Buhari: Anniversary lessons from Real Madrid & Barcelona
As the government of President Muhammadu Buhari clocks one year in office tomorrow, certainly, the jury will be out for the president and the men who have helped him to shape the colour of governance so far. But in the absence of orators and oracles within the governing party and with the demise of opposition party that can offer quotable quotes for some comic relief, it is important to share some lessons from business and governance schools. The two spokespersons of the opposition are ‘special guests’ of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). And so they too cannot sing their party’s anniversary song in a strange land (detention).
Sadly, most of the elders and even courageous clerics that used to speak like the prophets of old have recoiled into their shells. There is a conspiracy of silence everywhere you go. Even the elders on the platform of The Patriots appear tired as we may not get anything from them for this PMB’s first anniversary. Sadly too, the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) that used to be a critical part of the conscience of the nation has mysteriously disappeared from the people’s radar. Most of the disciples of Gani Fawehinmi have abandoned the gospel of struggle according to Comrade Fawehinmi. The last man standing as Fawehinmi’s disciple, Ebun Adegboruwa who has been arraigned by EFCC, too just disclosed that some authorities had “warned’ him not to continue to open his ‘basket mouth’ against the powerful in Abuja lest he would regret it.
As I had noted in this column recently, neither the original Afenifeere, nor its weather-beaten renewal group has been heard in recent time. The Oodua People’s Congress (OPC) too has been allegedly embroiled in some struggle to collect payments for oil(y) pipelines security contracts procured from the last administration. Tasting the forbidden fruits supplied by Abuja can weaken the spirit and open one’s eyes too much, after all. Even the Ohaneze and Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) have lost so much steam. All the civil society organisations appear to have gone into oblivion. Even as democracy is being muzzled and scotched, there is hardly any group to analyse democracy in its present travail and travesty.
That is why, there won’t be robust debate in the news media tomorrow when the cock crows for the first year administration of PMB. And so, contrary to my earlier prognosis that the honeymoon would be over sooner than later, it is clear now that the honeymoon for PMB will continue till 2019!
However, It is expedient to join other patriots in enjoining the president not to be carried away by so many merchants of sycophancy who will influence publications and broadcast of so many patronizing adverts from tomorrow. They are good sweeteners at such a time like this. But as I said last week, leaders who embrace sycophants in their courts would not go far. They can celebrate, but they will not be celebrated after their tenure. But as legendary Ola Rotimi, a playwright once put it, that kind of celebration without notable feats, is like “joy, which has a slender body that breaks too soon”. Therefore, PMB should note carefully the comments of a few ‘mad men’, mavericks, critics, busy bodies, who will tell him the truth that he would not like to hear. As recently noted, the friends and relations who summon up courage to tell us where we are not doing well are the real friends.
In all modesty, having covered Abuja and the presidency for the past 28 years as a reporter and editor, one should know enough about how sycophancy has certainly been one of the deadly weapons some members of the ‘kitchen cabinet’ have been using to lure most past leaders into political stupor until it is too late to recover. It is not easy to drive away these evil men called “palace flatterers” but they can be tactfully ignored by paying more attention to the other side, Mr. President.
More important is this: The president should remember the imperative of overhauling the bureaucracy that runs his office. The present presidential bureaucracy as has been well noted, cannot assist the president in his quest for operational efficiency. Besides, the civil service needs some rejig, which will help in institutionalizing efficiency that can reduce corruption, which has diminished us so fantastically.
That is why one would like to advertise the business model of some investors in football in a not-so-fantastic country called Spain. The paradigm of this business model can be gleaned from how successful, influential and powerful Spain has been in the world of soccer business. Let no sycophant disrupt the rhythm of this discussion by pointing out the prosperity in the famous Premiership in England where they make more money from TV rights that make them prominent but not so significant.
According to Rick Warren, the author of The Purpose Driven Life, you can be significant without being prominent. It should be noted here that in simple terms, only two prominent football clubs have dominated even global soccer from Spain: F.C Barcelona and Real Madrid. In the last few years, these two clubs have been producing the World Footballer of the Year (Ballon d’Or). Not only that, one of them, Real Madrid is the richest.
