Those who find themselves in power need to be very careful over the manner they exercise that power. Among many things they should avoid, going by recent events, these are important:

1. Do not humiliate teachers and other people who serve the public. Discipline them and hold them up against standards by all means, but be sure you are judging them fairly. Teachers in particular, can be humiliated and demoralized by leaders, and they will lose the respect and standing of pupils and students they will need to continue to teach until thousands of them are replaced, quite possibly by teachers who are made of the same stuff.

2. Do not run governments in contempt of the public you are supposed to respect and be accountable to. Do not harass, intimidate, threaten, deceive or lie to the people. Vulnerable groups such as public officers, the poor and defenseless and the gullible deserve compassion, attention and resources to reward them for service, protect and empower them. Leaders who use stron-arm tactics create a resistant and hostile citizenry, and no power can be mustered to oppress a people pushed further than they can tolerate.

3. Do not get carried away by your present safe and secure position, such that it gives you the false sense of being able to get away with anything. There is a day of reckoning for everyone and everything. Fear God in your dealings with the people, and remember that He took power from someone else and gave it to you. Fear the people who resisted all temptation and threats to place in power, for they can do to you what they did to your predecessors. Be humble, accept shortcomings and limitations and show remorse when it is needed. Never forget the day you will be out of power, or the day you will render account of your stewardship to God.

4. Do not forget that it is easier to be resented than loved. Try to strike a balance between force and reason, and NEVER forget that the worst enemy to fight is one who has nothing to lose.”

By Hakeem Baba Ahmed

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