Power colours the nature of Man

By Nicholas Omoh. Nicholas is a research officer. He lives in Lagos, Nigeria. Please read his article and leave your thoughts and comments below.

Introduction

Power is the ability to control things and people. Power is what makes the United States the greatest nation on earth. Power is what makes South Sudan the poorest country in the world. Power is what makes education practical and applied in the UK, and it is the same power that makes education theoretical and cumbersome in Zimbabwe. Power is what makes Nigerian government officials enjoy medical tourism overseas while resident doctors in the country go on strike due to the decay of the health care system.

Abraham Lincoln said, “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character give him power.”   This statement speaks volumes because the colour of man’s character could either be good (green) or bad (red) once power is given. Man has two natures which co-exist together- the good and bad. Power can help tilt one side of man’s nature against the other. The power test for good and bad clearly shows what power can do to Man and the world at large.

 

Power test for good (green)

When I look at the world today, I see men who the Almighty infinite has made tremendous power available to them in the form of vast wealth and influence. With some of these men, their combined wealth makes them richer than some countries. Some have great influence over a billion people (the population of China or Africa).

These men have decided to use the power they wield not for self-aggrandizement but for collective good. Bill Gates of the US, founder of Microsoft and the current richest man in the world through his Bill and Melinda Gates foundation, has been able to take healthcare services around the world to where power has failed to provide one. The American, Mark Zuckerberg, who is the youngest billionaire in the world, through his Chan Zuckerberg Initiative is trying to shape the future of science, education and technology. The Nigerian billionaire Dangote, the richest black man, is the largest single employer of labour in Nigeria. Mo Ibrahim, the Sudanese British born founder of Mo Ibrahim foundation, uses his foundation to ensure that African governance is a top priority among African leaders by awarding a prize for good governance to African heads of states based on their leadership and achievement during their tenure in service.

Power for good is not exclusively for billionaires, look at what the founders of NUHA Foundation are doing to ensure education is at least available. Amnesty International is at the forefront of holding governments for their actions against human rights, Transparency International fights corruption anywhere it rears its ugly head around the world.

Young people around the world are also rising in numbers in different fields like ICT, energy, agriculture, and media. They are shaping communities, bringing hope to the poor and giving light to the future by replacing unemployment with entrepreneurship, changing poor government with their votes, creating their own world by living their dreams.

 

Power test for bad (red)

On the flip side, I see a world where some people are given the power of the people, by the people and for the people. These individuals hold on to the power as they refuse to relinquish it on expiration of their mandate, they refuse to use it for the benefit of those who have entrusted them with it. Many of these people have twisted the trust given by their people by using the power to elongate their hold over the people. Many of them will crush opposition to continue to stay in power. Some will move to amend their laws, to ensure that they can extend their rule, even if they have to offer bribes to lawmakers. Others will want to blame the opposition or foreign states like the current leader of North Korea and his predecessors continue to blame the US for trying to cause a power change in the country.

The African continent typifies how power has gone rogue. Zimbabwe is a country that became independent in 1980, Robert Mugabe has been in power for 37 years, he is 93 years old, yet the country does not have quality education. On one of my trips in 2011 to Paris, for a world Bank conference on Development Economics, I met a Zimbabwean lady then studying computer science in South Africa, she told me that life is better in South Africa than in Zimbabwe. She had to leave her family to get a better education in South Africa.

Paul Biya is the president of Cameroon, he has been the leader now for 35 years, yet Cameroon as a country is not better looking than the ghetto side of France (if there are any). Many years of cooperation with their former colonial masters has not translated into development, but the president continues to see the beauty obtainable in France, yet closes his eyes when he comes back to Cameroon. Why is Yaounde a sharp contrast from Paris?

Faure Gnassingbe Eyadema of Togo took over the helms of the country affairs in 2005 after the demise of his father Gnassingbe Eyadema through a forceful military installment, without the people’s support and coercing the Parliament of the nation to approve this move. His father is not Queen Elizabeth, neither is Faure crown Prince Charles; yet power is transferred through blood lines when the country does not operate a monarch system.

On my trip to Vienna, Austria, via Netherlands in 2015 to attend Peter Drucker forum, I continued to have one question on my mind up until the time I left the country. The question is: are the leaders of these countries superhuman? Because things are working there compared to where I come from. When power is used to enslave others and freedom decides to fight back you witness that those who have misused the people’s power are killed while those still clinging to power are vanquished from the land they had called their paradise. Examples include the Late President of Libya, Mumar Gadaffi, Late President of Iraq, Sad am Hussein, more current is the former president of Gambia, Yahya Jammeh who was exiled to Equatorial Guinea after he insisted on remaining in power after the people took power from him.

We also witnessed conflict and instability in countries where the leaders have decided to hold on to power forever. Libya has become a country where separatists and militants have emerged. Iraq has become a ground that breeds terrorists and exports them to nations to forestall their ideologies, South Sudan has become a shadow of itself because the quest for power continues to ravage the country. Syria is a place where countries like the US and Russia are using it to fight a proxy war as a pretense for fighting for the government against rebels or fighting for the people against a tyrant.