It is now closely followed by F.C Barcelona, according to Forbes. Manchester United (England) is the third on the rich list, (although KPMG rates Manchester United as No.2); Bayern Munich (Germany) is fourth while Arsenal (England) is the fifth. Let’s stop at the sixth, Manchester City. But the discussion point here will be on the six clubs on the rich list. This is not an expert’s opinion on football. I just want to discuss the enterprise spirit in the investors in Real Madrid and Barcelona within the context of strategic human resource management (SHRM) model that leaders can borrow from. Two players of the two selected teams, Lionel Messi and Christiano Ronaldo have been the discussion points every week after soccer competition. They are at the moment, the most frequently discussed in the world in soccer excellence, even in contextualizing talent and training.
It is said that Messi is a raw talent while Ronaldo is a reconstructed phenomenon through robust training. Only good world-class coaches are employed to maintain the brand equity of the two top clubs that always produce about 70 per cent of FIFA’s annual Best XI (Eleven Players in the world. The managers of these two clubs have always been high performing tacticians. The England’s real brand, Manchester United, has just recruited Jose Mourinho as a manager. The story of the “special one” from Portugal’s F.C Porto through Inter Milan & Real Madrid to Chelsea is well known to followers of football. But it will be recalled that it was Mourinho that changed the fortune of Real Madrid in 2011-2013, when they defeated Barcelona before leaving for England. He also restored glory to Chelsea.
The one that has been associated with the phenomenal rise of Barcelona in recent time is Pep Guardiola. The man has been hired by Manchester City to change the face of football competition in England. And Manchester United has responded appropriately by hiring Mourinho, the manager Mike Carson, a management expert and author of The Manager: Inside the Minds of Football’s Leaders calls “handler of outrageous talent”. Guardiola and Diego Maradona have gone on record as naming him (Mourinho) the world’s best coach, while Arrigo Sacchi of Italy has called him ‘phenomenal’. Now attention will shift to Manchester in England next season because of the presence of the world’s best football managers in the two clubs there. You can’t take excellence from factors of country or global competitiveness.
But this is not yet a treatise on football as a science now. This small note is again to draw attention of our president to the point earlier made on this page that you cannot rise above the quality of your team members or workforce. In other words, if you want to be a high-flying organization, economy or ruling party or government, you have got to aim for the best brains that can deliver service to the people passionately. Nigerian political leaders can borrow a leaf from this model from Spain that England is tapping from.
So, here is the thing: if you want to be great, you should be ready to finance greatness like Josep Maria Batomeu, the President of Futbol Club Barcelona (since January 2014) and the President of Real Madrid, Florentino Perez (since 2000). In the context of political leadership, what is needed here is that if you want to be like Real Madrid and Barcelona as I said in a recent article here, you have got to invest in your Messi and Ronaldo. You can also add your Luis Suarez and Gareth Bale in a great succession plan. More important in this context is the fact that in England, they would always love to keep an English man as manager of Manchester United. But fear of losing their brand has made them to look beyond ethnicity and ‘Englishness’. First, they went for Louis van Gaal from Holland. Now they have to do business of sustaining their brand by hiring Mourinho to remain competitive. So, the lesson: Mr President, there are still excellent men and women in Nigeria; settle with even your so-called political ‘enemies’ and look further afield for men and women who can help in building institutions that will outlive you.
This is what Mourinho told Carson on leadership: “One of the things you must remember as a leader is that your people are more important than you”. This is the contextual issue here: The quality of your team should not be compromised on the altar of ethnicity and religion. Like Madrid and Barcelona, get the best anywhere to achieve results. But in getting this result, Mr.President, you need a Guardiola in your team. You should look for your Mourinho. Where is Messi in this government? Where is your Ronaldo? We should reflect on this complexity for a more dynamic capability in the next one year, Mr President, Happy anniversary!
Inside Stuff Grammar School:
“Can” Vs “Be Able”:
It has been discovered that most people are careless about how this redundancy can be avoided. We often note that some people write or say: “I ‘can be able’ to help them”. Please, note that it is not good English to write or say the two words together. “Can” in this context, connotes ability. “I can do it”. “I can’t do it”. It is not correct to say: “I can be able to get there in good time”. You can say: “I can get there in good time”. “Be able” is redundant when placed with “can”.
Get the latest news delivered straight to your inbox every day of the week. Stay informed with the Guardian’s leading coverage of Nigerian and world news, business, technology and sports.