November 30, 2021

Explaining The Efforts Of El-Rufai To El-Yakub

4 min read

By Bala Ibrahim

I read  Musbahu El-Yakub’s response to the ongoing rumpus between the labour union and Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, the governor of Kaduna state, over the plans of the governor to downsize, right size, or rationalize the staff strength of the state. The caption of the response is, “A GOVERNOR IS A LEADER.”

I would like to disgrace a little, by eulogizing Musbahu El-Yakub to the point of envy, because of his luck in possessing high qualities in writing skills and the sense of fluid presentation. Every time I read Musbahu’s write ups, I become more informed, because he dazzles me with free theoretical education of what he acquired through experience. Thumbs up for that, Musbahu.

He started thus, “When I got into School of Basic Studies/ABU Zaria, Mallam Nasiru El Rufai had graduated. But he had left a mark and his name was all over the campus. The nerds amongst us took him for the role model they had never met. He is certainly brilliant and as we shall see later, courageous. Two, out of three, very important leadership qualities are ticked in the man.”

The article, or response, which also praised the governor enthusiastically, with special bias to his Intellectual intelligence, was however critical in the area of what he referred to as, Emotional intelligence. Musbahu said and I quote, “Intellectual and emotional intelligences are of two different dimensions and having one doesn’t in any way suggest having the other. We must work to develop each on its own. Emotional intelligence is about being alert to our own emotional state at any point in time and using the awareness to optimise our relationships and enhance our productivity. It is about understanding other people and knowing how to effectively relate with, and get the most out of them in any situation. It is about knowing what is going on within and outside of others, whether they tell us or not. Emotional intelligence is so much less about the mechanics and rationality of issues but to a large extent about the positive use of situations, feelings and yeah even sentiments to get the same mechanical and rational results!. Mallam Nasiru El Rufai’s handling of the rightsizing of Kaduna State civil service will fit very well as a textbook case of an intellectually brilliant person falling short of being emotionally alert to the situation and circumstances of a people he is responsible for.”

El-Yakub adduced thus, “Every rational Nigerian would support the rightsizing of our state and federal civil services. But in the wake of COVID-19,  with Western governments that are the champions of capitalism still subsidising their people, including the private sector, there is need for tact through timing, sincere but empathetic engagement.”

Gbam! And that is precisely where El-Rufai erred in the understanding of El-Yakub. His failure to use tact through timing, sincere but empathetic engagement with the workers and the public, I think.

El-Yakub is okay with El-Rufai using his courage to make omelette, but not happy with him discarding his emotions to break the eggs. It’s a conflict between being a good man and a great man.

The question now is, Has El-Rufai really done the needful before disengaging the staff? As a brilliant person as adduced by El-Yakub, and attested by many, I think he had. What he hasn’t done, I think, is giving the efforts enough publicity and sensitization, which is an unforgivable sin committed against us, we the members of the pen profession. El-Rufai has disengaged our due and direct services deliberately. And may be that’s why some of us are going for his jugular.

But in trying to explain the efforts of El-Rufai to El-Yakub, I played the journalist to a friend that is serving in the government of the governor, by seeking explanation to the highlighted concerns of Musbahu, and he responded thus:

  1. Government does not offer such attractive packages when it is disengaging. Certainly not main stream service, may be in agencies.
  2. The fact is, Kaduna State has reworked its scheme of service inherited from colonial regime to be in tune with contemporary exigencies of modern public service. Which means, several positions that are archaic will have to give way.
  3. By the way, the process is on going and the situation in which civil service works as a social service scheme is unhelpful and largely responsible for the decay and inability of civil service to deliver.

Truly El- Yakub may be right when he said, “Those supporting his very “unleadership” ways in handling this matter, good-intentioned no doubt, are people either yet to wean themselves of years of military ‘gra-gra’ in our lives or are not aware that there are better options of dealing with the same situation to get the desired results.”

At the beginning of his response, he admitted the man is both brilliant and courageous. Brilliant people always engage options, some of which they keep close to their chests, to be released only after watching the reactions of the public.

In the game of chess, the King can move exactly one square horizontally, vertically, or diagonally. The object of the game is to checkmate the opponent; which occurs when the opponent’s king is in check, and there is no legal way to get it out of check, either by moving the king away or getting protection from other chess pieces.

Methinks, as a courageous and admittedly audacious person, distinguished by unusual mental keenness, El-Rufai is using the tact of chess, to test the public pulse, including that of those of us that are product of the military era, as well as that of the state’s politics.

He had successfully done similar experiments politically, that were unimaginable by his predecessors, who were later compelled to admit that indeed as A GOVERNOR, THE MAN IS A LEADER.

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