I was in Abuja today, and drove by the offices of NAFDAC and the EFCC and I was again struck by the dramatic change in the activities of these two national institutions from what obtained just two years ago. What has happened at these two agencies is a very good example of the difference between Leadership and Management. A lot of people think that these two things are
The same, but they are actually quite different. Leadership refers to the proactive seizing of new opportunities and breaking new bounds. It involves a decision to make a way where there was no way and charting a new course. It also involves the setting up of an efficient structure and a
hierarchy that hitherto did not exist. Leaders deliver results and the true test of leadership is influence-a true leader has influence and commands respect. Finally, a leader does not derive his influence because of his office, but because of what he/she has done with the office! Management on the other hand refers to keeping watch over structures and hierarchy that have been created and expanded by some other person. It is possible that a good manager may expand the territory won by a leader, but more than likely a manager will keep watch and maintain what
he/she met. Finally many managers deliver activity rather than results and while a good manager may get respect, an average manager usually has to demand respect rather than command it.
Remember it is not the title that makes a person a leader. You may be a manager of a bank
by official title, but by conduct you are a leader, while you may be the head of an organization, but by conduct be a manager!
Dora Akinyuli was a leader at NAFDAC. I daresay that few had heard of NAFDAC before she came in, but the truth is that it did exist before her, but was a toothless bulldog. It was just a
place where civil servants did nothing and collected salaries at the end of the month. And then came Dora. Having lost her own diabetic sister to fake drugs in 1988, Dora infused life into NAFDAC and suddenly Nigerians were so sensitized against fake drugs that the merchants of death dealing in that trade began to plot her death. Dora escaped death by the whiskers in an assassination because her NAFDAC was efficient. She dared to shut down the bakery of a very
influential ex first lady, and flexed muscles with the late Lamidi Adedibu in Ibadan and came out on top. She was acknowledged by Time magazine in a full spread as one of the most influential people in the world. But what do we have now? NAFDAC has come under the influence of a manager and has returned to being a toothless bulldog. When was the last time you heard
about NAFDAC in the news? If you heard of it then it must be because of a courtesy call on its office not because of any act of putting fake drugs merchant to flight.
Similarly, the EFCC under Malam Ribadu was a different EFCC. Say what you want about him, but Nuhu Ribadu was a leader. A man who could go after the richest ex-military ruler, a man who
arrested, convicted and jailed his Inspector General of Police, who arrested powerful ex-governors and reduced them to tears in court, who influenced the choice of the previous
administration in choosing their successors is a very powerful leader. Ribadu never gave excuses for an inability to prosecute corruption, he knew it was a cancer that has reduced Nigeria to a laughing stock and impeded her progress and he did something about it. Due to his efforts, Nigeria which was blacklisted by the Financial Action Task Force before he came on board was
de-listed and we improved significantly on the Transparency International Corruption Perception Index. There was also a robust cooperation between the EFCC under Ribadu and the Metropolitan police of London, The FBI and other world law enforcement bodies. Interestingly on the
same day that his predecessor and the current president granted interviews severely criticizing him, Ribadu was invited by no less a body than the U.S congress to educate it on the issue of 3rd world corruption. It just goes to show you that you can not keep a good man down!
While it is fashionable for some to accuse Ribadu of selective prosecution, none have been able
to say that he arrested innocent people. We should not allow mental laziness to beguile us. Corruption has reached desperate heights in Nigeria and desperate illnesses require desperate surgeries!
For all the current administration’s efforts to demonize Ribadu, they can not point to any achievement of theirs in the anti corruption battle except an empty call for the adherence to
the ‘rule of law’. The rule of law actually means that the law guides you not tie you. Within the scope of the law, a leader can make an impact in the anti corruption battle if there is the will.
In the final analysis, an unbiased observer may come to the conclusion that since any reasonable man intends the consequences of his actions, the actions of the current leadership
(managers) of the EFCC and the current administration points to the conclusion that they intend to tone down the anticorruption war. For as Sherlock Holmes would say, when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable must be the truth. How else can you explain that ex-governors who were arrested and charged to court by Ribadu and whose cases are still being ‘managed’ in court by the current EFCC are regular visitors to our presidential villa!
I am a known critic of former president Obasanjo, but I believe in giving credit where credit is due. In the last administration, the institutions that projected the power and efficiency of
government especially in the more effective second term of Obasanjo where the EFCC and NAFDAC and key ministers like Nasir El’rufai and ‘madam due process’ Oby Ezekwesili
as well as Ngozi Okonjo Iweala. Obasanjo deserves credit for the political support he gave his economic team that enabled them to show leadership and achieve amongst other things the
exit of Nigeria from the Paris club of debtors by paying up the nations debt (which is again piling up) and building a sizeable foreign reserve (although some of it could have been spent on much needed infrastructure). Also the former president showed some foresight in setting up the
excess crude account which the current president condemned when he came in, but which has come in handy particularly with the sharp drop in oil revenue.
It has also become a favourite past time of this administration to cast aspersion on the person of
Malam Nasir El’rufai. However if you had visited the FCT Abuja when Nasir held sway and pay a visit today the difference is very clear. Nasir showed leadership by running Abuja in a most business like manner. He cleaned up land registration by establishing the Abuja Geographic
Information Service (AGIS) and restored a lot of the city’s original master plan and stepped on very powerful toes. He kept the city clean and beautified it, every morning you could actually see workers cleaning up the city. He invested heavily in infrastructure. He showed leadership by beginning with the end in mind and remained focused even when powerful
forces agitated against him.. But visit Abuja today and see what ‘managers’ have done. What has happened in the intervening years since El’rufai left office is a sharp decline in the physical appearance of Abuja.
This administration should consider the damage it has done and continues to do to the psyche of Nigerian youths when it’s principal officer condemn the contributions of Nigerians who
exhibited leadership in their performance of national assignments. I want to seize this opportunity to celebrate Nuhu Ribadu, Malam Nasir El’rufai, Oby Ezekwesili, Ngozi Okonjo Iweala and Bode
Augusto. To them I say this-remember that no matter how far falsehood has traveled, it must eventually be overtaken by truth.
SO WHAT DO YOU GUYS THINK