A capable successor will be Buhari’s greatest legacy | The Guardian Nigeria News
Speaking at one of his many public lectures at Harvard Business School, the late great management guru, Dr. Peter Drucker, once said, “There is no success without a successor,” emphasizing that succession planning and transition is one of the key responsibilities. transcendent leaders. In other words, a leader’s continued success can only be guaranteed if that leader makes a conscious effort to raise a worthy and capable successor who will cement his legacy. Leaders who prepare and mentor their successors safeguard the future of their organization and their country and help it avoid the turbulence associated with succession.
Although Dr Drucker was addressing the global business community, his message applies even more to the leaders of nations and how they manage their succession planning and transition, especially in nations that have adopted democratic principles that support four-year election cycles. This becomes even more of a challenge for leaders in emerging democracies where the personal interests of political actors struggle to undermine the national interest. Generally, nations are going concern enterprises, which means that they have a continuous existence and should therefore be treated as if they would continue to operate indefinitely. Successful farsighted leaders understand that they will eventually leave their current job, but they are aware of how and to whom they are passing the baton. For the leaders of nations, the power of the state gives them the uncommon ability not only to choose their successors, but also to support them throughout the electoral process.
It is imperative to note that in choosing a successor, the best option is to choose someone who is prepared, equipped and ready for the job. However, the fundamental mistake that most organizations and nations make in succession planning is trying to clone its leaders or trying to copy the existing leader. This not only stifles innovation and creativity, but creates a culture that has no room for innovation. These cloned successors are prevented from thinking outside the box, undermining socio-economic progress. On the contrary, leadership – succession is like a relay race and successful leaders understand that the process of passing the baton can be complicated, regardless of the skills and experiences of the runners.
The handover process is a crucial success factor in the outcome of a relay race and it can be tricky and risky. This means runners should practice passing the baton again and again and learn about best practices and approaches in order to avoid potential mistakes. Again, since every second counts, runners learn the best techniques for hand coordination. They don’t just change hands when carrying the baton, if the first runner holds the baton in the right hand, the second runner will receive the baton and run with it in the left hand, the third will receive and carry the baton in the right hand and the last runner will wield it with the left hand. It is instructive to note that all these preparations are made before the day of the competition, so that the runner runs well from the start.
The above account perhaps helps us to understand the relationship between President Muhammadu Buhari and his deputy Prof. Oluyemi Oluleke Osinbajo, SAN. While Mr. President has remained silent on this matter for obvious reasons, a keen observer will note that it appears that President Buhari has subtly prepared his vice as part of his succession plan. The VP even gave a clue that helps explain this point. Speaking during his Presidential Declaration Address on April 11, the Vice President said: “For the past seven years I have served as Vice President under a true Nigerian patriot, a servant of the nation in times of war and peace and a man of integrity, President Muhammadu Buhari. We have, together, weathered some of the toughest times in our nation’s history, but we have remained focused on securing the country, providing infrastructure, and growing our economy.
This statement is not only a clue that Mr. President consciously raised him as part of his succession plan, it also highlighted one of his most distinctive credentials, which gives him a clear advantage among the list of other presidential candidates who have expressed an interest, in particular those of the ruling party, the All Progressives Congress (APC). Osinbajo’s experience as vice president under Buhari’s administration gives him a head start, especially when it comes to consolidating the gains of Buhari’s administration. When one further considers his unshakeable sense of loyalty to Mr. President, his rigorous scholarship and professionalism, his stern discipline and proven integrity in the performance of his constitutionally assigned duties, one would better understand why he fits in rightly in Buhari’s succession plan.
Considering the dramatic political events unfolding lately, – from the number of people who have declared their interest in running for president, to the characters of these aspirants, – one would better understand why President Buhari has kept his strategy of succession near his chest. It becomes even more disturbing when reliable sources confirm that most of these APC aspirants are sponsored by an aspirant who is a bag of money with the intention of making them resign for him, creating a false effect of landslide during the primaries. As we watch these dramas unfold, one thing is clear, especially to social scientists, that they reflect the state of our social evolution as a nation. It is therefore incumbent on President Buhari to overcome the temptation, maintain his known principles of discipline and patriotism and give Nigeria a good man who would consolidate the gains of his administration and open new frontiers for our national development. It would be his greatest legacy.
In the final analysis, the ultimate measure of his presidency would be the character of the man he chooses to support as the next President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. In my opinion, providence has already made it easy for him, because he has a capable assistant, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, a good man who represents the best of us and who is also well prepared for the job.
Obele, a sociologist, wrote from Abuja.