Friday, 7 February 2020

An Appraisal of the CEO in Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State: Administration in Focus


Lexically, administration implies the process or activity of running a business, organisation, etc. However, within this piece, it would refer to the management of public affairs, government (Oxford Dictionary). The central word here is management —towards the achievement of set goals/objectives. The function of the administration embodies: planning, organisation, direction and control. This article will be evaluating the administrative capacity of His Excellency the Executive Governor of Cross River State, Ben Ayade.  

The basic task of administration is to ensure the efficient performance of all departments in an organisation, here Ministries, Departments and Agencies MDAs. The gist here is that administration becomes the nexus between the MDAs and the citizenry. For the public administrator, here Ayade to be able to administer the plethora of aides —Commissioners, Special Advisers, Senior Special Assistants, Director Generals, Special Assistants, Members of Board and Personal Assistants, etc in the public service, and those in the civil service, then he (and any other at that) should have about ten traits: 
i. Commitment to the mission 
ii. Strategic vision 
iii. Conceptual skill 
iv. Attention to detail 
v. Delegation 
vi. Grow talent 
vii. Hiring savvy 
viii. Balance emotion 
ix. Creativity 
x. Digital communication experience. 
How well has His Excellency faired in the administration of the public service and civil service to the ultimate benefits of Nigerians resident in and indigenous to Cross River? How has His Excellency harnessed the quadruplet of planning, organisation, direction and control —pillars in administration, to the service of the common man and woman in the state? 

Fundamentally, planning preoccupies itself with thinking before acting. Accordingly, it asks these 5 important questions:
-What is to be done?
-How it is to be done?
-Where it is to be done?
-When it is to be done? And
-By whom it is to be done? ( According to the Framework for Defining and Assessing Public Office Holder's Performance, 'directing' is perceived to be a management 'ability to direct people, resources and talents to achieve results'. Management experts have variously concurred that directing lies at the core of management without which set goals are not achieved. It should be recalled that the argument had been highlighted that directing, amongst the trio of —coaching, supporting and delegating constitute one of the leadership styles in the Situational Leadership Model which aims at ultimately delegating power to the follower. Research has it that there are four basic elements of directing, to wit, 
*leadership, and 
*communication. ( Administration will be captured by #TheDailyNewsNG.

You will agree with this piece that for it to be said that there is organisation in Cross River then these four must be present:
  1. A goal in mind
  2. A leader or committee making the decision
  3. action involved
  4. communication and members. 
What is the goal, objectives for the state between 2015 and 2019 and beyond (especially to the end of the tenure in 2020)? The answer would be —industrialisation (this seem to be the basic official policy of government around which over other thing revolve). To the second pillar, there is a state cabinet which spearheads the state public service, and there's a leadership structure which runs the state civil service: these two structures of leadership can be deemed the 'Committee' making the decision. On the third/four feature: action, and communication/members. As for membership, there is a herd of appointees as well as officers in the civil and public services. The challenge is with the quality of members and leadership at both civil and public services. Communication may be said to be apt. But if the quality of staff is not encouraging, what quality of action do we envisage? 

First, His Excellency is keen about 'putting food on the table of Cross Riverians', that is, appointing a herd of 'political aloyal boys' who have little or no value to the masses than sycophancy. 
Secondly, there is repetition of responsibilities and creation of obviously absurd public offices that has turned the entire affair into a charade. The question is to what end are these duplicity in responsibilities? Thirdly, we have the reappointments and even promotion of former public officers who failed in their previous assignments (to the detriment of the masses) into new offices? How logical is this move? In this second tenure, appointments are characterised by nepotism and croynism? The super-maxim of 'the nearer the better the safer...' is the guiding norm. The long and short of the entire argument is thus: the quality of staff hired by His Excellency brings to question the honesty in the commitment to mission, delegation and hiring savvy of Ayade —does the governor really want to achieve industrialisation with this herd of staffing? In the first term, while addressing his aides in Obudu during a retreat, His Excellency told them that he will work with just a mearger percentage of his appointees. This was an implicit admittance to the acknowledgement that his staff were perceptively illsuited for their various official roles. 

This brings us to the final issue —control, which has to do with measuring tools employed to determine if goals are met. Or, Key Performance Index KPIs. If the staffing of the public and civil services are not suited for the jobs, how does His Excellency measure their effectiveness, efficiency and proficiency? Before His Excellency assumed office for the second term, did he appraise Cross River under his watch before 2015, during 2015 and 2019 and after 2019 in terms of goal achievements? The answers should be obvious. 

Given the above assessment of His Excellency's administrative genius along the lines of planning, organising, directing, and controlling, how do you rate the CEO in Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State —1, 2 or 3?

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