Buhari, governors and cabinets of significance – Part 3
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.
The fact that these countries have, and operate on the basis of, a fewer number of ministries than Nigeria does not mean that they have overlooked certain governance issues.
Rather, those issues, and indeed many more that are yet to be identified for focused attention in the Nigerian set-up, are being covered and given prominent attention in their governance structure. It is their aggregation into compatible and mutually reinforcing governance focal centers that has made the difference.
For example, the US Department of Transportation is responsible for federal highway, air, railroad, maritime and other transportation administration functions; its key component agencies include the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Federal Highway Administration (FHA), Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Office of Inspector General (OIG) of the US Department of Transportation. It is responsible for planning and coordinating federal transportation projects and it also sets safety regulations for all major modes of transportation.
Similarly, UK Department of Transporthas the overall responsibility for Aviation, Railways including highspeedrail, national roads and highways, maritime, as well as transportsecurity, traffic and road safety, freight and logistics, and transportagencies.
In Nigeria, these functions are performed by 4 ministries.Accordingly in Nigeria, there is a Ministry of Works, a nomenclaturethat is an abnormality for a ministry whose only responsibility is the planning, design and supervision of highways construction.
The main mandate of our so-called Ministry of Transport is maritime transport; the mandate for the supervision of railways continues to be tossed between the office of the SGF and the Ministry of Transport.
Traffic issues are spread across several agencies, from the FRSC to the Police, the VIO etc, all of which are located in different ministries and offices; and there is a full ministry for aviation.
The UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) is the government ministry responsible for environmental protection, food production and standards, agriculture, water, fisheries, forestry, rural affairs and resource management.
In Nigeria, these issues are covered by three ministries, namely: Environment,Agriculture and Rural Development, and Water Resources.
The effectiveness of public transportation management, thenodal interconnectivity and the concomitant efficient delivery of air, road, rail and marine transportation services in both the US and the UK are products of this type of structure. By contrast, the inefficiency of our own system is certainly the product of the structure of our transportation management system. It is also obvious, from the results of the UK structure of DEFRA and considering the expected role of state governments in Nigeria, that greater synergy would be achieved if Nigeria were to adopt, at the federal level, a structure similar to that of the UK for the management of its environment, agriculture and rural development and water resources issues.
Rather than have a Ministry for Energy, we have placed more emphasis in Nigeria on having individual and separate ministries for petroleum resources; power; communications; and mines and steel.
It is debatable whether our continuous focus on commodity rather than the output of what we require as a nation is not responsible for the challenges we face in the management of petroleum resources,
electricity and telecommunications in Nigeria.
The reality on theground is that the core functions of these ministries are actually beingperformed by their mega agencies, namely, the Nigerian NationalPetroleum Company (NNPC) and a host of other companies in the petroleum sector; the Power Holding Company of Nigeria(PHCN), Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) andnow a host of power generating and power distribution companies(GENCOs and DISCOs) in the electricity sector; NigerianCommunications Commission (NCC) and a host of privatetelecommunication companies like MTN, Etisalat, Globacom etc, in the telecommunications sector. All of these companies, agencies andcorporations have their respective boards. What then is the rationalefor having separate ministries for these commodity-based issues, other than our usual penchant for wanting to share the national cake?
A Ministry of Energy would bring all the issues involved in power generation under the same roof, as against the current arrangement, which has gas supply under the control of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, coal supply, in the Ministry of Solid Mineral Development, whilethe focal output, power generation, resides in a different Ministry ofPower!
Flowing from the argument above, it would also become necessary to take a second look at the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, in view of themandate of the super-agency Niger Delta Development Commission (NNDC). The current situation in the North East of Nigeria makes it imperative to review the establishment of the ministry. Otherwise, are we going to create a similar ministry for the North East? Whatever the case, an agency to commence addressing the rehabilitation of the region appears to be something that we cannot run away from in the immediate term. However, it would be appropriate to recognize that, apart from the resource derivation angle of the Niger Delta region, the root causes of the issues in the two regions are related and derive from youth restiveness, which must be comprehensively addressed as a national issue…’
‘Restructuring of federal and state bureaucracies’
Doubtless, the Adegoroye book launched since 2015 has established why and how the federal and state bureaucracies should be restructured for efficiency and cost control. In other serious climes, a classic like this (book) by an academic in the federal bureaucracy, pioneer Director-General of Bureau of Public Service Reforms (BPSR) and retired Permanent Secretary should have been studied to restructure the convoluted civil service at federal and state levels.
