By Mon-Charles Egbo
Success in leadership is always for the prepared and well-equipped minds who would not allow their circumstances discourage or distract them. It is an exclusive preserve of those who are exceptionally imbued with the critical and strategic thinking capabilities. They are broad-minded, focused and committed to lofty ideals. And because they recognize the ultimate importance of set goals and objectives, they always have their eyes on the ball. They are determined and inherently ambitious of breaking barriers. And above all, they understand the difference between doing the right things and doing things right.
By every standard of assessment, Arc. Olatunde Ojo Amos is one of such contemporary leaders poised for greatness. The damning politics and intrigues that preceded his eventual appointment as the clerk to the national assembly seven months ago notwithstanding, he is out to make marks, in justification for the confidence reposed in him.
Despite arriving safely and quite deservedly at the pinnacle of his career, his desire to keep serving with integrity and passion for excellence is not in any way waning. Rather, he recognized that his new roles were already cut out for him especially given that national assembly then was witnessing a complicated defining moment characterized by uncertainties.
And therefore armed with excellent service credentials spanning three decades of both public and private sectors experience, as well as patriotic willingness to leave the national assembly better than he met it, he rolled up his sleeves, unleashed a blueprint and then quickly keyed into the legislative agenda of both arms of the institution. His visions and goals summarized in his words are essentially “for better deliveries of constitutional responsibilities that is of international standard in lawmaking, representation and oversight”.
Of course, having risen through the rungs, he is aware that strong institutions are built on strong, dynamic and virile bureaucracy. In other words, strong institutions are driven by efficient and effective workforce with strong characters which fuels his firm belief that the success or otherwise of legislatures world over is a function of the personnel. He demonstrates conviction that both the administrative support staff and legislative aides must be adequately motivated and mobilized for efficiency towards parliamentary excellence.
The premium he places on this informed his establishment and empowerment of a functional office for labour-related matters. And also beyond his management-by-objective (MBO) style of leadership, as a seasoned team player, his doors are always open to the representatives of the parliamentary staff association, PASAN, and the national assembly legislative aides’ forum, NASSLAF, as well as the press organizations of both chambers.
Specifically, he is devoted to reviewing for possible reversal, certain unfavourable policies involving the legislative aides, which he inherited though, notably in the areas of welfare packages and statutory entitlements. Just last week as a pointer, he convened an expanded stakeholders’ engagement on this subject. Then for the administrative and support staff category, promotion-related and overall welfare issues are receiving dedicated attention. This is verifiable.
Furthermore, CNA is profoundly inclined to elevating capacity building to a reasonable height. Shortly after appointment, he was quick to declare that there shall be “training and retraining of our staff members inclusive of our legislative aides also because for us to achieve this aim, we know that our staff need training and retraining and we are pointed to make sure that this we do appropriately in conjunction with all ready organizations willing to support and back us up in this venture”.
Continuing, he emphasized that “our capacity development therefore will be a continuous process, making sure that the knowledge gaps we have in the various parts of the National Assembly are filled up so that from any part of the National Assembly, if you pick a staff, he speaks and acts as a legislative bureaucrat. That is what we want to make sure we achieve and we are trusting that by the time we set this house properly definitely since it is our objective, God helping us we are going to attain it”.
Typical of a responsive leader that he is, he spares thoughts for the perennial public clamour for entrenchment of transparency in the running of the national assembly especially relative to service delivery. And quite thankfully, he has an ally in the person of the president of the senate, Ahmad Lawan, who doubling also as the chairman of the national assembly had since laid a formidable foundation for this singular target.
On his part, Arc. Amos noted that “we have enormous environmental challenges that negatively impact on the work ethics and professional standard of the national assembly bureaucracy”. He consequently declared that “to this end, the management under my leadership will make sure that the work of the assembly altogether, is done with utmost transparency, making sure that at all times everyone involved will be willing to do what he is expected to do and do it promptly also, the right way it should be done”.
