What Does the Pope’s Resignation Say about True Leadership

Servant_LeadershipThe recent resignation of the Papacy Pope Benedict XVI shocked the world for two reasons. For one, the news of a resigning Pope is not something that is common. The last Pope to resign from office was Pope Gregory XII in 1415. The second reason the resignation of the Pope Benedict XVI shocked us is because we are not used to people in a high position, voluntarily relinquishing power. But the Pope did, and it will forever remain his unrivaled legacy of the 21st century.

Millions all over the world know Pope Benedict XVI as the head of the Catholic Church. Yet he displayed a character trait that the whole world can benefit from, regardless of a person’s religious belief. That hidden aspect of the Pope that is gravely needed as the essential ingredient to restore global stability, tranquility, and social harmony is great leadership. This Honorable, God-centered and people-centric leader stated that his love for the Church is what prompted his resignation. Remember that the Church is the not the building but the people, in order words the Pope resigned out of love for the people, knowing that because of his health, he could no longer serve the people adequately. This act sparks one of the greatest principles of leadership – loving the people that you serve, perhaps even more than you love yourself. Coincidentally, this happens to also be the second component of the Greatest Commandment.

The Nigerian President Jonathan Goodluck showered encomium on Pope Benedict XVI for his display of wisdom and courage by stepping down from his position as the leader of the Roman Catholic Church. Yet, the question that remains is if President Goodluck will learn from the commendable leadership of the Pope and love his own people in like manner? Goodluck recently told his Ivorian counterpart President Alassane Ouattara that African leaders must promote political stability, but the truth is that political stability doesn’t come without a huge price. Is Goodluck ready to pay the price for political stability in Nigeria?

It is no longer news that the 2015 presidential election is on the radar of the Nigerian President, which is pretty common for most politicians. President Goodluck, like every other Nigerian citizen, has the right to exercise his constitutional rights by running for office again. But since Goodluck has been in power, Nigeria has lost its political stability and security by all standards. What if the only panacea for political stability in Nigeria come 2015 is for him not to seek re-election? Is the Nigerian President willing to quit the stage out of his love for Nigeria?

Ultimately, great leadership is not determined by position but by service. Great leadership is also marked by one’s ability to make tough decisions even when such a decision may not benefit the leader. It is my prayer that President Goodluck would model what true leadership looks like, thereby ushering in a new way of governance, not only in Nigeria but Africa at large.

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