Tupocracy is a socio-political culture or doctrine invented by Dr. Godwin Akpan Amaowoh, a Nigerian Clergyman, in 2006 as the brainchild of his doctoral dissertation at Nigeria’s foremost institution of higher Education, the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Faculty of the Social Sciences. The Dissertation Topic was An Understanding of Tupos in Pauline Letters on the Pastoral Ministry of the Church and its implication for Contemporary society. The concept was recognized by the Board of Examiners with the Rev. Fr. Prof. Vincent Nyoyoko of the University of Port Harcourt as External Examiner/Chairman. The Board scored him Distinction, being a huge contribution to knowledge and recommended that the concept be published as an acceptable political doctrine. Hence, in 2007, Dr. Amaowoh published the book, Tupocracy: Leadership by example for the Church and Civil society. Subsequent editions, including the current one (4th edition, 2018) carried the name of his PhD Supervisor, the Rev. Prof. E. N. Chinwoku (formerly Onwu) as Co-author. For inventing Tupocracy, Dr. Amaowoh was inducted into the Nigerian Books of Record, published by the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture which saw it as a big honour to Nigeria and Africa at large.
Full definition of Tupocracy: Tupocracy is a system of government involving people who lead by positive example based on transparency, integrity, altruism, patriotism and godly character which is worthy of emulation by their colleagues and followers. Tupocracy is one word for leadership by example, coined from two Greek words, tupos (example, pattern, model which is worthy of emulation) and Krateia (government, leadership, rulership or administration), in the family of Democracy, Autocracy, Aristocracy, etc.
Tupocracy as a political doctrine: One of the major challenges which the world is facing today is the absence of good leadership. This has precipitated poverty, insecurity, instability, war, ethnic tensions, criminality, corruption in the land and dissatisfaction and despair among the citizenry in many nations. People are looking for role models in politics, religion, civil service, the academia, business, the Private sector and even in the family but they are grossly in short supply. The answer to this delima is found in Tupocracy which is rightly predicated on the age-old axiom that “example is better than precept.” Based on this, the Tupocract says, “Emulate me in all things”; “Do as I do” and not “Do as I say.” He does not contradict himself or what he says as a leader by negative example in conduct, ip so facto, he is a role model. The beauty of Democracy, as a world acclaimed political doctrine, lies in Tupocracy. Dr. Amaowoh has therefore recommended Tupocracy to be adopted as the handmaid of Democracy, without which Democracy becomes “Dem all cracy”, meaning, “Governance by insane people.”
The Need and Importance of Tupocracy in Governance: Tupocracy ensures transparency, integrity and moral rectitude in governance/leadership. Governance or leadership should not be an all comer’s affair. It should be for people whose lifestyles are worthy of emulation whether they are Presidents, Governors, Legislators, Judicial Officers, Ministers, Commissioners or Chairmen of Local Government Areas, Councilors, Mayors, Police Officers, Military or Paramilitary Officers, traditional Rulers, Heads of Schools, Managers of Industries or Religious Leaders. Tupocracy earns leaders high reputation and respect because followers have nothing against them. It will be a huge disappointment that those we address as “His Excellency”, “His Honour”, Distinguished”, “Honourable”, etc, go to jail for corrupt practices or they hide behind impunity privilege to commit heinous and atrocious crimes.
Furthermore, Tupocracy ensures equality before the law because those in governance will show example in obedience to the laws of the land. So far, although leadership by example has been a household word, its impact has not been felt like Democracy and others. With this invention, Tupocracy will become the vehicle to popularize the maxim. Thus, Tupocratic institutions will be built alongside Democratic institutions and Politicians may say in their manifestoes that they will lead tupocratically because they are Tupocrats. Wrong styles of leadership will be branded as untupocratic. One can imagine the level of sanity, peace, prosperity, security, progress and stability that will be experienced under Tupocratic governments as there will be sanity in the electoral system, awards and executions of contracts, the independence of the Judiciary, being free from manipulation by the Executive and the Legistrature, etc.
Admittedly, the fight against corruption in any nation can never be won unless their leaders lead by example in all matters, namely: financial matters, award of contracts, electoral matters, patriotism and the Rule of Law. Based on transparency, Tupocracy will checkmate greed, nepotism, personal aggrandizement, ethnic chauvinism, embezzlement of public funds and injustice in the process of governance. Tupocracy will bring about the practice of the Golden Rule, “Do to others what you would want other people to do to you.” Tupocrats are leaders who justify the saying that leaders should be above board. The bane of any society is the preponderance of unscrupulous and unconscionable leaders who have thrown moral values to the winds in their leadership styles.
