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Buhari, governors and cabinets of significance – Part 2


President Buhari presiding over Federal Executive Council (FEC) Meeting… October 18, 2018

As I was saying, in the main, we need our leaders to know that this time does not require for instance, an 84-year old Nigeria’s Ambassador to the United States, among other public officers who cannot be productive at this time. This is not to say that an 84-year old person cannot be productive, after all. This is a desperate time that requires desperate thinking and desperate planning to lift this country that the almighty God has raised to shape the destiny of the black race.

I had noted that, “It is a time for dynamic capabilities in public service for the most populous black nation on earth to be a country of significance too”. I mean dynamic capabilities, in this context, is not an ordinary term for just motivational speaking. The concept is a creation of critical thinkers in organizational theory.
Dynamic capability (in management and business education) is “the firm’s ability to integrate, build, and reconfigure internal and external competences to address rapidly changing environments” (David J. Teece, Gary Pisano, and Amy Shuen).

Dynamic capabilities can be distinguished from operational capabilities, which pertain to the current operations of an organization. Dynamic capabilities, by contrast, refer to “the capacity of an organization to purposefully create, extend, or modify its resource base” (Helfat et al., 2007). The basic assumption of the dynamic capabilities framework is that core competencies should be used to modify short-term competitive positions that can be used to build longer-term competitive advantage.


Three dynamic capabilities are necessary to meet new challenges. Organizations and their employees need the capability to learn quickly and to build strategic assets. New strategic assets such as capability, technology, and customer feedback have to be integrated within the company. Existing strategic assets have to be transformed or reconfigured.

Teece’s concept of dynamic capabilities essentially says that what matters for business is corporate agility: the capacity to (1) sense and shape opportunities and threats, (2) seize opportunities, and (3) maintain competitiveness through enhancing, combining, protecting, and, when necessary, reconfiguring the business enterprise’s intangible and tangible assets.

This is also why organisational development experts such as David Osborne and Ted Gaebler have been advocating that today’s governments should be reinvented to reflect governance system in the organised private sector. These experts are teaching the nations how entrepreneurial spirit can transform the public sector. There is no doubt that despite the political problems that the U.S mainstream media have been reporting in characterising the current President

Donald Trump, the U.S economy under him has been ding well. Most analysts are attributing that capability to the way the maverick, Trump, has been reinventing government, transforming the public sector through entrepreneurial spirit.

Specifically, you don’t have to like Trump and Trumpism before admitting that the restless Trump is reinforcing his already powerful country as an ‘entrepreneurial nation’. He has been fighting to reemphasise the inescapable fact that manufacturing is still the key to America’s future as RO Khanna, former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State of Commerce, continues to reiterate. Trumpism is fighting emerging superpowers through his America First slogan to restate that his country remains the greatest superpower of innovation. He has been sleepless in using his entrepreneurial skills to make the U.S manufacturing more competitive when it comes to making high-technology planes, cars, steel bars, fire suits, or even blenders, etc. In his time, a United States technology firm, Apple is now worth one trillion dollars, for the first time in their history. Don’t just tell us that it didn’t begin with him. But Trump, the disrupter has consolidated and improved on the economic policies his predecessors had begun.

This is the road our leaders should be taking too in this 21st century when leaders, citizens, managers, workers and even teachers are being told daily to learn, unlearn and relearn, lest they become what a futurist, Alvin Toffler calls, “the illiterate of the 21st century”.

Specifically, president Buhari should not think of re-imposing his mediocre cabinet and heads of MDAs on the people again. As I was saying, what did the president expect from the two old Ambassadors he sent to the United States and the United Kingdom respectively? The 84-year old Nigeria’s Ambassador to the U.S, H.E Sylvanus Adiewere Nsofor lately became an object of social media joke when he was spotted with the CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele during the last month’s World Bank and IMF Spring Meeting in the United States. Even the walking stick he relied upon couldn’t assist him to walk straight. It was an eyesore too embarrassing to behold. No one has read any statements from him and his counterpart in London, H.E George Adesola Oguntade. Both are retired justices of Court of Appeal and Supreme Court respectively. The point is that we couldn’t have found any ‘dynamic capabilities’ or even dynamism in the two envoys in Washington and London since they were posted there in 2016.

