Good Business Managers Will Make Better Governors

World Bank Africa Region

By Ayo Morakinyo

 

VENTURES AFRICA – Governance cannot work without proper management because the functions performed in governance are a subset of what managers do in business. Upon comparing a governor, as a typical prime government player, to a manager, who is the first chief entrepreneur in a business environment, it is seen that a governor is actually a manager who based, on the overall leadership style, may or may not have advisers. Both governors and managers perform the functions of planning, coordinating or controlling, organizing and leading- though at different levels and qualities.

 

They administer resources, delegate responsibilities, possess the powers to punish or reward, and should be accountable for budget implementation and state expenditures. They occupy hierarchical positions where several other persons who directly perform the documented and planned tasks documented report to them on a consistent basis. As such, both governors and managers coordinate the resources entrusted to them, distribute them as planned and monitor the work done with or by the resources that in the end, they may have good accounts of the entire assignments from the planning stages to closing stages, if it is presumed that they both have to report to the public electors and senior managers respectively. Ultimately, no governor or manager can be so called in the absence of manpower, machinery, materials, money and any other useful resource. Governance is serious management business and not some sort of formal entertainment.

 

But while both are administrators, they are not equal and cannot be the same. The active leadership style and approved laws of each nation determine their differences. For instance, democratic countries provide the pre-requisite qualifications for persons who may aspire for the office of state governor as electoral candidates and these are stated in their national constitutions. Once such persons satisfy the initial conditions provided in the constitution, it is assumed that they are competent and should be voted for even if they lack good managerial qualities. As such, while a manager can be relieved of power within the provisions of applicable contract terms by the same senior managers or stakeholders who conferred such authorities upon him/her, a governor cannot be dismissed by the exact persons who elected him/her into office. Rather, a governor will only relinquish power when his fellow government players approved in the constitution, whether judicial or legislative, see reasons to effect his/her impeachment.

 

Consequently, a governor may choose to be or not be accountable to the public as long as he/she pacifies those who, by constitutional provisions, retain the power to oust him/her from the occupied office. This is perhaps understandable because the governor may not be able to satisfy all the needs of the associated public but is expected to relate with the demands of their elected representatives. It therefore behoves the public to elect only trustworthy and listening altruists as their representatives and otherwise, sponsor such interested persons among them.

 

If governance is a system which confers authority on certain selected persons to make or amend, interpret and apply laws that control the lifestyles of a people then the possession of poor managerial skills by prime government players will lead to inefficient governance. The system should not be too complex for the person managing it because he/she was deemed competent prior to installation and the pertinent office ethics demand that such a person perform optimally in that capacity.

 

Persons who cannot analyse paramount societal needs, develop realistic objectives from pools of prevalent problems, persuade the people to see the most vital necessities, administer and monitor resources to ensure the attainment of set objectives, perform self-evaluation at regular intervals, account to the people for cost incurred and milestones achieved within proper duration and relate to his subordinates or people in the context of their challenges, cannot be classified as great leaders, governors or managers.

 

Thus, governors are some kinds of leading managers and those who do not have managerial skills and cannot learn the functions of managers and practice them while in office should leave the responsibilities and worries of governorship to those who can work and learn on the job in transparency.

 

With the attendant challenges of the 21st century and its accompanying tenets of liberty, democratic administrators leading millions of people should not limit themselves to the disappearing league of mundane governors.