Rectorship Jostling: For Peace To Continue To Reign In Federal Poly Nasarawa – By Emeka Oraetoka


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In February 2014, the incumbent Rector of Federal Polytechnic Nasarawa State, Dr. Pius Otaru Salami, will take a bow, for another person to continue the good work at the school; to this end, three persons have been shortlisted for the post of rector, expected to be vacant in the month under review. Of the shortlisted fellows, an Insider was said to have taken first position in the interview conducted for the purpose of filling the proposed vacant post, while the second and third positions went to others from outside the system. The names of the penciled down candidates have since been sent to the President, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan for the final endorsement of his preferred candidate.

Intense lobby for the post has since commenced. Those close to the seat of power are said to have kick started moves to have their candidate endorsed. Some are said to be lobbying the high and mighty in the Presidency to have their own certified by the President. Although Federal Polytechnic Nasarawa is a government owned institution, and government can source the rector of the school from anywhere. But history of the school and others has shown that peace and stability is best guaranteed if the rector comes from within. Before Dr. Otaru Salami, the outgoing rector came on board, the school was going through unprecedented crisis as a result of break down of friendship between the school and the host community on one hand, and on the other hand, Staff, Rector Relationship was said to be at lowest ebb. The then government had no choice than to ask the presiding rector to proceed on leave so that peace could come back to the school.

The thinking of government then, paid off, as normalcy returned to the school immediately Dr. Pius Otaru’s predecessor left. Similarly, government adopted the same rule of allowing an Insider to preside over the affairs of Federal University of Technology Minna. Today, peace and tranquility has returned to the once troubled institution. In the light of these obvious facts, Federal Polytechnic Nasarawa will be better served if the current peace and stability in the school is sustained through the appointment of suitable successor to Dr. Pius Otaru Salami.

This write-up would not have been necessary if this writer had not read the book [BUILT TO LAST], that probably put paid to the straight jacket belief in some quarters that when Chief Executive Officers [CEOs] from outside takes over an organization, fresh ideas and innovation are introduced. The book in question, BUILT TO LAST, written by Jim Collins and Jerry I. Porras, examined in details the factors that make eighteen [18] visionary companies they investigated to be strong and great. They discovered that Home Grown Management was responsible. One of the myths the book debunked is the belief that “companies should hire outside CEOs to stimulate fundamental change”. In rubbishing this widely held myth, the book has this to say: “In seventeen hundred years of combined life spans across the visionary companies, we found only four individual outside incidents of going outside for a CEO-and those in only two companies. Home-grown management rules at the visionary companies to a far greater degree that at the comparison companies (by a factor of six). Time and again, they have dashed to bits the conventional wisdom that significant change and fresh ideas cannot come from insider”.

In page 173 of this very important book, this instructive caption stands out: PROMOTE FROM WITHIN TO PRESERVE THE CORE. Here is food for thought excerpt, capable of disarming skeptics: —Visionary companies develops, promotes, and carefully select managerial talent grown from inside the company to a greater degree than the comparison companies. They do this as a key step in preserving their core. Over the period, 1806 to 1992, we found evidence that only two visionary companies (11.1 percent) ever hired a chief executive outside the company, compared to thirteen (72.2 percent) of the comparison companies. Of 113 chief executives for which we have data in the visionary companies only 3.5 percent came directly from outside the company, versus 22.1 percent of 140 CEOs at the comparison companies. In other words, the visionary companies were six times more likely to promote insiders to chief executive than the comparison companies.

Surely, the intention of President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration at establishing more Federal Universities in Nigeria must have been informed by the overall need for continuity of the core vision behind the established institutions in the first place; this, Mr. President may have communicated to the pioneer Vice Chancellors. Therefore, the Vice Chancellors of these institutions should as a matter of preserving the core vision, adopt this book as a handy manual in planning for their successors in office. As for the lobbyists for the post of rector for Federal Polytechnic Nasarawa, it may be safe to conclude that they may have inadvertently seen their project hit the brick-wall, if we are to go by the experiences of organizations like, Hewlett Packard[hp], General Electric[GE], Ford, Sony etc, as the book revealed. Whatever the bait these lobbyists may want to dangle, President Goodluck Jonathan, an academic from the industry with cognate experience, is far more sophisticated and knowledgeable than them, for sure.



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