Aisha Dahir-Umar: A woman with a distinctive impact

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By Favour Nnabugwu

Every organization needs a leader irrespective of the gender or age. In working towards growth and development for a better Nigeria, women are though, not sufficiently involved in leadership roles but the few that are there are making impact.

It is pertinent to note that leadership is not gender-specific, it is a set of qualities inherent or cultivated in people who develop themselves into great leaders and the ability to influence and persuade people to follow a particular course of action towards the realization of a goal.

Mrs Aisha Dahir-Umar, the substantive Director-General of the National Pension Commission, PenCom, came with the agenda to make PenCom  a regulator that supervises a transparent and accountable pension industry where employees are required to maintain the highest ethical standards and attain the highest level of integrity in personal and official engagements.

She came into limelight following the removal of the former Director General (DG) of National Pension Commission (PenCom), Mrs. Chinelo Anohu-Amazu, the agency appointed Mrs. Aisha Dahir-Umar as replacement.

She acted in that capacity from 2017 until few weeks back when her appointment was made substantive by the Senate.

It is no news that all qualities required for leadership in building a more sustainable future are feminine in nature. Dahir-Umar is also good builders, good listeners, good communicators and emotionally intelligent. She encourages teamwork, lead by example and produce to reproduce the qualities for growth and development in PenCom.

The reforms she initiated would no doubt have infuriated some entrenched interests who believed they owned the agency. They have been fighting the DG since she came into office and had done everything to undermine her and her agenda for reform.

Part of her achievements

Yet, there is no denying the achievement of a woman who shies from the limelight and would rather her performance speaks for her. In less than three years, she has grown total assets under the Contributory Pension Scheme from  N6.4 trillion  by march 2017 to N11.35 trillion as at August 31, 2020.
The regulatory agency had equally ensured that pension funds are secured and only invested in viable and secure instruments that assure the owners of the funds that they can access their monies as and when due.

Returns on investments must also be competitive as this is part of the funds used at retirement. Reports show that  a total of N7.52 trillion (66.27 per cent) of the funds has been invested by the Pension Fund Administrators in the Federal Government of Nigeria’s securities, including FGN bonds, treasury bills, agency bonds, Sukuk bonds and green bonds.

This is one of the many characteristics of Mrs. Aishat Dahir-Umar When she brings this attitude into managerial roles, Dahir-Umar may not often realize how poised she is for success but her potential and abilities are undeniable.

Dahir-Umar said that the commission’s mission is to have 20 million contributors by 2020 while she added that the vision is to be an industry that makes significant impact on the nation’s economy.

In one of the many achievement of PenCom under her leadership, she believed that the Micro Pension can be accessed in the event of emergencies to help cushion the effects of business hardship, thereby promoting the sustainability of the business of the contributor.

“With a sustainable source of income, the contributor would be able to make consistent and continuous contributions towards retirement, making it a symbiotic relationship. This in turn builds the economy and the pension industry in the long run”.

“The commission has been able to put in place a robust information and communication technology infrastructure for registration, contribution and benefit administration under the Contributory Pension Scheme.”

She is a woman who naturally empathetic and does value relationships. This distinctive feature enables her to have a strong understanding of what drives and motivates people, and how to acknowledge different people for their performance.

A multitasking personality

One of the key aspects of leadership is the ability to help her team members develop their own skills and strengths only when a leader has a distinctive and natural way of nurturing

The woman during an interview with this writer observed her consistency, demonstration of passion, enthusiasm and an immense capacity to serve and be served by others.

The writer also observed that Dahir-Umar makes bold and wise decisions as a leader while relying on others to be part of her team with an environment that is less authoritarian and more cooperative and family-like, but with solid leadership.

A woman, like Dahir-Umar with a godly compassion will make a difference in her own life, and in the lives of others. She will make a difference in her marriage, in her children, in her place of worship, at the workplace, and everywhere she goes.

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