The Immediate Past Governor of Ekiti State has mentioned competence over charisma, substance over style and result over rhetoric as the major and only panacea that can salvage the country from its present state it is now.
The former governor said this at the annual Akintola Williams Distinguished Lecture Series tagged “Leadership Factors and Good Governance – Key to National Growth and Development” – a program that was organized by Leaders of Thought Knowledge and Dialogue Initiative (LTKDI)
According to him, “our onerous development challenges are not for want of brilliant policies and programs or even dedicated leadership. The dilemma therefore for political leaders is that it is not even enough to have great ideas and programs that will help people develop the delivery capacity within the service that takes a proposal and translates from a bright idea into a truly tangibly transformative policy with materials consequences.”
He described the public service as a paramount important part of government that only the best should be recruited to foster rapid development in the country.
“Only a public service populated and led by the best and brightest can justly and efficiently provides the public goods such as education, health care and housing that will achieve the developmental aspiration of our people and only such a meritocratic system can deliver excellence.”
He said further that revitalizing public service goes beyond issues of working conditions and morale, “the real key is to restore a missionary sense of purpose to the public service, to get civil servants to see their work in sacramental term at the altar of a transcendent purpose.
“Public sector leadership must learn and adopt the modus from private sector where there is a great demand on individuals to be high performers in order to attain upward mobility in his or her career.”
He described the global financial crisis that plunged the world into recession in 2008 as consequence of the devaluation of public sector in favour of unfettered markets.
“The markets failed to regulate themselves, bankers, financial corporations and credit ratings agencies. All had fallen for the conventional wisdom that markets are inherently self-regulating and that government performing its normal role as the guarantor of public order is a nuisance that impedes markets”, he said.
The ex-governor described the celebrant, Chief Akintola Williams as a great Nigerian who has given full expression to his talents and pristine character by blessing the country with corporations that stand as glowing tributes to the fact test with integrity, excellence, and professionalism.
Also speaking at the lecture series, the former Commonwealth Secretary General, Chief Emeka Anyaoku said that leadership is key to success in corporate governance.
He cited the example of Akintola Williams on how he used his leading roles to establish in 1960 the Association of Accountants in Nigeria as well as his position as the founding member and first President of Institute of Chartered Accountant of Nigeria to build bridges and be in the vanguard of those that pioneer corporate governance in Nigeria.
He argued that effective leadership for national growth and development must include on the part of the leader, capacity for prudent management of resources, capacity for effective communication, capacity for power sharing or delegation, capacity to motivate lieutenants and followership, capacity to engineer qualitative leadership, elite recruitment and the capacity for ensuring human or citizen-centric policies.
Anyaokwu further advised the country that if the country must attain its full potential in national growth and development and achieve desirable level of internal security and political stability, it must restructure the existing basis of the country’s governance.
“Instead of the present 36 mostly economically unviable federating units with concentrated political power at the centre, the country should adopt six regions with substantial devolution of powers from the centre, thereby creating more viable national component of a truly Federal Republic of Nigeria on the basis which it can plan and pursue more efficiently national growth and economic development with a higher level of internal security and political stability.”