Pro­fes­sional head­hunt sought for CBN, PenCom, SEC, NHIS chiefs

Business a.m. - - FRONT PAGE - BY OUR RE­PORTERS

AMA­JOR RE­VIEW IN THE WAY and man­ner ap­point­ments are made to ma­jor fi­nan­cial reg­u­la­tory in­sti­tu­tions in the coun­try is qui­etly be­ing can­vassed and kite flown in the wake of un­fold­ing de­vel­op­ments at both the Na­tional Pen­sion Com­mis­sion (PenCom) and the Na­tional Health In­sur­ance Scheme (NHIS).

Those who are cham­pi­oning the push say the reg­u­la­tory in­sti­tu­tions have had ap­point­ments to their lead­er­ship of­ten shrouded in se­crecy, tainted by po­lit­i­cal, eth­nic and re­li­gious in­flu­ences; and in a few se­ri­ous cases had led to in­com­pe­tent peo­ple oc­cu­py­ing such reg­u­la­tory po­si­tions or that the in­di­vid­u­als so ap­pointed be­come be­holden to their po­lit­i­cal masters at the detri­ment of the econ­omy, Nige­ri­ans and the coun­try as a whole.

busi­ness a.m. learnt that those be­hind the push are plan­ning to lobby the Na­tional Assem­bly to work on a bill that would change the way and man­ner cer­tain ap­point­ments are made, es­pe­cially to re­duce the de­gree at which in­com­pe­tent peo­ple find their way into such po­si­tions. They say they are can­vass­ing that ap­point­ments to such of­fices as the of­fice of the Gover­nor of the Cen­tral Bank of Nige­ria (CBN), the Direc­tor Gen­eral of Na­tional Pen­sion Com­mis­sion (PenCom), the Ex­ec­u­tive Sec­re­tary of the Na­tional Health In­sur­ance Scheme (NHIS), the Com­mis­sioner for In­sur­ance/CEO of the Na­tional In­sur­ance Com­mis­sion (NAICOM), the Direc­tor Gen­eral of the Se­cu­ri­ties and Ex­change Com­mis­sion (SEC), the Ex­ec­u­tive Chair­man of the Fed­eral In­land Rev­enue Ser­vice (FIRS), should be pro­fes­sion­alised and de­tached from po­lit­i­cal schem­ing where some­times party mem­bers are ap­pointed and ev­ery sense of pro­fes­sion­al­ism is thrown to the dogs.

The ad­vo­cates of this new push also say that they would like to see a proper pro­fes­sional head­hunt­ing scheme put in place with a rig­or­ous se­lec­tion process that would be car­ried out by glob­ally recog­nised and tested in­de­pen­dent pro­fes­sional head­hunt­ing firms.

“Ev­ery of this po­si­tion is tenured. It means that once some­one is ap­pointed, he or she knows how long they will serve; and government which makes the fi­nal an­nounce­ment knows how long too. So, I be­lieve one or two years to the end of the ten­ure of an in­cum­bent, a re­cruit­ment, head­hunt­ing process ought to kick in. The ap­pointee of­ten signs a con­tract be­fore tak­ing up the ap­point­ment and as such if it is an ap­point­ment re­quir­ing two terms for

an in­di­vid­ual, he or she should be able to in­di­cate that they are in­ter­ested in serv­ing a sec­ond term and their first term per­for­mance would be eval­u­ated for a con­sid­er­a­tion to ex­tend,” said some­one close to the cham­pi­ons of this new move.

One source told busi­ness a.m. that the over­ar­ch­ing­mo­tive­for­this­pushisthatthe bestis­sought­forthe­sereg­u­la­to­ry­po­si­tions es­pe­cially be­cause there are mil­lions of com­pe­tent Nige­ri­ans in dif­fer­ent parts of the world who ought to be al­lowed an op­por­tu­nity to of­fer ser­vice. Be­sides, they say it is in the best in­ter­est of the gen­eral- ity of the cit­i­zens that th­ese po­si­tions are clearly apo­lit­i­cal.

