The dominant values in a society shape individual’s response to issues. I live in a country where I as a pastor cannot hide our church’s finance from the government and from the members. I cannot use church money for personal business. I cannot apply scriptural principles on the administration of church’s finances because the ministry doesn’t belong to me. I must publish our ministry’s income and expense statements through our accountant to a dedicated Government website. Despite being the founder of the ministry, I cannot go to the bank to withdraw huge amount of money without being queried about the source and purpose of the funds. What does that do to me? It deepens in me the values of accountability and transparency. I cannot quote scriptures to the government in my society that they should not touch me as God’s anointed. If I do, I am on my way to jail. By so doing, everyone respects the law to certain degrees. There is leadership integrity, fairness, transparency, and equity to certain degree.
Despite the fact that there are still lots of crooks in my own society because no society is free from evil, we are still above average in the values of transparency and accountability. It is this value system that shapes my thoughts, actions, messages, and teachings. Now, if you live in a country where the dominant values in that society don’t support transparency and accountability, and there is an endemic culture of silence, then both of us won’t be on the same page when discussing issues around transparency. If I tell you that an individual is corrupt by hiding his finances, you will perceive me as critical of that person. But that is not the case. It is because we both live in different societies with different values. I am not critical. I just don’t know how to call evil good. And if we don’t share the same values, we won’t share the same thoughts and the same views.
And the same principle applies in politics, academia, business, and all spheres of influences. To build a working society, prayers and fasting are only one of the building blocks. Transparency and accountability are sacrosanct. And interestingly, they are values that are firmly promoted and entrenched in scriptures. We don’t’ confess greatness. We don’t wish greatness. We work hard at greatness. We create systems and structures that will force people to be accountable and transparent. The people don’t have to agree with the leader. But with time, they will see the results of a transformed society that will be of great benefits to everyone. Sadly, for the most part, many of us want a great nation, but we don’t like to play the ball with the right methods. We want to hoard, hide, cheat, blow, oppress and manipulate and at the same time build a great nation. It ain’t gonna work.
We will pray for the next one thousand years, and things will still remain the way they are. Someone was asked by Charles Spurgeon, “would you betray your nation for $1billion? The man answered, “$1billion..oh let me think. Give me time to think…Then the question was switched. Would you betray your nation for $1? The man replied, “what nonsense is that, do you know who I am? The man of God replied, “I already know who you are”. It all depends on the price. If the right price is paid you will compromise your values. That is exactly how many of us respond to evil.
If it benefits us, we will look the other way and defend it. If it will only benefit others and not us, we will speak against it. If a politician steals money and runs out of the country, we that are not close to him will agree that it is wrong. If he is our uncle, and we have access to him, we will look the other way. If my pastor is actively and unrepentantly living in adultery, everyone not connected to him will speak out against the evil. If he is your pastor, you turn the other way, come online to say, “I celebrate my daddy”, deny the act, and fight with anyone who attempts to correct him. Values like these ruin nations—and corrupt the church until the church—which should be the moral compass of a nation—loses her influence at all fronts.
Here are the demerits of lack of transparency and accountability in my church. Take for example that I have got 2,000 members in my church composed of people from different social status—the rich, the poor, the educated, the illiterate, among others and we make on the average $100,000 from donations, offerings, every month. No one knows how much we make; no one knows how we spend the money; no one knows my worth; no one knows the kind of jobs I do. They see me in brand new cars. They see my fly to New York, Dubai and Toronto on vacation. My children study in Oxford, Yale and Harvard Universities.
My wife adorns herself with the best attires. What will happen? They will begin to suspect me. I will be accused of using church funds for personal use. I will promote in my members the attitude and practice of gossips, character assassinations, envy and jealousy, to mention a few. But why don’t I want the leaders around me to know what we use the money for? Before you say jack, someone will tell me that God has called him to start his own ministry because they also want to control finance. The consequences are far worse than those I have mentioned above.
Let’s come back to politics. Do you want to know why politics in Africa—in particular remains an attractive destination for bad leaders? Because they know that they can steal, rob, cheat, kill and loot and no one will query them. It is either the systems and institutions on ground are not strong enough to resist and prosecute them or the government lacks the political will to enforce all relevant laws. Whatever the case may be, the consequences of either the lack of structures and systems of accountability or the lack of political will are very dire for a nation. They erode values and promote vices.
Transparency and accountability are among the strongest ingredients of national transformation. It strengthens democracies and builds maturity in the church. It curb’s pastors’ excesses and set boundaries around politicians so they don’t become demi-gods in the society. How many of us want a working nation? I am seeing all our hands raised up. How many of us want to pay the price of accountability and transparency in our churches, businesses, homes and government? I can see many hands going down.
We cannot build a working nation on greed and secrecy.
Great nations thrive in an environment of leadership transparency and accountability.
Ayo Akerele is a passionate and profound teacher of the word by the grace of God. His itinerant teaching ministry under different Christian organisations has lasted for many years since he met the lord in the early 1980s. He is the founder of the Voice of the Watchmen Ministries (a.k.a Rhema For Living Assembly) in Ontario, Canada and the convener of the Believers Fire Conference—a quarterly interdenominational believers conference—hosted in major cities around the world.
He is also the host of the weekly Rhema Hour on 32fm—a radio teaching ministry reaching five million people in Southwest Nigeria, and the publisher of “The Voice Newsletter”—a monthly teaching outreach to various states across Nigeria. Ayo Akerele is a public speaker; an entrepreneur; a leadership expert; a national transformation consultant, and the author of twelve books. He holds a doctorate degree in employee turnover, human capital development and organizational tacit knowledge from the prestigious Edinburgh Business School, Heriot Watt University in Scotland, and has worked extensively for more than twenty years as a consultant for multinational corporations in Africa, Europe, and North America before answering the call to ministry. Ayo Akerele is married to Omolara and their marriage is blessed with children.
Dr David Ayo Akerele
Founder, Voice of the Watchmen Ministries, Ontario, Canada
Director, Flock Keepers International (a leadership & value system development organization)
Instagram handle: ayoakerele
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