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Who between Atiku and Tinubu fits CEO of Nigeria?

By Olusegun Adegoke 
26 January 2023   |   3:04 am
In running a business, there are three fundamental characteristics anyone will put forward before hiring a 21st-century CEO. These important characteristics are, among others, Capacity, Energy, and Integrity.

Tinubu/Atiku

In running a business, there are three fundamental characteristics anyone will put forward before hiring a 21st-century CEO. These important characteristics are, among others, Capacity, Energy, and Integrity. Nigeria, as one of the most prominent economies in Africa, has seen the worst times since 1961 during which period almost all sectors of its economy are plunged down, from education to infrastructure, security, and health and the overall economic fortune has remained downward. Today, Nigeria is on the verge of change, one in which the decision to appoint the next CEO of the Nigerian PLC is very essential for its future, its survival, and the prosperity of its people. 

With so many challenges facing this nation at this time, a nation which happens to be Africa’s most populous country and the country with the highest number of black people in the world, there is a need to elect a president who has the capacity and experience to go out there and get the ball rolling immediately, not a trial and error situation. 

The CEO’s position is a unique opportunity that has been underutilized by previous presidents and presently, Nigeria stands at a crossroads of great opportunity, but also great risk. For instance, managing Zenith Bank Plc. from the head office as a top executive board member and managing its Oyo state branch as state manager are two different things. So, to achieve good results, you need a person who has managed a bank from a top executive position, with a diverse experience in all strata. From human resource management, people’s management, health care, staff management, economic and financial management, understanding the infrastructure deficit in all 36 states; someone with vast knowledge of ethnic diversity, knowing that the north, east, south or west have over 1000 ethnic groups, knowing that Mr. Mohammed is different from Mr. Chinedu in Onitsha or Mrs. Bunmi in Ibadan, and having a zero-ethnic attachment to any of them, treating them all as one Nigeria, such a person is very important and needed at this time. 

The CEO of Nigeria Plc. Requires to be someone who has global experience and knows the difference between having a conversation with a Chinese president or a South African President, someone who understands international politics from a global perspective, this person is different from managing a state with 20 local governments. With such high stakes and the highly competitive nature of leadership in a country like Nigeria, it is paramount for an aspiring CEO or presidential candidate to be a person of Capacity, Energy, and Integrity. These are the fundamental things anybody must use as a benchmark in picking the next CEO of Nigeria PLC.

The issue of Capacity is the competency to pilot the affairs of the country seamlessly, having a clear strategy, and the propensity to use subsidies for production as against consumption. The country needs a CEO who makes a difference, someone with the capacity to grow the country and reshape its economy, and someone who can take charge of our most important resources and partner with other oil-producing countries to “squeeze” it to its highest potential. A leader who can seat with foreign communities and institutions negotiating for the social and economic benefit of the Nigerian PLC.

If Nigeria was a branch or state office and we are trying to manage an Ogun or Kano state, then going below the belt can be overlooked. A national Plc., a national bank, a national industry, or a global organization would never settle for less whilst picking a quality leader to lead their company up the radar, they all have a strict policy to ensure only quality men with excessive from a senior national management level, the right capacity, and the experience to ascend the National throne.

Regarding the energy required, to think that managing a WhatsApp group with 250 people is draining, and tedious and requires a lot of sleepless nights, not to talk of managing a Nigerian PLC. It requires someone who wakes up by 5 am and does not sleep till 2 am, someone who is ready to go to work mentally sound and physically agile, someone who can hold meetings for long hours until the work is done, someone who is so energetic that you can wake him in the middle of the night for National discourse and emergence occurrences without him feeling overwhelmed. You can’t manage a complex country like Nigeria without energy and a high frequency of mental stability. 

Nigeria needs a leader who is mature in mind and young at heart. Here is where Alhaji Atiku Abubakar who is not only physically fit but mentally aware of all corners of this nation, and can hold conversations without diverging and confusing the difference between agriculture and science comes in handy. As for Bola Ahmed Tinubu, it would have been a different conversation ten years back; maybe we would not be having this discussion, seeing that Bola Ahmed Tinubu a young and vibrant governor of the great Lagos state whose mental and physical capacity was not questioned at that time. As we are currently seating on the edge of this new and crucial century, let’s all take time to reflect on how far we need to go and how best we can get there fast.

Lastly on Integrity, for over 50 years Nigeria has earned over $1 trillion from natural resources, but do we honestly look like $1 trillion has passed through this nation? Corruption and impunity has been the order of the day, so in picking a president we need to choose someone that has integrity. Warren Buffet said “when you are trying to elect a leader, where you don’t find integrity but you find capacity and energy, take capacity and energy because you can checkmate integrity. Though, they’ve been questions on the integrity of both Atiku Abubakar and Bola Ahmed Tinubu, nobody has been able to bring them to justice or convict them for any wrongdoing.  This is a source of concern of matters of integrity. A man of integrity but lacks in capacity and energy only benefits himself, but a man with capacity and energy with no integrity can appoint men of integrity and the country at large can put checks and balances in place to ensure integrity is upheld. However, a lack of capacity and energy will hurt the country. 

To his credit, Atiku Abubakar as a former vice president of the federal republic of Nigeria created not less than 50,000 direct jobs and 250,000 indirect ones. The innovative-minded icon also transformed Nigeria’s telecommunication sector, in his words “In 1999, Nigeria had less than 500,000 telephone lines. By 2007, we had grown that to over 50 million.” Numerous associations have described Abubakar as one individual who contributed to the development of higher education on the continent of Africa. “No private businessman in Africa has worked harder for democracy or contributed more to the progress of higher education than Atiku Abubakar,” the NPCA said. This was after, in 2012, when Abubakar donated $750,000 to the National Peace Corps Association in the United States, “to fund a new initiative featuring global leaders who will discuss Peace Corp’s impact.” None of which his competitors have ever done.

Atiku created a legacy in the banking consolidation process, which was the first big step for Nigeria’s economy during his tenure. He was able to get all the ministers to pledge their support for the appointment of a Federal Banking Commission, which ensured the stability of Nigerian banks today. His tenure saw the most stable forex regime, not what we have experienced so far during the APC rulership where the dollar rose from $180 to over $750. Either through the president or as a vice president, Atiku was part of the team that assembled what is arguably the best economic team ever in Nigeria. It was made up of young, world-class professionals some of whom are now political leaders, governors, and world leaders in their own right.

Atiku Abubakar’s achievements are glaring and go on to say, that in a complex situation where we have poor infrastructure, weak healthcare system and struggling educational system, unending crime, and terrorism, Poor human capital development, inconsistent economic policies and corruption, Atiku Abubakar is fit to tackle all issues and lead Nigeria into the promised land.  

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