The first major test to this professed resolve to deepening transparency and due diligence in particularly financial affairs of the national assembly was the 2021 budget. Being the first one he superintended over as the chief accounting officer, there was a disclosure of the comprehensive national assembly budget breakdown. This was and is still being roundly applauded as a sharp departure from the recent past. And moving forward, he has put in place a template that guides both legislative and bureaucratic book-keeping for sustainable accountability.
And equally remarkable, Mr. Clerk in deploying his mastery of modern global legislative practices and particularly vast knowledge of the challenges, setbacks and emerging opportunities associated with the national assembly, he mobilized for electronic parliament as the sure way to go, in order to cover lost grounds and catch up with the emerging trends. This incidentally was his first foot forward which underscores his broader vision and direction.
Barely one month on the saddle, he hinted that “we want to make sure that the National Assembly operates e-parliament and to operate e-parliament, we have to develop our ICT so that when anyone comes into the National Assembly, whether as a media man or you belong to one group or the other, you can easily log on and access anywhere in the world and we will make accessibility to lawmaking and everything on National Assembly free for everybody, the moment you enter into this place.
On his projections for such innovation, he added that “I believe that by the time we are able to achieve this with discipline and integrity, there will be a properly transformed National Assembly to be able to deliver our purpose and objectives”.
Though still an on-going process, there is now an infrastructure in place that allows law makers to electronically clock-in and clock-out of the chambers for easy and seamless record of attendance to plenaries. This first of its kind. Again, he is making conscious efforts at consolidating on the e-voting provisions and simultaneously widening the scopes for the other existing ICT platforms for legislative excellence.
Instructively also and despite his elevation in status, he is still in touch with the physical planning and environment of the national assembly. He ensures that the aesthetics and ordered infrastructural developments are sustained. It will be recalled that “the major infrastructural improvements that have taken place in the National Assembly were sequel to his design and supervision”.
And so barely seven months down the line, Arc. Olatunde Ojo Amos has substantially justified his choice and subsequent appointment. It is such that given the way he is going, he is certainly on the right path of earning an enviable place among the very few stewards who leave whatever offices they occupy better than they meet it, through innovations and transformations. In short, he has within the relatively short stay in office fortified his place in history relative to the prevailing upward trajectory that has defined the 9th National Assembly’s deliberate commitment to transparent and prudent management men and resources.
In quick successions, he is demonstrating that things must be done differently in order to change the narratives. Not just by words, his actions truly prove that he came with a mindset to deliver especially given his pedigree. His performance record so far is indicative that indeed, there are still dedicated leaders who are grounded in the art of prudent handling of resources under their care.
He has not left anyone in doubt as to his mastery of dynamic leadership that inspires productivity. The intelligence, imaginative insight, dynamism and fair judgement that have continued to accentuate his style of administration equally are systematically mobilizing both the management and staff towards creatively complementing the aspiration of the national assembly leadership for a new way of doing things relative to contemporary parliaments world over.
Aside the fiscal and monetary discipline now in place, he is rebuilding the bureaucracy through fast-evolving and revived attention to general welfare and capacity development for the workforce aimed at facilitating efforts at making the national assembly regain its pride of place among the global democracies. He is excelling because he came to leadership with a mindset to serve, deliver and not just be a boss. He is principally committed to complementing the political leadership in ensuring benchmarked services, probity and accountability in the overall affairs of the national assembly. Hence, the prevailing mood among those that observe him closely and objectively is that at last, character, competence and capacity are being accorded deserved prominence in the scheme of things. Even those that were being mindlessly manipulated to truncate his choice and subsequent appointment are today among the leading voices in extolling his inherent magnanimity and unique leadership diligence. Therefore may it be reiterated for the umpteenth time that “the eventual emergence of Arc. Olatunde Ojo Amos as the clerk to the national assembly is empirically a round peg in a round hole relative to the foregoing”. But in the interim, this is just one way of celebrating this man of impressive sagacity while wishing him a resounding happy birthday as he turns 58.
Egbo is a reputation management practitioner