The pro­mot­ers of the idea know that they have their work cut out as they be­lieve that they are up against much op­po­si­tion al­ready, who are largely ben­e­fi­cia­ries of pa­tron­age of­ten dis­pensed un­der po­lit­i­cal, eth­nic and re­li­gious cloaks. “We know there will be much op­po­si­tion against us, but we think that it is about time that we be­gan to look at cer­tain reg­u­la­tory in­sti­tu­tions, es­pe­cially those to do with fi­nan­cial reg­u­la­tion like the CBN, SEC, NAICOM, PenCom, to see that ap­point­ments into their lead­er­ship are more pro­fes­sion­ally done,” said one of the pro­mot­ers of this ini­tia­tive.

But this push comes on the back of two re­cent de­vel­op­ments at the Na­tional Pen­sion Com­mis­sion, where a group last week leaked a pe­ti­tion sent to the Eco­nomic and Fi­nan­cial Crimes Com­mis­sion (EFCC) in which they al­leged a num­ber of un­to­ward de­vel­op­ments at PenCom, lit­er­ally call­ing out the act­ing direc­tor gen­eral for cer­tain mis­de­meanours. The EFCC is yet to re­spond if it is go­ing to act on the pe­ti­tion, but a num­ber of damn­ing al­le­ga­tion were madea­gain­stthe­act­ingdi­rec­tor­gen­eral, Aisha Dahiru-Umar.

One par­tic­u­lar al­le­ga­tion that the group, which calls it­self The Pen­sion Re­form Ad­vo­cacy Group, made against the act­ing direc­tor gen­eral both­ers on in­com­pe­tence, with the group al­leg­ing that she was not qual­i­fied to oc­cupy the of­fice. Those who are ask­ing for a more pro­fes­sional way of re­cruit­ing peo­ple into th­ese reg­u­la­tory in­sti­tu­tions say this and many oth­ers are the rea­sons why the time is call­ing for a change to be made and that proper head­hunt­ing of pro­fes­sion­ally com­pe­tent peo­ple is the way to go.

At the Na­tional Health In­sur­ance Scheme (NHIS), the ex­ec­u­tive sec­re­tary, Us­man Yusuf, a cere­bral pro­fes­sor, who many be­lieve should be com­pe­tent, is also facing ac­cu­sa­tions from a num­ber of peo­ple who al­lege that he is cor­rupt. How­ever, in both cases fin­gers are be­ing pointed at the way and man­ner those ap­point­ments were made – they were shrouded in se­crecy, not ad­ver­tised and no known se­lec­tion in­ter­views were held.

Ken­neth Amaeshi, direc­tor of the Sus­tain­able Busi­ness Ini­tia­tive, and a full pro­fes­sor at the Univer­sity of Ed­in­burgh, United King­dom, told busi­ness a.m. that the idea to sub­ject such ap­point­ments to pro­fes­sional head­hunt­ing is a wel­comed one. “It’s a good idea,” he sim­ply said.

“On face value, there­fore, it is fair to say that this sys­tem of lead­er­ship by se­nior­ity is not a good way to run an or­gan­i­sa­tion. Re­search ev­i­dence shows that com­pe­ti­tion brings out the best in peo­ple. Com­pe­ti­tion af­fords peo­ple the op­por­tu­nity to de­mon- strate how best they can con­trib­ute to the growth of an or­gan­i­sa­tion, and of­fers an or­gan­i­sa­tion an op­por­tu­nity to choose from a pool of com­pe­tent peo­ple,” Amaeshi fur­ther said.

L-R: Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, gover­nor, Kebbi State; Awele Elumelu, trustee, Tony Elumelu Foun­da­tion(TEF) and CEO, Avon Med­i­cals; Fo­larin Aiyeg­busi, busi­ness in­for­ma­tion spe­cial­ist, TEF; Tony O. Elumelu, founder, The Tony Elumelu Foun­da­tion; Nana Akufo-Addo, pres­i­dent, Repub­lic of Ghana; Mo­hammed Ab­du­lahi Abubakar, gover­nor, Bauchi State, at the TEF En­trepreneur­ship Fo­rum 2018, the largest gath­er­ing of young African en­trepreneurs, and the launch of TEF Con­nect, the world’s largest dig­i­tal plat­form for African En­trepreneurs , or­gan­ised by The Tony Elumelu Foun­da­tion in La­gos on Thurs­day

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