At twenty six, I tasted power, not the type I had when I was a prefect in my school though. I was the Manager of a technical services company somewhere in Lagos, Nigeria. Interestingly, all the members of staff were older than I was, except the junior technicians. In fact, the driver who was assigned to my office was old enough to be my granddad. My secretary was also older than I was. Sincerely speaking, I was not too sure if I would be able to operate effectively and efficiently. To me, I saw it as a test to prepare me for greater challenges later in life.
POWER IS TRANSIENT!!! Those were the words that God constantly whispered into my willing ears. A day will come when I will not be able to exercise those powers I had. So, wisdom required that I threaded with caution. Wisdom required that I remember that someday that power may come to an end; and that there was another world outside the company where I called the shots. That day actually came. The company swam into troubled waters and I had to leave. Of course you know what happened to my powers.
My first post-departure contact with my former driver was actually a time to receive my ’’report card’’ of how I fared while in office. It was a very wonderful experience and re-union. In all modesty, the voice of God that guided me made me ‘’pass.’’
Later, I held offices where I am supervised the work of people who were far older than I was and even with better academic qualifications. Well, then, I did not need the voice of God again. I was fully aware that indeed POWER IS TRANSIENT.
I am of the very strong opinion that power comes from God and we have to be very careful how we make use of it. He gives and takes without permission. He has the power to toy with the heart of whoever he desires. He swaps positions in seconds. In giving or taking power, size, experience, education, colour, height, weight or beauty means nothing to Him.
Power is seemingly deceitful. It closes the eyes of the unwise to all of these. It makes one think it will last forever. It makes one see every other person as lesser human beings. It blinds you to the fact that your subordinate could become your boss in the next five minutes or less. What will happen if the subordinate suddenly becomes the boss? What will he do to his former boss? Well, this is a question anyone in power should be asking himself regularly.
However, it’s so sad that some leaders and privileged people do not share in this reality. Or perhaps they see it more convenient to ignore it. In the offices, in the homes and in public sphere, the transient nature of power is played down.
I have learnt a strong lesson in my journey through life : no matter how powerful or privileged you might be, the only permanent power is that of God; the life-span of ours is unknown. God is watching how we are using what He gave to us. And one day it will be time for us to get what we deserve – good or bad.
But how sad that people never learn from history. Or perhaps, it is more pleasurable to ignore history and damn the consequences.