By Gilbert Ekezie
The President and Chairman of Council, Chartered Institute of Administration, Nigeria, Dr. GUK Chima, has advised that professional administrators, directly or indirectly engaged in questionable activities that bring about court charges against them should resign to face the charges. But he is of the opinion that if the accused is sure that he is free of all the accusations, the law must have to take its course.
In this interview with Gilbert Ekezie, Chima who is also a board member of the Association of Professional Bodies of Nigeria (APBN), said administrative office holders and politicians should uphold the ethics of their profession for better performance. He also spoke on other issues.
State of the nation
Nigerians are hopeful that something good will come. This is a new administration and we will not begin to judge them now. However, I would like to say that the administration is yet to find its feet. So, we need to give it more time to know where it is heading. As a large country, it is not easy because we had so many years of maladministration in Nigeria and for the fact that we are seeing a serious fight against corruption now, there is hope that the country will make headway in future. Understandably, Nigerians are not happy with the present recession that is biting hard on them but I am aware that something is being done about that. Presently, there is a close interaction between the government and core professionals on how to get out of the recession. But we should look into our resources and see how we can bounce back.
It is true that some of us are not in government, but we have the understanding on the best way to get out of recession. We have discussed about cutting down costs especially in the National Assembly to save Nigeria from the current predicament by putting such monies into productive use. Nigerians should also shun corruption at all levels and imbibe the culture of good service delivery.
Do you think the present administration is working with equity?
For us to achieve good result, we really have to bring in real educated and experienced professionals who are exposed to the rudiments of the profession. I think the Federal Government is trying to bring in core professionals into the administration and if the president succeeds in doing that, it will begin to bear good dividend within a short period of time. The right people have not been engaged in the right places and we are interacting with them.
Quality of administrators
Of course, we have trained and good administrators in Nigeria who are working and are ready to work.
Why Nigerian administrators can’t resign when corruption cases are brought against them?
The prevalent situation is indeed appalling and shameful. Administrative standards and ethics stipulate integrity, which every professional administrator in both public and private sectors must uphold. Each professional administrator must be accountable and able to carry out a personal performance assessment on assignments given. If a professional administrator is directly or indirectly engaged in questionable activities that bring about court charges against him, he has to resign and face his charges. But if he is sure that he is free of all the accusation, the law must take its course. Other administrative office holders or politicians in developed countries, who uphold administration ethics avoid sharp practices and voluntarily resign when situation pushes them to do so.
Competence of political office holders
Many of our political leaders have no professional administrative competence but time shall come in Nigeria when aspiring political office holders must be mandated to undertake professional administration competency training and become chartered administrators so as to imbibe core ethics and standards, which are essential for accountability, probity and transparency.
Establishment of Chartered Institute of Administrators
There are three key reasons, among others, that inspired CIA’s establishment. They include the impact of deficient curriculum of the training of administrators; the scheme and educational content of training administrators were grossly irrelevant to the challenges posed by the enormous administrative issues, which require attention. Training and education were based on simple rules and guidelines of public administration, which did not address key issues concerning human resources, material, financial and others. The result is therefore the production of men and women who are ill equipped to face the onerous task of resource husbandry. Also, the founding fathers of the institute were deeply worried by the fact that professional administration was not given its due recognition in the curriculum content of professional education in the country. Most of those who formed the researchers of indigenous administration today obtained their trainings overseas in foreign content. And in the past, the practitioners of the profession were mainly graduates of Management and Business Administration from various tertiary institutions in Nigeria, as well as members of some professional bodies, notably, Nigeria Institute of Management (NIM) and Chartered Institute of Personnel Management of Nigeria (CIPMN), among others, depending on where in the economy they found themselves.
Lack of coordinated body for the practitioners of administration added to give impetus to the professional administration in Nigeria, including qualified body of knowledge, discipline and ethics. And with the passage of time, it became quite obvious that no manager can do the work of administration better than a professional administrator. The accountants, bankers, pharmacists, engineers, medical doctors and many others practice administration in one way or the other became administrators, although they were never trained as professional administrators. This has been the case in Nigeria, which stimulated the need for the establishment of the institute.
Since its establishment, CIA has achieved several giant strides and other ongoing activities, which include having a chartered status by Act No. 103 of 1997. This is the greatest achievement because it meant to professionalise administration in Nigeria and to maintain high quality training and examination standard over the years.
We maintained high quality training and examination standard over the years and trained over 10,000 professional administrators who have imbibed relevant knowledge, skills and competence and we injected them into the Nigerian economy to fast track national development. Also, we trained competent chartered administrators that are contributing to national development in various sectors and established study centres in almost all the 36 states of Nigeria including Abuja. We belong to APBN. The institute holds annual budget seminar during which it reviews the Federal Government’s budget and thereafter submit its recommendations to the government. The institute has held and continued to hold seminars, workshops, conferences and symposia on topical issues aimed at addressing the problems of the Nigerian economy and how to improve its performance.
Some of the notable challenges we have include the issue of non-integration in the scheme of service of the federation. Certainly, we met all the required criteria, but bureaucracy seems to be the greatest impediment; the prevalence of poorly qualified individuals who occupy critical administrative positions without necessary professional training as stipulated by the law establishing the CIA and certification from administration. It is obvious that pharmacists, engineers, medical doctors and so many others, practice administration in one way or the other, although they were never trained as professional administrators. These have been the case in Nigeria, which stimulated the need for the establishment of the institute in 1987.
Where are CIA professionals commonly found?
Interestingly, our members are in the top echelon of administrations like in the National Assembly, State Assemblies, state government offices, corporate organisations, religious bodies, NGOs and private establishments, among others. We also have collaborations with universities, polytechnics and other tertiary institutions and some professional bodies nationally and internationally.
Obviously, every business organisation is out to make profits. So, when that is not being achieved, an efficient manager would resort to cutting costs to meet up. And the next thing to do is reducing the human capital. I think that is a natural reaction to recession but it has to be done accordingly to avoid sacking those who are not supposed to be sacked.
Government’s benefit from CIA
Our major concern is for CIA to come into the scheme of service. That will be an additional impetus for national growth. We will use our wealth of experience to ensure better service to the country.