Hopefully, Tupocracy will take its seat with other systems of governments like Democracy, Autocracy, Oligarchy, Aristocracy, Bureaucracy, etc. Tupocracy is a wake-up call as well as a moral guide for all leaders, whether in Religion or civil society, who need the respect, loyalty, welfare and co-operation of their followers. There is a popular saying that when we take care of our character, our reputation will take care of itself. Leaders should know that they are Mentors who should mentor followers by positive example in all walks of life. Unfortunately, in most nations one bad leader will hand over to another bad leader to sustain the vicious circle of bad leadership and its attendant unpleasant consequences.
Biblical examples of Tupocrats and what they said.
1. Abraham: When there was to be a conflict between Abraham and his nephew and mentee, Lot, Abraham as a man of peace said, “Please let there be no strife between you and me, and between my herdsmen and your herdsmen; for we are brethren. Is not the whole land before you? Please separate from me. If you take the left, then I will go to the right; or, if you go to the right, then I will go to the left.” (Gen 13:7-9)
This is an example of making concessions to avoid conflict.
2. Joseph: Joseph was not vindictive to punish or kill his brothers who maltreated him but he forgave them and provided a safe place for them in Egypt: “Joseph said to them, Do not be afraid, for am I in the place of God? But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive. Now therefore, do not be afraid; I will provide for you and your little ones.” And he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.” (Gen 13:7-9)
This is an example of non-vindictiveness and forgiveness by leaders.
3. Samuel: As a judge and prophet in Israel, Samuel was just and transparent in all things and so he said in his valedictory speech, “ Now Samuel said to all Israel: “Indeed I have heeded your voice in all that you said to me, and have made a king over you. And now here is the king, walking before you; and I am old and gray headed, and look, my sons are with you. I have walked before you from my childhood to this day. Here I am. Witness against me before the Lord and before His anointed: Whose ox have I taken, or whose donkey have I taken, or whom have I cheated? Whom have I oppressed, or from whose hand have I received any bribe with which to blind my eyes? I will restore it to you.” And they said, “You have not cheated us or oppressed us, nor have you taken anything from any man’s hand.” Then he said to them, “The Lord is witness against you, and His anointed is witness this day, that you have not found anything in my hand.”( 1 Sam 12:1-5).
Can the contemporary leader be bold to address his citizens and staff like this, including Asset declaration?
4. Jesus Christ: The Lord Jesus Christ was exemplary in love, compassion, humility, obedience to God and the laws of the land, righteousness, forgiveness, mercy, goodness and in all good works. He said, “Do you know what I have done to you? You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them. (John 13:12-17):
This is an example of love, humility and service to humanity which He urged His disciples to emulate.
The Lord also said this about loving one another as he loved them, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35).
5. Paul: St. Paul taught in many passages of the Bible that people should emulate him, “For though you might have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet you do not have many fathers; for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel. Therefore I urge you, imitate me.”
(I Cor. 4:15-16) He said again, “Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ. (1 Cor. 11:1)
6. Peter: St. Peter showed positive example as a pastoral leader and urged other leaders to do same and not lead as Dictators, “Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.” (1 Pet. 5:2-3).
Contemporary emphasis on Tupocracy
T. C. Oden in his book Classical Pastoral Care (2000:174) opined that the character and moral formation of those who provide spiritual care must be sound enough to elicit confidence in the care of receivers, that one cannot correct something in another when in oneself it has remained uncorrected.
Again, he says, quoting Baxter, that people should take heed to themselves, lest their example contradict their doctrine, lest they unsay with their lives what they say with their tongues. They should do as they say.
In the same vein, Hurst (1955:38) in his book And He gave Teachers, quoted Emerson, “What you are thunders so loud I cannot hear what you say.”
Most of those who talk about leadership by example in the contemporary period are of the opinion that “the preceptor must keep the precept.” This is the maxim of Tupocracy, whether in the religious or civil society. In Tupocracy, the Character Ethic Paradigm supercedes the Personality Ethic Paradigm of leadership. It will be absurd for one who is a thief to tell his followers to stop stealing. It will be difficult for a proud leader to teach his followers humility. It will be difficult for a corrupt leader to stop corruption in his government. Even a leader who does not show example in punctuality will find it difficult to fight lateness to duty among his staff. The world needs Tupocracy for peace, order and prosperity to reign.