You want to get engage in Politics? Learn from Sajid Javid, newly appointed Chancellor in the United KingdomIdes Ofune 26th July 2019 0 COMMENTS
By now, I am sure you must have heard that Sajid Javid was appointed by Boris Johnson as the Chancellor of the Exchequer, United Kingdom. Being Chancellor is one of the most important positions in the UK government cabinet because he has overall responsibility for the work of the Treasury. He will also be moving into No 10. Downing Street, the official residence and the office of the British Prime Minister.
Now let’s talk about Sajid Javid. Who is he and why am I writing about him? Sajid is the son of Pakistani Muslim Immigrants to the UK. His father was a bus driver. Sajid worked as a Banker in Deutsche Bank rising to the top to become the Managing Director. Then, he quit and joined politics starting from being a Member of Parliament. According to the UK Government, he left Deutsche Bank as a senior Managing Director to give something back through politics.
This is what I learned:
He joined politics after accomplishing so much in the private sector. In my opinion, this is how to engage in politics especially in Nigeria/Africa where we are in dire need of basic development. Sajid already had power and wealth estimating to be earning about 3,000,000 pounds per year before quitting. When he became a Member of Parliament, he rose through the ranks starting out as Economic Secretary to the Treasury and subsequently holding various positions before contesting for the Position of Prime Minister which superbly raised his profile. He lost to Boris Johnson and was then appointed as Chancellor by the same Boris. You can glean that by rising through the ranks, he developed tangible political skills and became visible in the British politics.
This is someone that Nigerians wanting to get into politics can indeed learn from. Nigeria is in dire need of technocrats in politics. Due to the dearth of this, Nigerian Presidents are left with no choice than to nominate party faithful members who are incompetent, to be in charge of key positions. Unfortunately, if highly skilled people do not get into politics, we will continue to be governed by the low skilled. However, when competent people engage in Politics, political parties will be filled with technocrats who are going to be appointed and elected to crucial positions.
Furthermore, Nigerian technocrats should learn to rise through the ranks not necessarily starting from the position of President. I was particularly underwhelmed when Presidential candidates, Kingsley Moghalu and Fela Durotoye decided to run for the office of the president in 2019. Yes, in the private sector they held important positions but politics is not the same as the private sector. A politician who understands this perfectly is Dr Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti state. He is highly educated but has learned to follow local politics. He had his doctorate degree from Kings College United Kingdom, held several key positions in the private sector before joining politics. When he did, he didn’t aspire for the Presidency but held other positions including being the Governor of Ekiti state, his home state.
In politics, you need clout, charisma, follower base and not just competence to get elected. All politics is local and for you to be elected into public office, you must be willing to learn the rudiments of Nigerian politics. I do not subscribe to starting from the very top just because you think you are qualified. Unfortunately, in politics, the most qualified do not always win. There are other positions apart from the presidency where you can make an impact, raise your profile and gather faithful followers who are ready to go all out for you during campaigns. Just because you think you are elite and highly educated does not mean you must be elected. Get into politics, understand the rudiments and how it is run in Nigeria and then strategize your way to the top.
Ides Ofune is currently a PhD Student at the University of Leeds. Her research focuses on civil society and accountability in improving the quality of education. She is the founder of Desert Bloom Initiative and editor of Desert Bloom Advisory. Ides is very passionate about education and creating an inclusive society. She speaks French and English fluently. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org