As I was saying, does a very poor Ekiti state need more than six ministries at such a time like this? How many ministries did the old western region comprising the present six states have when there was a country? How many ministries did the northern and eastern regions too have when their economies were competitive? I understand they were not more than ten in some cases.
In the same vein, if you study the Adegoroye’s inefficiency and waste reduction strategy paper, you will discover that the country does not actually require more than 28 ministries and departments now. What is the rationale for Niger Delta Ministry’s co-existence with the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC)? Now that the North East Development Commission (NEDC) has been established as recommended by Dr. Adegoroye, will there be a Ministry of North East Development?
There is therefore a sense in which we can claim that we should regard the proliferation of redundant ministries and agencies by the successive governments as the years that locusts have eaten. But that should stop now to focus on capital expenditure that would enable political leaders to develop critical infrastructure. The era of spending more than 70 per cent of national and state budgets on recurrent expenditure should not be allowed to continue from May this year. There should be a national consensus on lean and efficient bureaucracies at all levels. That is why the authorities in Abuja and the 36 federating units and the nation’s capital should note that democracy will lose its majesty without a strong economy to nurture it. And that begins with management of the nation’s resources. A government in which the bulk of budget details always revolves around recurrent expenditure, debt management and subsidy without anything for the rest people (non-state actors) through capital projects (development of critical infrastructure) for economic development through entrepreneurship will always lead to what we have at the moment: insecurity and crushing poverty. That is why most people are still asking for the change the Buhari administration promised in 2015. They changed the promise. This time they need to change their strategy by focusing on human resource management. They need to reform the public service. This government to be inaugurated on May 29 needs to take governance more seriously.
In the same vein, governors in various geopolitical zones need to know that Africa and indeed the black race are getting tired of excuses from Nigeria about the leadership it is expected to give the continent and the black people of the world. The iconic Nelson Mandela warned Nigeria before he joined his ancestors in 2013 that:
‘The world will not respect Africa until Nigeria earns that respect. The black people of the world need Nigeria to be great as a source of pride and confidence….’
No matter what we do, we cannot lead Africa and the black people of the world by celebrating mediocrity. We can’t make progress even in any private organization when the worst people are lifted to lead the best people.
The Tinubu, el-Rufai and Shetima Strategy Papers
I have drawn attention to the Oronsaye and Adegoroye inefficiency and waste reduction strategy papers. It is also relevant to freeze dirty, partisan politics and embrace governance issues for national development. That is why I would like to share this governance knowledge issue from my reporter’s notebook. Our leaders at all levels, notably the president and the governors need to borrow a leaf from some strategy documents of the former Governor of Lagos State, and grandmaster of Lagos politics, Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu. I have also studied el-Rufai at work and lately the outgoing governor of Borno state who defied all odds, ‘committed class suicide’ to support a people-person, a transparent successor, Professor BabaganaZulum – from 21 cleared governorship candidates. This is not a campaign piece for these notables from my notebook. One factor that is common to these political leaders, Tinubu, el-Rufai, and Shetima is that they know how to recruit, headhunt skilled people for efficiency and productivity. They don’t tolerate mediocrity. Lagos state bureaucracy and even cabinet cannot at all times accommodate mediocrity. That is why there is noticeable dynamism in the system. Same for el-Rufai I know from Abuja to Kaduna. That was what drove his sack-incompetent-teachers policy the other day. Read the remarkable speech of Borno State governor when he ignored politicians and his friends to support a good man, Zulum in October last year.
Specifically, at this time, President Buhari needs the strategic human resource management (SHRM) skills of the listed strategic thinkers (Tinubu, el-Rufai and Shettima) who are coincidentally his party men. As I have been saying since March 2016, the President should continue restructuring from his homestead – the presidential bureaucracy comprising the Offices of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, (SGF), the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation (HCSC) and Federal Civil Service Commission (FCSC).
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