There is no Substitute for Information in our Quest for National Development – Dr. David Oyedepo
The Chancellor of Covenant University, Dr. David Oyedepo, has called for a focus on information as a tool for national development.
He made this call at the recently concluded specialized conference, organized by the Covenant University’s African Leadership Development Centre (ALDC), in collaboration with the University’s Library, also known as Centre for Learning Resources (CLR), on the theme, ‘Leadership and Innovation: Cutting Edge Practices for the 21st Century Librarian.’
The Chancellor, who declared the conference open, stated that effective leadership must go beyond collation of facts to completion of goals. He further stated that it does not take time to know where you want to go, but it takes time to get there. He however, said that many people know where to go, but are not committed to doing what it takes to get there.
The Chancellor posited that there is a big leadership gap in Africa, which requires a revolution, a word he defined as a ‘Forceful Turn-around,’ to correct. He said the revolution, however, must be driven by information, which many regard as intelligence. According to Dr. Oyedepo, knowledge is the new currency of the world and as such, the quality of information available to a people, is what determines the level of development they may attain.
Dr. Oyedepo diagnosed two major plagues of leadership in Africa. The first problem according him is the issue of inferiority complex. He said this challenge makes the black man feel inferior to his white counterpart, believing that he is deficient in intelligence because of the colour of his skin. In reality, he said, we all have red blood running though our veins as well as having the same colour and brain composition. In essence, the black man is not inferior to the white man.
The second problem he identified as the black man’s challenge, is that of consumer mentality; stating that it is not what a man ‘has’ that defines his value, but what he ‘adds.’
Moreover, he said there are two legs on which leadership stands, character and capacity building. While explaining this he said, “A leader cannot get any farther than he has upcoming leaders running along with him.” According to him, “Jesus taught only twelve and they ruled the world. There is nothing scary about letting others grow, because you will not be here forever,” the Chancellor said.
In his concluding remarks, the Chancellor expressed the conviction that the conference must discharge the expectations of the participants as to laying hold on how to get to where they are going. He said the fountain of information is the library and knowledge is a prerequisite for relevance. Not only that, he posited that you cannot get transformation without information and until your mind is renewed, you cannot be transformed. He stated that a nation is either building a library, or building a mortuary.