Agenda for the incoming administration
The sixth circle of elections was held in Nigeria on the 25th February and 18th March, 2023 indicating about 24 years of unbroken civil rule since return to civil rule in 1999. This is significant because since independence in 1960, the only other times of civil rule was six years (1960-1966) and four years (1979-1983).
Agenda for the Incoming Administration
The agenda of an administration is normally encapsulated in its manifesto. During the 2023 elections, most of the political parties rolled out their agenda. Our analysis indicated that most of the political parties focused on eight issues:
National Security promising to deal with crime and criminality, terrorism, kidnapping and banditry.
Economy promising to improve budget, infrastructure, industrial policy to promote production and encourage private sector participation.
Agriculture promising to increase the percentage of cultivated arable land, rural infrastructure and commercial agriculture.
Power to increase generation and transmission.
Oil and Gas to boost production, increase transparency and accountability in the use of oil resources.
Transportation including road, air and water.
Education to reform and improve quality, access, funding, management and competitiveness.
Health to improve infrastructure, personnel and services.
There is no doubt that these are the challenges facing Nigeria over the years. These are also the same issues that previous administrations have tried to address. These are the issues that all the political parties have promised to address. So, the challenge has never been identification of these problems. The challenge has been that there are other issues which must be addressed before the eight issues above can be addressed. These are the issues which prevented successive administrations from addressing eight issues effectively. The problems of insecurity, mismanagement of the economy, decline in agriculture, inadequate power in spite of humongous resources pumped into the sector over the years, corruption in the oil and gas sector, poor transport system, falling standards of education and poor health care are symptoms caused by the underlying issues that have led to progressive degeneration of governance and public services. Therefore, the real issues that should be the priority agenda of the incoming administration are what should be focused upon to reverse the trend and tackle the symptoms. The incoming administration must address the issues if it wants to change the narrative. In our view, there are eight issues that the incoming administration must prioritise. The issues are:
Ethical re-orientation: The problems facing Nigeria are known.i What needs to be done to address these challenges including free, fair and credible elections, strategic leadership and accountable and responsive governance are known.ii But lack of ethics and corruption prevents the right action to be taken. The incoming administration must set the tone at the top that the administration will implement an anti-corruption agenda and create environment of justice, fairness and equity. Setting the tone at the top must go beyond declarations and speeches that the administration will have zero tolerance for corruption. The behaviour and actions of the President and Senior government officials must indicate that the administration will not tolerate corruption. Setting the tone at the top should include redressing some perceived injustice by sections of the country such as those from the eastern region and Christians who felt excluded by the Muslim-Muslim ticket of the incoming administration. In addition, the incoming administration should launch a new anti-corruption agenda taking into cognisance lessons from the past and addressing the issues of sanctions, systems and society. From the beginning of the administration, the President must set the tone of zero tolerance for corruption at the top.
This must be followed with political will to implement the agenda. As the South African National Anti-Corruption Strategy clearly stated, the realisation of anti-corruption strategy depends on the resolute political will of those who serve in public office and ethical leadership in all sectors of society.iii In addition, the agenda must be a whole-of-society approach. Corruption in Nigeria can only be dealt with if the whole of society is involved in the fight against it. The agenda must be comprehensive and integrated and combine elements of sanctions, systems and society.
Leadership: Leadership has been recognised as one of the most important variables that affect the performance of any organisation, institution or nation. Study after study, superior financial and organisational performance, as well as other forms of success, have been linked to leadership.iv Scholars have opined that the success or failure of organisations and nations depends on leadership excellence and not managerial acumen.v The importance of leadership for the success of organizations and nations cannot be overemphasized. Some scholars have pointed out that everything rises and falls on leadership.vi
Meanwhile, it has been documented that all great nations were blessed with leaders who harnessed the potentialities of their people and moulded them into the envy of others because as Maxwell argued, the leader knows the way, goes the way and shows the way.vii There are many ways that the incoming leadership can bring about national rebirth. The first thing is to develop a strong vision, mission and values for the country specifying strategic imperatives and critical success factors.viii The second is to set a long-term direction for the country. Rebirth requires long term perspectives which must be managed with short term political demands. Nigeria is suffering from short-termism and at the moment, there is no long-term strategic development plan for the country. The only national development plan that we have today will end in 2025. The third is to create democratically transparent, open and fair processes and systems in all sectors in government, private sector and civil society.
The fourth is to initiate a comprehensive change agenda affecting all facets of life: security, economy, politics, social and technology and manage the change effectively through education and communication, participation and involvement, facilitation and support, negotiation and rewards and recruiting strategic change champions.ix Finally, leadership can bring about rebirth by promoting performance. Leadership can play a big role in engendering a high-performance organizational culture.
Leaders can do three things to create a high-performance organisation.x The first is to lead from the centre of the group, team, unit or organisation to engage team members to unleash their desire and abilities and achieve extra ordinary results. The leader must clarify values of the nation and share a common vision and enable others to act to unleash their desires and abilities. Second, the leader must create effective systems and processes by developing a performance enhancing organizational culture through challenging the processes and ensuring continuous improvement. Third, the leader must establish a direction for the nation that is clear, concise and compelling.
To be continued tomorrow
Igbuzor, PhD, is Founding Executive Director, African Centre for Leadership, Strategy & Development (Centre LSD) E-mail: Otive.Igbuzor@centrelsd.org
i Igbuzor, O (2009), Challenges of Development in Nigeria. Lagos, Robitos Alliance Publishers Limited.
ii Igbuzor, O (2012), Overcoming the Challenges of Development in Nigeria. Lagos, Joe-Tolalu & Associates.
iii Republic of South Africa, National Anti-Corruption Strategy 2020-2023
iv Fulmer, R. M and Bleak, J. L (2008), The Leadership Advantage: How the Best Companies are Developing their Talent to Pave the Way for Future Success. New York, Amacom.
v Sinek, Simon (2017), Leaders Eat Last. UK, Penguin Ramdom House.
vi Maxwell, J. C. (1999), The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader. Nashville, Tennessee, Thomas Nelson Inc.
vii Gimba Hassan (2022), An Agenda for National Rebirth in Blueprint, 28th August, 2022.
viii ISMN Study Pack 2012-2015
ix Igbuzor, Otive (2017), Leadership, Development and Change. Ibadan, Kraft Books Limited.
x Truskie, S (2010), Leadership in high Performance Organisational Cultures