End SARS: It’s Time to Elect a “Professor”

ENDSARS: It's Time to Elect a Professor

Over the weekend, I finished watching the last available season of Money Heist……..

Money Heist also known as “La Casa De Papel” in Spanish is a crime-drama television series on strategic leadership and management by Alex Pina. We see the inception of an organization with a director, people hired, financial resources invested/expended, a clear vision, and detailed strategy development and implementation.  By 2018, the series became  the most-watched non-English language series and one of the most-watched series globally  on Netflix.

 Readers would be amused with the title of this article especially with the word “PROFESSOR”. Questions like why I should vote for a Professor – what makes a Professor different from an average  Nigerian might come to mind. Well, I am referring not to the Professor in a University – who’s has a Ph.D, but the character “El Professor” in the very popular Netflix show “ Money Heist”. 

The professor depicted deep analytical skills as he was able to conduct thorough research on each plan before execution; he never left a single detail hanging. From a planning perspective, he assembled his team members with all diverse but necessary skillset and was strong in scenario planning; he always had an alternative plan for a priority move. He never depended on his team; he seldom listened to advise and involved non-team members at different stages to achieve his team’s goal.

Now, I am sure you would be thinking of how this correlates with Nigeria’s present situation. Well, I can tell you that there is a link from a strategic and leadership perspective because these qualities are deficient in our leaders.  

We watched with heightened trepidation how our fellow Nigerians protested on social media and in several locations across the country. All this as a result of leadership failure from the government to restructure the police several promises in the last five years. This adds to the evidence that Nigerian leaders lack visionary leadership which has eroded quality and performance in the public service.  The events of the past weeks have further triggered a need for a deeper and structured national conversation about the future of our youths and the leadership that would help us achieve this goal

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As many economists have argued, Nigeria earnestly needs a proper economic and institutional restructuring. The youths constitute the bridge to the future, and their future is the future of a New Nigeria.

The House of Paper showed a profound illustration by the Professor on fundamentals of leading, leading nimble change, inspiring vision, purpose, and human bond. It shows the essential value of managerial leadership, implementing a strategy, and managing the inevitable challenge. He has the support of his team members as they have great trust in his plans and decision-making ability.

This is apparent when the team chooses to respect the protocol of waiting for 24 hours for his phone telephone call before activating ‘Plan Chernobyl’, despite clear evidence on the television of his impending imprisonment a few hours before the deadline. They do this as they have immense respect for his intellect and believe he will do everything in his power to save the team from any crisis. All these are qualities Nigeria would love to have in her “Professor”  so that we can build the New Nigeria.

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Let me admit that the road ahead is going to be a challenging one, as there will be no easy solutions. Just as Money Heist  has shown that there will challenges both great and small before the goal is accomplished. Oil has been the main source of government revenue but both output and price have collapsed, and with debt service gulping more than 50% of federal government revenue. In some sense, the FGN is technically insolvent at a time when every sector needs and demands a significant increase in wages and government spending. 

Managing Nigeria’s transition to a post-oil economy in the context of its tendentious fault-lines and fractured institutions as well as existing objective conditions of high youth unemployment and poverty will require rigorous strategic thinking. Nigeria is estimated to be home to about 70% of its total population who are youths under age 30 years unfortunately without a credible plan for their future, in a post-oil world, and the 4th industrial revolution.

Our leaders need to be people who serve the populace unlike what is presently obtainable where they are perceived as egotistical chasing after selfish desires. We need leaders who truly set visions and goals,  to which they attain and not like the past goals which were unevenly achieved such as Vision2020, ERGP of 2017, etc. Instead, our leaders need to undertake long-term strategic planning to develop policies oriented to the needs of Nigeria’s next generation. The President should request that government ministries, civil society, and the business community collaborate on a long-term strategic planning exercise to explore ‘next generation’ policy options, in a process that gives a powerful voice to young people themselves

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Just like Sergio “El Professor”, Nigeria needs a strategist in every tactical public position –  from the Local government chairman to the President, who can calculate and carefully consider every move before deciding. This unique quality in this set of people will ensure a constitution that the people of Nigeria can hand over power to people that are accountable, transparent, and responsible to the citizens. Therefore, it is necessary that henceforth we make sure we vote and wait to take count of votes as we work together to elect a “Professor” in every electable level of government.

O Bella Ciao, Bella Ciao

Mayowa Oyatogun is a Strategy Analyst with years of experience in strategy development, strategy implementation, process improvement, financial analysis and modelling. 

Mayowa is a graduate of Economics from Babcock University, Post-Graduate Diploma of Finance & Management from University of Essex and obtained his Master’s degree in Accounting & Finance from University of Salford. He’s also an associate member of UK’s Chartered Institute of Securities & Investment.

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