“Though He Be Dead, He Yet Speaks”: Reflections from the First Tokunboh Adeyemo Memorial Lecture [Part 2]

The second keynote speaker was Prof. Vincent C. Anigbogu. Anigbogu is a Nigerian, and currently the Director General, Institute for National Transformation, which has centers in Atlanta, Nairobi (Kenya), Kampala (Uganda), and Lagos (Nigeria). He is also the President and CEO of the consulting firm, JC (Jesus Christ) Quality Management Group in US, Nigeria, and Uganda. He has a Ph.D. in Analytical Chemistry from the University of Alabama in 1986. He also obtained his M.Sc. in Analytical Chemistry and B.S. in Chemistry from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Indiana, PA in 1981 and 1978, respectively. He has taught, conducted research, and published in the field of analytical Chemistry for nearly 20 years at several universities including Agnes Scott College, Decatur, GA (1992-95) and Clark Atlanta University, Atlanta, GA (1995-2004). Upon discovering his calling into ministry and passion in leadership development, he left the field of chemistry in 2004 to pursue his in passion leading to the establishment of the Institute for National Transformation which now has centers in many countries and growing. Professor Anigbogu dream is to see the development of purposeful leaders who will impact their generation and Africa.[1]

Anigbogu complimented Dr. Kasali by challenging African Christian leaders in all strata of the society to fight for the future of the continent. His discussion was centered around “Facing Brutal Fights about Africa and Its Future.” In the words of Anigbogu, “we are here not so much about hearing speeches but to stand up from here and go out to make positive difference in our continent and in our world.  He quarried that, “how long will it take to convert the knowledge into action in Africa?  He observed that majority of African leaders that went through the best universities in the world have performed below the expectations of their generations and nations. He lamented that, “why go to the best universities in the world and failing to make the best of it in on our land? Why we are so educated and yet lack life enhancing skills?” He noted that Adeyemo’s vision is not only about knowledge; it is knowledge applied with renewal of minds.

He argued that the cause of bad leadership in Africa is due to the fact that the biblical principle of mentoring has been given little or no attention. He noted that the Lord aims at using the many new Christian universities springing up across Africa as avenues to correct that wrong. According to Anigbogu, the new generation universities started especially by new generation Churches aim at helping students major on how to solve problems facing our continent. He advised that the Church leaders should learn to use biblical principles to respond to Challenges facing Africa. This according to him “is a major shift already understood by some new generation universities in Africa.’’ He counseled stakeholders in university administration in Africa to rethink their approaches to education in Africa. Anigbogu added that, well thought-out policies and problem-solving approach to studies will not only produce great minds but it would also help our universities rival the best universities around the world.

Anigbogu observed dependency mind-set as another factor responsible for poor leadership in Africa. He described it as sad that even in the 21st century many African leaders still seek developmental help from abroad when we are already due for creating competitive opportunities. This according to him explains why we are always looking for aids and yet we have been immensely endowed by the Almighty God with several resources. Many mineral resources have been taken away by nations that have learned to process and later sold to us. According to Vincent, those nations are able to perform far better than we do because of their mind-set, dominion mind-set.  It is therefore a challenge to university leaders to raise leaders with dominion mindsets. Anigbogu concluded that only leaders with such minds could bring positive and transformational change to our society. He noted that events surrounding the life of  Tokunboh Adeyemo show lived and died for the cause of leadership in Africa. Anigbogu challenged his audience to learn from the life of Adeyemo. Anigbogu concluded his speech with a big and heart-searching question begging for answer by all who attended the meeting: “if you die today will you be remembered for what you consumed or what you created/contributed?”

In his closing remarks, Dr. Douglas Carew, the Vice Chancellor of Africa International University noted that, “if Byang Kato envisioned NEGST [Nairobi, Evangelical Graduate School of Theology, now Africa International University); Tokunboh Adeyemo midwifed it.

Carew added that what we now have as Africa International University was a dream of Adeyemo. He remembered Adeyemo as a scholar and thinker per excellence. Carew argued that for Africa to move from a depending to productive continent; we must pay urgent attention to research.  Research according to Carew is key to producing transformational leadership! Carew was however quick to add that, “transformation of mind is not enough; we need continuous renewal of mind.  He explained that Romans 12:1-2 reveals that transformation of the mind is essential to developing Christians of integrity, noble character, and value; and that is evident in the life of Paul the Apostle by the virtue of his encounter with Christ on his way to Damascus. Carew argued that Christians must be renewed in their minds, wills [commitment] and their worship of God to be able to make any positive impact in the society.

In conclusion, Dr. Douglas Carew recommended that for the Church to able to sufficiently respond to the challenges facing our continent today it needs to take note of the following:

1.      Have a clear view of the gospel: The great dichotomy between the secular and sacred should be discouraged as much as possible in order to have a gospel that reflective and engaging. The dichotomy between the secular and sacred only shows the gospel as a privatized enterprise.

2.      Develop a clear view of Christian society: Why is the Church in Africa so vocal on what we are against but very quiet on what it stands for? What is our identity? We need to have a clear understanding of not just Christian principle but also of Christian virtues.

3.      We need a bigger picture of the Christian society as seen by Adeyemo.

4.      African Church leaders need to understand of current intellectual discuss, ideas, and structural arrangement that forms societies. We should not under-estimate the power of thinking. This is essential for us to be able to engage the social, political, economic and other issues that could shape our continent. We should be able to critique those rationales from a Christian perspective. Hence the need to have Christian professionals in all strata of our society.

5.      Christian leaders must note that reflective engagement calls for developed strategies for change.

[1] “Vincent Anigbogu” on Beulah Heights University Website, http://www.beulah.org/Staff.aspx?id=Vincent.Anigbogu culled on March 28, 2011.

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