9th December, 2010
At the end of every fiscal or financial year, businesses , organizations includingÂ complex organizations take stock of their performance and review the extent to whichÂ they achieve organization goals during the fiscal year. This become necessaryÂ because it affords the organization the opportunity to see its true picture in termsÂ of viability, relevance to the public and potentials for growth.
This appraisal is usually performed by expertsÂ in the areas of the business orÂ organization’s interest. Such expert must be blunt, resourceful and analytic. TheÂ outcome of the review mustÂ be independent of the influence of the contractingÂ organization/ businessÂ or the evaluator’s bias.Â It must address the patterns ofÂ current operationÂ and offer suggestions and logistics for future growth.
The Management or the leadership of the business/organization, if genuinelyÂ interested in its future success, will take the suggestions of the reviewer (Expert)Â and apply the recommendations to the operation of the organization in the yearÂ after.
Nations areÂ not exactly run like business enterprise or interest specificÂ organizations. Yet, strategy that are employ by business/organization to ensureÂ success and growth could be applied toÂ government at all level to ensure overallÂ improvement andÂ efficiency.Â Â Nigeria is blessed with qualified human resourcesÂ that is capable of running good government. TechnocratsÂ and Bureaucrats alike. ThisÂ caliber of distinguished professionals and experts existsÂ in every area of humanÂ endeavorÂ and are able to stand shoulder to shoulder with their counterparts in anyÂ part of the world.
Regrettably, the leadership of Nigerian government has been consistentlyÂ misappropriating this available human resources to the detriment of the nation’sÂ development. This carelessness can at least be described as putting a square peg inÂ a round hole. Government record of various office holders, past and present justifyÂ this conclusion. For example, a semi-illiterate business man and a politicalÂ profiteer wasÂ appointed as a commissioner for health in one of the south-westernÂ states in the Second Republic, A “goro- merchant malam” wasÂ once appointed to headÂ the Ministry ofÂ Establishment , A Professor of SociologyÂ once headed the MinistryÂ of Finance, Professor of Virology once headed the Ministry of Petroleum, A ProfessorÂ of Pharmacology is the present head of the Ministry of Information and CommunicationÂ etc.
Some of the appointed commissioners and ministersÂ struggled to make impact, inÂ spite of the misplaced priority and the political pressuresÂ fromÂ party affiliationÂ and god-father’s expectations. Arguably, if the right caliber of professionals andÂ experts are appointed on merits and positioned in appropriate/relevant ministries,Â definitely their input would be better compared to what the wrongly placedÂ appointees delivered. It is in the interest of the nation therefore that individualÂ political appointees should be placed in a position that is relevant to their areasÂ of expertise.
Nigerian political leaders, especially the leaders of government business shouldÂ henceforth consider and prioritize national patriotism when appointing public officeÂ holders. It is evident that most political office seekers are not seeking politicalÂ office to serve, rather they are looking for opportunity to access and steal fromÂ the treasury. They do not have concern for the masses which they represent.Â TheirÂ selfishness often go unchecked because of the high level of illiteracy, poverty,Â fear of repression and political apathy. But Nigerians can not continue to live inÂ fear. The citizens must not compromise their liberty for safety. It is the duty ofÂ the government to protect his citizens without taking away their freedom. If anyÂ government think or act in the contrary, such regime must be voted out and replacedÂ with a more human and responsive government. In so doing, the masses would send aÂ message to the elected public office holders that electoral power belong to theÂ people.
Nigeria’s continuous existence asÂ as a successful nation state is contingent uponÂ the resolute commitment of all Nigerians to live up to their civic responsibilities.Â Â The furore and funfair surrounding the 50 years of political independence isÂ enough. There is need for a concerted effort to review our success and failure as aÂ nation state.Â The past is a story told. Nigerian governmentÂ need to review andÂ reflect on its past achievements and failures. Lessons therefrom should be appliedÂ to future planning if the mistakes of the past are to be avoided. There is little orÂ nothing to write home about the last 50 years of political independence. However, asÂ an optimist nation, the journey of the next 50 years needed to be well plannedÂ beginning immediately. There must be an overhaul of the existing democraticÂ structures. Necessary corrections must be put in place. The nation must invest inÂ institutions and not individual as we experienced in the lastÂ half a century. AÂ vigorous and drastic reorientation of theÂ political and government office holdersÂ must be made. The mentality of “national cake” and perception ofÂ political officeÂ as an avenue of wealth acquisition must be challenged. Equity andÂ fairness must beÂ the standard of compensation and renumeration of elected/appointed officials and theÂ career civil servants. Party affiliationÂ andÂ politickingÂ should not createÂ economic disparity between two people with identical qualifications that performsÂ the same job. The situation whereby the members of the National Assembly gulp aboutÂ 25 percent of the Nation’s recurrent budget is unreasonable and should beÂ repudiated..
