Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Editorial: Delegating the advice of laughter

Delegated out of sight

When Rupert and James Murdoch appeared before the House of Commons Select Committee yesterday for all the commentary about how well they acquitted themselves with their responses, what stuck out for me was that the father and son were running a hydra-headed organisation over which they have decidedly delegated the minutiae whilst plotting the complex strategies for growing the News Corp. empire and the succession plan.

One honestly felt many of the questions that pertained to deplorable and atrocious phone-hacking scandal leading to the closure of the 168-year old News of the World newspaper tried to lay the responsibility at their feet but for the fact that it constituted 1% of the global conglomerate and hardly 250 of the total global staff of 53,000.

There was every likelihood that the people at the very top just left it run like clockwork in the background but the minuscule gangrenous social opprobrium of the offence with the societal revulsion that ensued took with it a good few senior heads in the News Corp. stable and the most senior police officers in the United Kingdom.

It shows how the delegation of power and responsibility in an organisation can introduce many layers of managerial structure that the essential oversight of making the vision, mission and principles of the leaders pervasive can lose its influence as they fall prey to being accused of neglect.

Many pools with few talents

Taking that template to another setting, one sees an unhealthy development within the bureaucracies of Nigerian governance. Besides the appointment of about 40 ministers at the federal level with the immediate assessment of the brains called to service suggesting only a handful have any prospect of performing, one is left crestfallen and forlorn about Nigeria daring to attain any of its potential over the next 4 years.

What is of even greater concern is the number of Special Assistants and Advisors that the president and the state governors are appointing to their mediaeval courts with interesting, overlapping and amusing titles, it is as if there is a person per thought that the conflict of ideas might well lead to lead to a mad house king oblivious of what to do to run the kingdom.

A comedy troupe

Nowhere is this big party at the public expense so exemplified than in Imo State where Rochas Okorocha as governor has appointed 15 Senior Special Assistants, 32 Special Assistants and 47 members of various committees to help in his government and this does not touch the matter of holders of portfolios – the commissioners.

It is one thing to be elected to office; there probably is need to payback those who helped by inviting their snouts to the trough, that extended relation that never could make it anywhere can muster all the mediocrity to satisfying some advisory role as long as he is out of earshot and why not invite whole families for the gubernatorial four year sleep-over?

If anyone thought this whole arrangement was a joke, Uche Ogbuagu, the Chief Comedian of the state might never live this down as the court jester but we are laughing at the governor.

Acknowledgements

Al Jazeera English offers a graphic of the Murdoch media empire, Reuters offers a sad analysis of Nigeria's dull cabinet reflecting a compromise culture giving serious cause for concern and the Imo State Blog brings to light the debutantes to the Court of Rochas I.

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