Power of the mind (neutral)

The battle for good or bad is being fought in the mind of mankind. Power has the ability to turn man into an angel sent from heaven or the devil unleashed from the pit of hell. In the super book, lucifer (now Satan) allowed power to becloud his judgement and that brought him down. Power will obey the will of the individual who wields it. Man has a free will to either do good or bad. The choice to do good or bad is at the disposal of every man.

The truth is that power is not given to a certain elite group. Everybody has power in their own right. As a parent you have the power to train your child in the right way or allow the child to go the wrong way. As a teacher you have the power to give your students the best of you by inspiring them rather than demoralizing them, as a civil servant you have the power to reject bribes rather than accept it. As a student you have the power not to indulge in malpractice rather than becoming a culprit. As a cabinet commissioner or minister you have the power to award contracts without taking bribes. The onus lies on the individual not to choose the way which entirely leads to destruction.

Conclusion

It is worthy to note that power can influence a great man to act badly, but not all great men are bad. We have had leaders in Africa like the late Nelson Mandela who took power to lead South Africa from 1994 to 1999, made his mark, stepped down and died a hero. The real man is that which is able to sacrifice all for the freedom of others rather than enslave them. In 2015, the former President of Nigeria, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan set an example for the rest of the leaders in the African continent by being the first incumbent that lost an election and stepped down to respect the wishes of the people. Ghana’s former President John Dramani Mahama also followed suit in 2017.There is light for Africa at the end of the tunnel and time is revealing it.

120 comments on “Power colours the nature of Man

  1. Charley on

    What caught my attention is “Power can influence a great man to act badly,but not all great men are bad”.This is truly worthy of note. Keep it up Nick you are going higher.

    Reply
  2. Deepak on

    There are a few mistakes in the article. For one the poorest country in the world is Yemen, not South Sudan as the article states in Para 1. The article also unwittingly whitewashes what made Africa the way it is today – exploitation during the colonial period. Africa is rich, but while the colonial time ended, neo-colonialism pervades the very soul of Africa to this day
    The article is a whitewashed, skeleton of what it could have been had the writer put a little more thought into it. It fails to take the topic discussion forward, relying on cheap theatrics of a pathos driven write-up.

    Reply
  3. NICHOLAS on

    Thank you Deepak,for your views.First, whether it is Sudan or Yemen that is the poorest ink the world, one fact remains a fact power made them so.Secondly, You talked about colonialism, US, Canada, were colonized too but look at where they are.Another fact is Africans have stopped Africa.Lastly when you say whitewash it is unfounded, as most of the thoughts expressed in this article has either happened, is happening or will eventually happen.I would have love you add those ‘little thoughts’ you mentioned that are missing rather than saying the whole scenario does not exist. It is like a pot calling a kettle black.

    Reply
  4. Apostle Charles Omoh on

    Wow, what a strong narrative, illustrative and profound piece with highly educative and enlightening characteristics. This is brilliant Nicholas, “Power Colours The Nature Of Man” is a double thumbs up from me! Thank you!!

    Reply
  5. Charles on

    Uncle nick at it again. I admire your write up a lot. You are not just a writer, but a passionate one. You dont write for fun. You write because you have a vision. I believe in you and I know that someday that vision will come to reality; it will be used to make impact in the society. The world and I are waiting for.Nice one. Keep it up.

    Reply
    • Nick on

      Yeah Uncle Charles you know how we started and how the passion to see our continent thrive continues to fuel our passion to provoke and force the status quo to change.

      Reply
  6. Evelyn on

    This article remains me of what I learnt in government class some decades back that power corrupts. However, we know that power is channelled positively it produces tremendous result!
    Kudos e Nick for putting your thoughts down you also have the power to change our world and make it a better placw

    Reply
    • Nick on

      Thank you beloved sister. I learmed from you as a seasoned journalist.It trickled down from you the first down to me the last. THANKS SIS.

      Reply
  7. Puspita on

    Ur article has perfectly thrown light on what the word power aactually means with the most appropriate examples. Moreover the way u have seperated the usew and the misuses of power, it will definitely leave a mark on the minds of the political leaders of not only Africa but also the entire world….
    Hat’s off to u.

    Reply
    • Nick on

      Yes Thinking of looking at India as the second most populous country and see how they have used power for good or bad.Do a follow up to that Pupista from india.

      Reply
  8. Nick on

    Thank you very much for the kind words.I do believe that power belongs to God and if anybody is given it should be used for the greater good not the lesser evil.Thanks a lot for your positive contributions.

    Reply
    • Nick on

      Are you sure about that Olumide.If it creates the opportunity it is also a tool that can be used for corruption.Thanks for dropping your opinion.

      Reply
  9. NICHOLAS on

    Look power just changed hands in Zimbabwe as the men in uniform just pulled the ladder of President Mugabe in a coup.This is what happen when power is not honorably transfered back to the people that gave it.They tend to take power back by the ballot or by force.

    Reply
  10. Koeman on

    Nice work so much examples on how power can really colour the nature of man for good or for bad.One that caught me is how the richest people in the world use their power to shape the world they want to see.

    Reply
  11. emmanuel on

    that is an interesting perspective. I have not really thought about it in those terms before. I view each piece of content as unique and respond to it. Interesting point though.

    Reply
  12. moses on

    I think this happens to all of us sometime we use our powers wrongly or right but let our power of Good b more n plentiful than our bad.keep it up

    Reply

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