Election is a powerful tool of the electorate to express their mind in a politicalÂ process. Therefore, all hands must be on deck to ensure that the 2011 election isÂ successfully organized and conducted. Every vote must count and be counted.Â TheÂ fraudulent history of Nigeria elections from Chief Michael Ani in 1979 to ProfessorÂ Maurice Iwu in 2010 could no longer be tolerated.Â Nigerians will no longer permitÂ cancellation of any free and fairÂ election. No single individual should have theÂ absolute power to nullify election in the country. Electoral OfficersÂ hence forthÂ should be put on oath of office. The oath to organize, supervise and declare aÂ fraud-free election result. If any electoral officer violate this term, such officerÂ should be prosecuted in the court of law. Maximum sentence is recommended notÂ excluding death penalty. This would serve as a check and warning to ElectoralÂ officers who falsify electoral results and make fool of the masses decision.
The Nigeria Labour Congress,Â Nigerian Professional Organizations, NANS and otherÂ Trade Unions should be alert and constitute a watch-dog to monitor all electionÂ Â process and procedures. The Press and the Judiciary are especially encouraged toÂ stand to their constitutional and ethical duties. While the former is advised toÂ report honest and unbiased information, the later is advised to dispense justiceÂ without fear or favor. The era of “brown envelope ” thatÂ corrupt accurate andÂ honest report should be discarded and the age of selling justice to the highestÂ bidder should be abolished. The success of Nigerian nation is a collectiveÂ responsibility of all Nigerians; and we should not fold our hands and watch ourÂ destiny crushed by greedy politicians and their unpatriotic allied.
Alhaji Abubakir Atiku’s emergenceÂ as the Northern Consensus candidate throughÂ Ciroma led committee of Northern Elders has once again polarize the PDP; and exposedÂ the indifference of the major players. Neither Atiku nor Jonathan canÂ win theÂ presidency the way thing appears. Rather than building party coercion, both areÂ tearing the existing fragile party structures. Faction and counter factionsÂ continues to spring up, each projecting the agenda of its primary financier.Â TheÂ two candidates have forgotten that a house that is divided against itself can neverÂ hold. If the issue of power of incumbency is put aside, and NEC stand out as aÂ neutral umpire, if every fraudulent attempt to rig the election is curtailed;Â neither Jonathan nor Atiku would win the presidency.
Since the self acclaimed evil genius has been rejected and forced to stepped asideÂ for the second time by his own people; there is no evidence that he could musterÂ enough political strength to compel the remnants of his disintegrating campaignÂ organization to support Atiku.Â By virtue ofÂ Ciroma committee’s decision, IBB isÂ second to Atiku in Northern Nigeria political order of relevance. A reality that theÂ tooth gapped general will find difficult to accept. Governor Sola Saraki’s politicalÂ clout has never moved beyond Ilorin or may be Kwara State, therefore if he has anyÂ muscle to flex, it is limited to that small region. He is considered as a flexibleÂ player. He would definitely trade his support for Jonathan’s candidacy for a FederalÂ appointment.Â Gussau is never a political heavy weight. He is a new comer;Â hisÂ romance with power over a period of time coupled with the PDP zoning agreement andÂ his realization ofÂ IBB’sÂ loss of political influence informed his candidacy. HeÂ does not constitute any challenge for Jonathan.
Be as it may, whichever candidate that the PDP present as the party flag bearer mustÂ be watched closely. Record indicates that non of the two candidates could beÂ trusted. If Jonathan can not be trusted by allÂ members of his party for floutingÂ the PDP zoning agreement of which he was a party, and Atiku could not be trusted byÂ his former boss OBJ ditto PDP,Â yet both people with the record of untrustworthinessÂ are being paraded by PDP as their best.Â The party need to be informed thatÂ Nigerians desires a president that is not deficient in honesty and would not settleÂ forÂ leader ship withÂ despicable integrity.
The existing situation in Nigeria political center makes the presidency free forÂ grab. (all things been equal). If any political party is able to provide a testedÂ and popular candidate with record of proven integrity; if such candidate articulateÂ Â programs that really addresses the needs and concerns of the masses; history willÂ then be made, because the people would speak through their votes and aÂ fresh princeÂ will be enthrone. This action will put to finality the culture ofÂ crowning peopleÂ from the same circle with barren ideas andÂ frozen ideology.
The journey to the next 50 years of Nigeria political relevance has just began; andÂ the starting point is anchored on the organization ofÂ a fraud free and fairÂ election where credible candidates with proven integrity are theÂ paraded for peopleÂ to make their choice. The independent judiciary and an uncompromising fourth estateÂ are of necessity.
â€¢Tunde Ali, a Social Worker, writes from Chicago.