Nigeria is a great country with very vast and enduring potentials. Nigeria does not come behind in internationally acclaimed human and natural resources. This did not start today. Nigeria is so blessed it has no business with poverty or allied issues. But what obtains today is a pity story of a great nation swallowed by mediocrity.
We all know we are not where we are supposed to be but there had not been enough will to say no to the rubbish we are pushing through everyday. This is a sin emanating from both the leadership and the governed. The governed, because they have a strong power which they have never annexed and the leadership catching on on the populace’s ignorance. In term of policy formulation, Nigeria intellectual capacity always manifest.
Not one policy document I have seen since early 60s lacks great potential for a changed Nigeria. But the challenge had been and is still that most of these policies are not sustainable not because of their lack of direction but other factors that are also important. Policy in its simple definition is a declared and written document which guides intentions of government or organization towards a determined goal. To be achievable, it has to be clear, simple( though there is allowance for technical jargons) but it must provide the principles that will guide decision making in achieving set objectives.
Policy must be a product of intensive research which identifies particular problem (s) otherwise it will be difficult to proffer a workable sustainable solution nor appropriate guide in the right set of quality decisions that must be made. Importantly, there must be a framework through which it must operate. We know in every policy there are several interests but an overriding interest must be to build a collective will and not just to satisfy a group of privileged 5 out of four million. Having a metric which must be followed is very vital. Metric must not be tilted in anyone’s favour but geared towards achievement of set goals.
A build up to policy formulation is also a need to identify all the stakeholders involved. An attempt must be made to ensure majority is carried along. In no way does this suggest totality of the population but real influencers and decision maker must be co-opted even if we do not like their face, thought pattern and dispositions. The question is whether their inclusion will add value and not sentiment. Essential to this is communication. Nothing is ever successful without effective communication. A good wife material needs to communicate desire through varied methods with a sense of decorum.
A major factor also is the support system that are required. These may be human and financial resources and how each will be supplied at whatever quality and quantity required. Not least important is the ease of implementation and political will to see them through to the end.
Looking at some of the policies In place in Nigeria, can we say many of these policies are well thought out before their launch? Take the Agriculture policy and a continouos cry from government that everyone must return to the farm. Some state governments have also gone ahead to declare a day off for Public service employees to go and farm.
A week or so ago, the respected Simon Kolawole wrote and insightful article on this so there is no need to go over what he said. Where is the foundation of that policy coming from? What are the metrics that will guide outcomes and performance? No one can tell exactly but at least it suits a lazy mind who does not want to work for the money earned at he end of the month. So everyone kept quiet.
Such could have been a time for the governed to ask question, revolt and send right signal to the Governor to stop such a policy. But it appears no one is thinking. Another peep into Nigeria financial policy s the Central Bank of Nigeria blocking several windows of forex inflow. Good intention but bad timing, I stand to be corrected.
Today, we woke up again to the fact that Governor Ajumobi of Oyo State had approved creation of new local government development areas. While he may have good intention as Oyo State seems to have one of the largest numbers of Local governments which need new local governments and had consistently clamoured for creation of new state without end, but can someone tell us if this new policy is sustainable?
A state that could not pay salaries of workers in the existing over 30 local governments. Is it by creating new local government development areas with its attendant need for recruitment of hundreds of workers that the existing issues be resolved? Has the Governor considered sustainability of such decision in term of resources( human and financial)?
A look at Lagos State ban on street hawkers also comes to the radar. The menace of street hawkers stares at everyone’s face. This is a problem we face daily. But they are not only on the streets or major intra-city roads. We find hawkers on major Nigeria highways: Lagos – Ibadan, Bennin – Ore, Kaduna, kano and even in Okenne, Lokoja and Abuja. Anyone who had traveled by road will see them all over. That is an indication of a major societal ill. Where are the jobs? Check the hawkers on major highways, these guys can do 100 metre dash in few seconds. One need to think about this waste.
With the ban, has the menace stopped? Just check Ikorodu road at any slightest heavy traffic. Go through Ikeja – Mobolaji Anthony way, Oshodi etc. Imagine the level of compliance 90 days after the ban despite Ninety Thousand fine attached? The hawkers had become so bold they hide harmful weapons(not necessarily gun) in the flower which they can use to fight Para-military War Against Indisciple Brigade established to enforce enforce the law. Let us not forget ban on popular commercial motor cycle riders (Okada) on Lagos major roads which other states had copied. Has it been fully enforced? Everyday on Ikorodu road in Lagos one will not look to far before seeing these motor cycle riders riding on a wrong way.
At the federal level, let us take a look at education policy(Basic Education Curriculum) spearheaded by Nigeria Education Research Development Council. The process began in 1998 through Universal Basic Education and associated requirements. There had been two revisions of the policy and just few week ago it was relaunched with fun fare. Despite all these there had been public outcry against the policy with regards to its sustainability. Going through the implementation process, we have seen a lot of difficulties which may not allow full achievement of the set goals.
We can go on and on but where does all these lead us? A fundamental issue must be addressed and that must be now if we are really set for fora change. Policy without human face as well as determination to push through will lead us to nowhere. If we like let us have vision 5050, when that time arrives we may still be in the same spot. Time to think and act.