A Short Address by Professor Nimi Briggs on the Occasion of the Commissioning of the NIM Office and Project. On Wednesday, 17 December, 2014.
“One who manages” was the answer I gave to my self-imposed question, “Who is a Manager?” But I quickly realised that the answer was of poor quality; it was begging the question. So, a second attempt: “one who makes things work.” Better, but still not good enough and calls for yet another attempt: “one who makes things work efficiently”. This answer commanded my acceptance as I was sure that under “efficiently”, I could employ other words like economically, timeously, diligently and many more that connote proficiency and competence – probably the most outstanding hallmarks of every good manager.
At this point, I decided to consult the web to enlighten myself on who a manager really is. I stumbled on the name of one Peter Ferdinand Drucker (1909 – 2005), an Austrian-born American, who was so famed that he is described as the “father of modern management”. An economist, turned Journalists, he repudiated the passion of economists to monitor the movement of commodities – marketable items such as oil, silver, gold, copper, and others. Rather he developed a craving for human capital as the centre piece for societal development, and in the process, initiated the discipline of Management Sciences, as is currently known.
A prolific writer, he has several books to his credit and in one of them, he was said to have articulated five tasks for a good manager; I added a sixth. A manager, said he, should set objectives, organise, motivate, measure, develop people and live by example – mine addition.
The manager sets goals for the organisation or group and decides which work needs to be done to meet those goals. He organises the work by dividing it into manageable activities, and selects people to accomplish the tasks that need to be done. The manager creates a team out of his people, communicates with them regularly and motives them through decisions on pay, placement, promotion and other perquisites. Furthermore, he establishes appropriate targets and yardsticks by which performance is to be assessed and develops people by scaling up they knowledge and skills. But in the midst of this, he must be able to practise what he preaches by the example of his personal life.
To be able to achieve these targets satisfactorily, the manager must live by certain core values which are clearly enunciated in Institute’s handbook on Outline of Strategic Vision. They are those of personal integrity, honesty and transparency in all one does, and a discernible sense of responsibility which enables one to take actions commensurate with one’s level of functionality. Above all, one must exhibit a sense of equity and be fair to all.
As I was coming to the venue for today’s programme, I had planned to weave all this round our Vice-Chancellor or Registrar – two officers of the university that have served the institution meritoriously and show how they have utilized these management tools to great effect. But I changed my mind as I would rather do so with Professor Oleka Udeala, the Pioneer Dean of the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences of this university. A former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Nigeria, one of the nation’s foremost tertiary education institution, Professor Udeala took responsibility for the establishment of a new Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences in 2004. Resources were very scarce but he was not daunted and with profound diligence, great personal sacrifice and unparalled humility, he achieved the task in a record time and today, that faculty has become one of the strongest in the university. We recognise and congratulate him as being the management hero of this university and take this opportunity to extend sincere gratitude from members of the university community to him.
I thank the NIM Uniport Branch for the invitation to participate in today’s event and I thank the Pro-chancellor and Chairman of Council, Chief Engr. Gesi Asamaowei, who is also the chairman of this occasion for associating with the university in the various positive manners that he has done since he took up this important office.
NIGERIAN INSTITUTE OF MANAGEMENT, UNIVERSITY OF PORT HARCOURT CHAPTER