In his weekly column in The Nation newspaper on Monday, May 24, 2010, the award-winning columnist, Sam Omatseye, advocated and recommended “a Mourinho in
governance” at the federal level in Nigeria. To Sam, “he is the sort of
leader we need in Nigeria.
A leader in a hurry.”


 


I readily agree with Sam’s appreciation of Mourinho’s achievements as a football manager. Without doubt, Jose Mourinho is a phenomenon in modern sports. He has remained the dominant name in football
management in the last six years. And as a relatively young man, he may remain
so for a long time to come. Yet, I have my fears with Sam’s recommendation. I
think Sam adopted Mourinho’s model “in a hurry”. Uncle Sam II is never known to
be “a writer in a hurry”


 


Jose Mourinho, a talented manager by any standard, is a man long on strategy but short on character. The words that readily come to mind when the man is mentioned aren’t what we need in Nigeria
today. A sample: ego, temperament, controversy, arrogance. Running a nation
demands a high dose of character. After all, nothing binds a nation together
than positive values. A man who sees himself as the centre of the world, the
lone star in the firmament or in his own words ‘the Special One’, should not be
recommended for a nation in search of values. Nigeria must win with, not in spite
of, values.


 


That Mourinho is a winner any day is not in doubt. In fact, I believe Mourinho belongs to Vince Lombardi’s school of thought. It was Lombardi who once declared: “winning isn’t everything; it’s the
only thing”. To Mourinho and his ilk, winning is everything. However, a
reflective understanding of the physics, politics and psychology of human
struggles would reveal that winning is important but it’s not the only thing. Our
winning mentality must be anchored on respect for others and the rules. Nigeria
must win with grace.


 


Mourinho’s temperament does not conduce to the long-term demands of a nation. He would be best suited for an emergency manager: a quick winner. His managerial profile since 2000 when he took over as
the full manager of Benfica has been stormy and short-lived. In a spate of 10
years, he has coached five teams. He has just signed on for the sixth club. As
a result, he has earned the reputation as the man for the moment. He hasn’t committed himself to any long-term struggle.
His mind is always on the next championship. That may make good sense in
sports. But definitely not so for a nation that aspires to long-term glory.


 


On matter of strategy, I have a hunch that Mourinho’s weakness lies in his strength. As a much talked about person, as a man who enjoys the limelight, as a self-styled ‘Special One’, he makes himself more
vulnerable. His strategy and tactics would become highly documented and
reviewed. He would become the subject of case studies in leadership and
management classes. In the nearest future, we may witness the emergence of several
Mourinhos some of whom may outclass the master. It may not take long before the
king is dethroned.


 


While Nigeria needs a star performer to help steer the nation to her true destiny, we need to look for the right leadership model and the right candidate to lead the great struggle. Nigeria needs a
leader that can both deliver the quick wins and help build a strong and
prosperous nation in the long-run.


 


Tajudeen Alabede,


Lagos

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Tajudeen Alabede, thanks for your analysis on Jose Mourinho "the special one" in relation with Nigerian nation. Much as i would want to partly agree with your point on the "quick fix" nature of the special one rather than believing in a long term project, permit me to also partly disagree. Drastic problem is always said to require drastic solutions. In Nigeria, the problems are enormous and i think it will be better for us if the kind of leaders we have had in the past 10 years of our democracy are leaders like Jose Mourinho. By now, problem of electricity would have been a thing of the past,road would have been fixed and new ones constructed, health care across the states would have been one of the best we can get around the world etc. What is the point when we have a long term project with no capable project manager to manage such project? Wouldn't it be better to cut this long term projects to short ones and engage the likes of Jose Mourinho to handle them. A case in point is that of Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos state who has within just three years, turn Lagos around for good. He has opened our inner eyes and made us believe that problems of many years could be solved within a very short period of time. Tajudeen, i am convince beyond reasonable doubt that with the situation of things in Nigeria today, we would be better of with leaders like the "special one" Jose Mourinho.
Thank you.
Thanks, Mr Adeniji. It's true that a drastic problem requires a drastic solution. The challenge is the need for a change agent who respects the rules. No doubt, we need an enforcer, a tough guy. But beyond getting immediate results, a fragile nation like Nigeria needs a builder, a role model, a value agent.

I'm glad that you referred to "Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos state who has within just three years, turned Lagos around for good". But i don't think Fashola would qualify as a Mourinho.

ADENIJI ADEWALE said:
Tajudeen Alabede, thanks for your analysis on Jose Mourinho "the special one" in relation with Nigerian nation. Much as i would want to partly agree with your point on the "quick fix" nature of the special one rather than believing in a long term project, permit me to also partly disagree. Drastic problem is always said to require drastic solutions. In Nigeria, the problems are enormous and i think it will be better for us if the kind of leaders we have had in the past 10 years of our democracy are leaders like Jose Mourinho. By now, problem of electricity would have been a thing of the past,road would have been fixed and new ones constructed, health care across the states would have been one of the best we can get around the world etc. What is the point when we have a long term project with no capable project manager to manage such project? Wouldn't it be better to cut this long term projects to short ones and engage the likes of Jose Mourinho to handle them. A case in point is that of Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos state who has within just three years, turn Lagos around for good. He has opened our inner eyes and made us believe that problems of many years could be solved within a very short period of time. Tajudeen, i am convince beyond reasonable doubt that with the situation of things in Nigeria today, we would be better of with leaders like the "special one" Jose Mourinho.
Thank you.

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