director of the John A. Kufuor Foundation, Professor Baffour Agyeman-Duah, has said the lack of integrity in leadership is the bane of Ghana as well as Africa’s development.
According to him, it is the lack of integrity that had resulted in the drowning of Ghana and Africa in the sea of poverty.
Prof. Agyeman-Duah said this at the 7thgraduation of the Youth Arise Organisation (YAO) Leadership Diary Training Programme (LDTP) in Accra on Tuesday.
Held under the theme: ‘Becoming an agent of change: Making Africa a better place’, the programme saw 110 youth, who had undergone six-month training in leadership, passing out.
Professor Agyeman-Duah, who delivered the keynote address, said in spite of all the resources that Africa was endowed with to make it rich, the continent was underdeveloped and plagued with poverty and conflict, blaming it on bribery and corruption.
“We take pride in saying Africa is richly endowed, with all conceivable resources that should make it the richest continent in the world. Discount the fact of slavery, discount the fact of colonisation, discount the fact of neo-colonialism and discount the favourable global economic system! The greater truth is that bribery and corruption, the two evils that derive from the lack of integrity, are our greatest challenge!” Prof. Agyeman-Duah said.
“The fact is, if our leaders lack integrity, real development will be elusive. Ask yourself, why an Africa leader should be wealthier, at times hundred fold, than European leaders? Do you know that while British Margaret Thatcher was estimated to be worth $6 million, Kamuzu Banda of Malawi was worth $320 million? While Sani Abacha of Nigeria who was known to have more than $6 billion in his accounts, majority of his country people earned just about $350 a year? We also hear that when Abacha’s family returned $750 million of his stolen money, the government could not account for $705 million of that amount?” he added.
Prof. Agyeman-Duah, among others, opined that, “Africa’s problems is not only with politicians, who make deals on big contracts, the police who collect cedis on the road to overlooking driving infractions, the justice system that has been corrupted, parliamentarians who only achieve bipartisanship on self-aggrandising, headmaster/headmistress who extort money from parents before granting admissions to their wards, chiefs or traditional leaders who use custom and tradition to defraud and extort monies from their innocent subjects.”
He said Africa needed transformational leaders, saying: “A transformational leader is a function leader, that is, one who takes up a position and uses that position to change the circumstance of society. A transformational leader is not a position leader. The position leader is the one who only basks in the grandiose and perks of the position he or she occupies.”
Prof. Agyeman-Duah commended the YAO for the programme and also encouraged the graduands to exhibit the knowledge they had gained for the benefit of society.
The Director of YAO, Moses Baffour Awuah said the programme, which was initiated seven years ago, was meant to build the leadership skills of the youth.
He said the 110 youth benefited from this year’s programme and were taken through topics such as entrepreneurship, leadership, communication skills and volunteerism.
By Kingsley Asare