Former Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Iyom Josephine Anenih, has said that there cannot be democracy without the deliberate “recognition of our differences. Diversity improperly managed could lead to organisational inefficiencies, conflicts and war in a society.”
She made the remark at the Nigerian Institute of Management (NIM), Chartered, investiture of its President and Chairman of Council, Mrs Patience Ehizogie Anabor, in Lagos recently: “The challenge of managing diversity was an everyday struggle in every evolving society, from the first world to the third world. It isn’t just a Nigerian or African issue. Rising tensions and outright conflict were the concomitant effects of the gradual decline in our ability to manage diversity.”
She declared her support for Ruga: “Cattle rearing is a way of life for certain Nigerians, and with climate change and desertification, inevitable shrinking of grazing pastures because of urban development, clashes will continue to occur unless we sit down and work our a solution that accommodates all interests.”
She noted that commitment to diversity was hard but one we should make if we truly want to build organisations and society that represents everyone, and that everyone represents. On how to remodel some of the issues raised, she identified “the well-intentioned but ultimately failed attempts by the state to foster a sense of national unity through Gowon’s post-civil war National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) and the federal character scheme, which appeared to be observed more in breach these days.”
She recommended “the crafting and implementation of pro-diversity laws, which can give each of the diverse groups a sense of inclusion; legislation for equitable representation as well as appointment that reflects the nation’s diversity.
“I would support legislation that fixes quotas for women, youths and persons living with disabilities in state and federal appointive offices and social protection for the elderly. Governance and policy actions should be spread across the diverse groups to imbue citizens with a sense of belonging, while the principles of rule of law and equity before the law must be upheld for all and sundry, against the backdrop of nepotism and power privileges.”
In his valedictory message, the former president, Professor Olukunle Iyanda, said the institute in the last two years was able to devote considerable time and resources to strengthen its advocacy programme by addressing current management issues with a view to finding an organisational and administrative structure that would enable Nigeria to leverage its enormous human and material resources for the benefit of the people.
He listed his achievements to include maintenance of the institute’s property in Lagos and Abuja in line with its code, which enjoined all managers to find and employ the most economical ways of getting things done, financial reorganization, top executive leadership programme, which could not hold in USA, and UK as it used to, owing to visa problems but ran in other countries with less restrictive visa polices and Management Hall of Fame.
He admitted that his unfinished tasks were the inability in getting corporate members’ top management to participate in the elections to the institute’s leadership positions: “Though we succeeded in having four corporate members serve on council.” He said his team implemented the council’s decision to constitute Fellows of the Institute (FoI) into faculties based on their expertise but the faculties are yet to start work.
He called on Anabor to continue championing the campaign for the establishment of a Management Science Day by the United Nations as well as by the government of Nigeria. He expressed the need for the intensification of effort to recognise the institute’s certificate for career placement and advancement: “While many states and private organisations have granted that recognition, the National Council of Establishment is yet to do so.”
Anabor said the task ahead was a onerous one: “Our administration will thrive on continuity and consolidation as we intend to sustain all the good programmes of our predecessors. We shall build on the legacies and sound foundation laid by them.”
The pioneer inductees to the Management Hall of Fame were late (Dr) Christopher Ebhodaghe Abebe, late Jerome Oputa Udoji and Dr Michael Olawale Omolayole. Responding after his induction, Omolayole said: “When I got a letter February 20, 2019, informing me of the establishment of Management Hall of Fame, I didn’t know it was established to make me a living pioneer inductee especially in this era of ‘talkism.’
“I was not only lucky to be alive to receive the award, I was also close to the other posthumous recipients.” Twenty principal officers were inaugurated to lead the institute for the next two years.