Saturday, August 25, 2007

Mr President what do you stand for

I have to admit that there is something emerging in the early days of the new regime in Nigeria that sends alarm bells ringing in my head. The first was the reversal on the sale of the Refinery's, the second was the attempt to curtail the freedom to prosecute that the EFCC has had under his predecessor, the third is the recent decision to stop the denomination change of the naira. What is most disturbing is that in all cases there has been an excuse to use form or technicality to stop something that appears likely to be more effective. On the other hand of the policy reversal balance sheet is the fact that the boldest thing the President has done is to declare his personal assets publicly and even then he did not prevail on his Vice president to do the same. It took the press and opposition extracting this information through a public war of attrition.

Professor Soludo the head of the Central Bank of Nigeria has shown himself to be a deft and adept steward of an Independent Central Bank. His judgement even when controversial has proven to be effective and in fact, an act of world class foresight, decision making and execution. Many forget the vilification he faced during the initial phase of Bank consolidation policy from the banks themselves , the press and the Nigerian legislature. The fact that the very same people now benefit and celebrate the phenomenal success of the policy and its expansion of the stock market should make the President pause for thought. But alas it looks like this is the new Attorney General again in pursuit of 'Rule of Law'. It amuses me that a country which has had over five constitutions and has at least three or more legal orientations that is part of its body of laws can be so pedantic. I have seen this in my practice as a leadership educator, mentor and consultant where the mixture of turf wars, the need for a new authority to establish credibility as well as make a name for themselves means lessons learnt prior to appointment are jettisoned for the pure purpose of making their mark. In its worst extremes especially in the British Civil service the same department recruits new people to the very same innovation that their predecessors had successfully completed after a process of pain and sacrifice.

The real question for Mr President is what does he truly stand for? If he has asked for the new Naira policy to be reviewed then why does he need the grand pronouncement from his AG. This is the same AG who did not declare the fact that he has a track record of clients who are confronted by EFCC cases before seeking the veto power. At best these are public relations fiascos, at the very least it makes the Presidents 'team' look like a group of individual opportunists and careerist who pursue personal competition at the cost of National paralysis. The only person who can harness, coordinate and represent this in a holistic way is the President. The alternative is sub optimization or silo mentality in which each department act like live crabs in a boiling pot. All people that serve his administration must know his vision and drivers on at least the level of principles. He need not micro manage as it is alleged his predecessor did.However even this self styled servant leader has to be able to motivate and inspire his team with a coherent set of meaning and principle that makes them understand they are working for the same administration.

It seems the Presidents only abiding driver based on the decisions that are most eye catching so far is to prove that he is not his predecessor. If this is a blanket position, it is a shame because it should only be about what is substantively in the interest of Nigeria. In that case his Presidency becomes a missed opportunity, to be hijacked by those who dress up their personal interest or sectional aspiration as a rejection of perceived Dictatorship of Obasanjo. He has to have the clarity of insight, the broadness of foresight and the discipline of decision and execution to be able to be both eclectic as well as original. His choices has to be purely on the merit of the policy or situation. For example his position on Lagos Mega city and releasing funds to the Local Authorities in Lagos is a commendable position. Being different from Olusegun Obasanjo is not a vision at least not enough to inspire support and motivate Nigerians to cooperate for a better future. He will be better served by at least having clarity about decision, defining his position before reversing what appears to be a better thought out direction from an institution that is building a track record of world class performance such as the Central Bank of Nigeria.

I am becoming a sceptic of his leadership from the position of open desire to see him succeed. Unfortunately this affects all my decisions even my own investments. One thing was sure about Obasanjo he might have suffered from a Messianic complex but he was unambiguous about what he stood for. Please Mr President lets know from you before we sell houses and move homes we need to know what direction you want to take the country. For now I temper my optimism.


Omodudu said...

Yardy has something to prove regardless of the effects on Nigeria.

Ola said...

I also suspect Nigerians will soon start getting tired of UMY's 'policy' of reversals and 'undoing'. Nigeria needs bold, revolutionary steps and a clear strategic plan if it must advance into modernity. UMY is not OBJ-okay, point taken-now, can we have some fresh ideas please?

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