Good Governance: Merit, Not Other Considerations
By: Farouk Kado Mayana
Leadership comes with great responsibility, part of which is to ensure that new leaders are set up to succeed. President Bola Ahmed Tinubu is famously known as “a builder of men,” a key attribute of his political success.
He once said, “A leader without the character and vision to bring and build others will lose his legacy.” Many leaders have studied and tried to follow his playbook in modern-day Nigeria.
Equally, former Governor of Kaduna State, Malam Nasir El-Rufai, for instance, had the most number of female appointees in his cabinet, handling key development sectors as their portfolio. He picked a 34/35-year-old then, Muhammad Sani, popularly known as Dattijo, as the commissioner of the State Planning and Budget Commission and later as his Chief of Staff. Impressively, he appointed Hafiz Bayero, below 35 years old, to head the Kaduna Capital Territory Authority. He first appointed him as one of his aides when he was 27 years old, among many more.
There are several important factors to consider as a guide for a leader in putting together a competent and pragmatic team to deliver his vision. In democratic settings, political considerations play a major part in identifying individuals for appointive positions.
However, greater considerations should be given to track records, educational background, integrity and ethics, professional achievements, etc.
Let’s be clear that education is not just learning or accumulation of certificates, but training the mind to think critically. This is why we must not only focus on titles or certificates to determine who is best suited for a position/job/appointment.
Capacity is not entirely limited to academic achievements; beyond this, the appointee should be able to demonstrate mental and practical ability to embrace and conquer developmental challenges.
For instance, the important considerations and aspects that guide multinational corporations are competence and expertise to ensure individuals are qualified to handle the responsibilities of the role given to them effectively. Individuals who demonstrate or have a track record of successfully tackling similar challenges and achieving results are rewarded and promoted.
Furthermore, a leader must avoid biases and emotions in order to make the best decisions in choosing the right people for the right positions. The development challenges before us are enormous and demand the best hands to address them.
Beyond appointing competent individuals, there is a need to conduct thorough background checks, including references and past performance assessments, to ensure that the appointee aligns with the set criteria to deliver and garner support for the policy agenda. Finally, milestones/targets should be set for appointees, which should be monitored and assessed periodically.