Development goals are aimed at changing the fortune of a country at long run. In Nigeria and across Africa Countries, we have not been short of great paper works which has capacity to bring immediate and long term advancement if we are really serious. As they say ‘the devil is always in the details’. Take a time to check the content of such paper works showed the intellectual capability of our people. A noticeable factor also is that many successive government always have a heart to kick start anything but lack the strong will to follow through is a major hindrance to progress across Africa.
When we take the example of Nigeria, Nigeria has not been in want of great Policy makers whose brains are like that of sharp shooters. In pre –Independence, a report claimed that Colonnia masters promulgated Township ordinance in 1917. After the independence, the first national plan was between 1962 and 1968. The focus was to enhance agricultural produce for export. The capital budget was around One Million, Three Hundred and fifty three Thousand(N1.353Million).
The achievement of this goal was not adequately captured afterward. Then we have 1970-1974 – Second National Development Plan which was focused on Post civil war, rehabilitation of post war activities with Capital Budget NGN2,051 million. After this Nigeria had the 1975-1980,Third National Development Plan which had its focus on reduction of regional disparities, rural electrification and establishment of nine River Basin development authorities. The budget allocation for this was NGN32 billion. This was also followed up by 1981-1985 – Fourth National Development Plan as well as 1985 onwards – Post Fourth National development Plan
In all these, the paper works were very excellent. The initial take off spirits were always high but unfortunately many of these developmental goals usually die a natural death leaving the citizen worst off or without meaningful changes. Meanwhile the budget allocations would have vanished into the tin air. Whereas in other climes, America set a goal to put man in the moon in ten years, with commitment, they beat that go ahead of set time. Japan, United Arab Emirates are also great examples of what great goal, commitment and discipline can do in the life of any human or nation.
In this piece therefore we will like to examine the challenges of development across Africa with particular emphasis to Nigeria.
Not very clear objective, knowledge management: In some cases, the objective may sound great but a little ambiguity may destroy its implementation. In few cases where this was not the case, lack of proper knowledge management of the process, lesson learned before, during and after actions taken adversely affected the next stage.
Sustainability and tenacity of purpose: It obvious that succeeding government and even the initiators themselves lack tenacity and sustainability of purpose required to see through the process and achieve the goal set. There are always lots of distraction here.
Competency and integrity of team: Often, many of the team members who are drafted to develop the Policy, goals are often ignored afterward. With no consultation or clear focus on the line of actions to be followed, many of the implementation committees may lack required competence, agility or integrity which can give support to adequate goal achievement.
Monitoring and evaluation: from the above, ongoing monitoring and evaluation suffered or ignored. With this, constant alignment with purpose may not be assured hence the failure of the project at the end.
Adequate funding: the problem of adequate funding was also part of the issue. We seemed to wait till the last minute. Budget release and allocation may not be available as at when due. Lots of the processes are often delayed till the dying minutes when many things would have been damaged. This often gives room for shady implementation as many of the process are often fastracked without adequate monitoring.
Citizens and stakeholders’ buy in: No goal can be achieved until every stakeholder agrees to put in their quotas and best. In most cases here, government may not secure enough citizen buy-in because of mistrust and ethnic rivalry. Other development actors’ like civil Society, Development partners must help in ensuring proper accountability
Corruption: of all the hindrances, Corruption in Nigeria and Africa has been the major problem to development. Many do not see government as a platform for service. It is considered and opportunity to ‘eat from the National Cake’
Don we really want a change passionately, citizen and leaders across Africa need to play their own roles with finesse.