By Ololade Faniyi
Franklin Chukwujioke Obiagwu is the Senior Pastor and Setman at Redeeming Grace Church International, an upwardly mobile church located at Iba, Lagos – Nigeria. He’s the Regional Coordinator for the International Association of African Authors and Scholars (IAAAS), Atlanta USA. As a keynote speaker, he averages a speaking time of 1,800 hours every year and addresses more than 10,000 people in more than 50 talks across the nations each year. For over 20 years, he’s committed to helping individuals, companies, groups, and ministries raise and develop leaders as well as build their maps for success, balance, and significance. He’s a graduate of Abia State University, Uturu, Nigeria; a certified business development professional from the Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM), UK, and a member of the Institute of Training and Development (MITD) Nigeria. His leadership development insights, results-driven coaching, and life transformation messages have made him a household name among top church and business leaders in Nigeria and overseas.
BookRepublic: You are a pastor and public speaker known for leadership development and life-transforming messages. How did you end up in these cross-functional endeavors? How long have you been doing these?
Franklin: I desired to be a politician while growing up but wanted to be a different type of politician, one that will make a difference in the life of the ordinary people. This desire drove me to read about successful world leaders and other leaders that failed. I wanted to know why some leaders succeeded while others failed. Before I completed my course at the university, I had read about all American Presidents from George Washington up to George W. Bush Jr.
I was a Campus fellowship leader and Secretary of the campus Chapel. These responsibilities made me get much involved in the teaching and preaching of the gospel on campus. It was during my National Youth Service that I felt the Lord calling me into full-time ministry.
I started the present church that I serve shortly after my Youth service. It was there that I learned more about the practical aspect of leadership.
To meet the financial needs of the church, I got involved in professional selling, and soon after, because of combined experience in the ministry and deep understanding of leadership principles, I moved into sales training and leadership. With my interactions with global leaders, authors, and leadership experts from around the world, I developed into leadership coaching, writing, and public speaking.
BookRepublic: What informed your progress from a business development professional to pastor and public speaker and now, author? What was the motivation to write The Book of Values?
Franklin: It was the other way round, from Pastor to business professional development to leadership coaching. When I joined Sales at the beginning of my ministry, I had to be professional to stay at the top of the game. Training and coaching sales professionals and business leaders exposed me to global best practices in the corporate business world. The demand from my listeners, my desire to contribute, and leave the world better than I met it was what drove me to put my thoughts together to write books.
We have seen the gradual erosion of values in our national life. This pathetic condition has reached epidemic proportions, where the youths, business, and political leaders now believe that the time-honoured values like honesty, truth, openness, patriotism, fairness, caring, tolerance, hard work, and many more are no longer critical to leadership. Instead, untruth, dishonesty, intolerance, and get-rich-quick mentality, conducts that are alien to our culture, have captured the imagination of our present and future leaders.
Some of these values which I grew up with are fast disappearing before our eyes, and this is so troubling to me. I have discovered that most failed states became that way because of the decline and the death of their values. These values are the foundation of every decent and secure and prosperous society. I desire to contribute to stemming this slide, for national rebirth and organizational growth. This is what motivated me to write this book.
BookRepublic: You are the regional coordinator for International Association of African Authors and Scholars (IAAAS). Your work must connect you to an extensive network of writers and scholars. Are there any of them whose books you love to read and perhaps, inspired you?
Franklin: You are right. I have been exposed to a lot of writers and authors. One of the books that has inspired and left an indelible impression on me is “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill. This book took the lid off my head and expanded my thoughts that I can be anything I want to be.
BookRepublic: The Book of Values tells many interwoven stories that challenge stakeholders to work for rebirth, peace, and prosperity in Nigeria. How were the life transformation and leadership skills you have developed over the years helpful when writing your book?
Franklin: You can’t write a book that will change lives without hands-on experience. I speak to thousands of people every year, in the religious and corporate sectors. I devote time to listen to people’s stories. Life is a collection of people’s stories. If you want to solve future human problems, listen to people’s stories – their dreams, desires, pains, fears, frustrations, fantasies, concerns, successes, and failures, and you will be a coach and a solution provider. I also devote time to observe men and women every day in the ordinary pursuits of life. I make intentional efforts to understand the human condition, what people do, why they do it, and these have helped me so much in writing this book.
BookRepublic: Will there be more books in the future? Is this to be the first in a planned series?
Franklin: Yes, there will be more books. This is the first in a series on leadership. But there are two other books I have already published before this one, “Power To Succeed – A Revolutionary Handbook for the Higher Life,” published in 2015 and “Success Or Death – Leave No Room For Any Life in- Between” published in 2019. I have another book now ready for publishing titled, “For The Peace of Nations – A New Pathway to World Peace,” and a follow-up series to the “Book Of Values” is in the works already.
BookRepublic: Lastly, what should readers be most excited about in your book?
Franklin: This is an illustrative book for nation-building and organizational growth. It provides the solution to foundational leadership disasters that we have grown accustomed to in Africa. With this book, there is hope for our country, for our children and children’s children. With this book, there is hope for Africa, a richly endowed continent that has unfortunately been plagued by bad leadership. For the first time in the history of our nation, there is a leadership orientation handbook and a national rebirth manual. This will serve our country as a national mandatory leadership course for all at every leadership cadre, and all that aspire to lead. It does not matter what sector they have been summoned to make a difference.