There are so many members of the cabinet too who have no business being there. For instance, the one representing Ondo State in the federal cabinet, Professor Claudius Daramola current Minister of State, Niger Delta Ministry. From the point of Senate screening, it was clear the professor from my own part of the state could no longer profess anything. He fumbled and fumbled in his embarrassing suit. It was later understood that the University of Ilorin don was actually nominated for Ondo State APC by an APC chieftain from Osun state.

In the same vein, Mrs Abike Dabiri, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Foreign and Diaspora Affairs has been speaking on Nigeria’s Foreign Affairs Ministry. Even recent diplomatic feat – saving two Nigerians on death row in Saudi Arabia – was attributed to the President Buhari who is on a private visit in London and Mrs Dabiri. The implication of this is that the Foreign Affairs Minister at this time has been sleeping on duty. Who can easily recall his name really? Look at the conduct and even carriage of the Sports Minister at this time in our world when sport is being used as weapon of diplomacy. Even Sage Journals have been publishing copiously on ‘sports diplomacy’. The attraction of sports diplomacy at the momentis that it is relatively low-cost, low risk but high profile tool of foreign policy, by which states and non-state actors are able to publicise their views on the actions and policies of others (Houlihan, (1994). That is a sector (Youth and Sports) President Buhari posted theatrical Solomon Dalung to four years ago. No one can remember anything newsworthy about the Ministry of Youth and Sports beyond winning some inconsequential tournaments here and there. How do we rate Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola, former Governor of Lagos Governor as Super Minister of Works, Power and Housing? Can we claim today there was wisdom in giving three critical ministries to one man without proper roadmap beyond the fantasy of a New Sheriff in Town whose body language was to aid in getting more megawatts of electricity, more kilometres of constructed roads and more developed houses? Where is the imprimatur of the dynamic Fashola on our road networks and the power sector?

From the federal ministries of education and health, what can we remember as significant feats in the context of change in the last four years? What can we remember the ministers pursued remarkably for the most populous black nation on earth? What of finance, budget and planning ministries? There have not been some remarkable decisions worth remembering. And here is the thing, the president’s cabinet and most presidential appointments since 2015 could not have helped his change movement.

More important, at this moment, the president should accept responsibility for that and so should be ready to do two things: reduce the number of ministries and agencies of government. The Steve Oronsaye Presidential Committee Report is a sure guide.

Besides, Dr. Goke Adegoroye’s book, Restoring Good Governance in Nigeria: Leadership and Political Will Vol.2, 2015 has good chapters that can be useful too in establishing a lean and effective government.

The book, which yours sincerely wrote an Afterword for, contains these useful recommendations:

‘Cabinet Size And Factors Determining Number Of Ministries’.
What should be the ideal cabinet size and what are the factors that determine this number; is it a function of a country’s population size, land area or economic strength? In terms of efficiency and effectiveness, how does our structure compare with what exists in other countries? Are there lessons we can draw from what exists in a few key countries?

Ministries constitute the main arteries or principal branches of government in a presidential system. In comparison to Nigeria which, has 28 ministries, the United States of America, even with the Department of Homeland Security which was created following the September 11 (aka 9/11) incident of 2001, is governed on the basis of only 15 departments-the equivalent of ministries in Nigeria. India has 24 ministries, and the UK has 17 core departments/ministries plus 7 offices. Indonesia has a 34 member cabinet, inclusive of the state secretary (secretary to the government), but there are 4 coordinating ministers among whom 29 ministries are shared.

The US is the oldest presidential democracy in the world. With a population of 316 million, it is almost twice the population of Nigeria; in terms of land area, with 9,826,675 sq km, it is more than ten times the size of Nigeria. It is the world’s largest economy, with a GDP of USD$17,328 trillion, which is nearly thirty times the rebased GDP of Nigeria.

The UK, the country from which Nigeria gained its independence in 1960, has a land area of 243,610 sq km which is barely one-quarter of Nigeria; its population of 64.1 million is less than 40% of Nigeria’s.
It however has a GDP of USD$2.521trillion which is more than four times higher than the recently rebased GDP of Nigeria.

India by population is eight times more than Nigeria. It is the largest democracy in the world. By land mass, it is three and a half times the size of Nigeria. India’s economy is the 10th largest in the world with a GDP of USD$1,843 trillion, which in terms of purchasing power parity (PPP) is put at USD$4,469 trillion.
Indonesia is an archipelago of 17,508 islands of which about 6,000 are inhabited by its 237.6 million people. The land area is 1,919,440 square kilometers (741,050 sq mi), 237.6 million. Its GDP is USD $878 billion with a GDP per capital of $3,468….

To be continued…


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