The Guardian - Nigeria - Lagos,Nigeria
By Bartholomew Okonkwo 11 March, 2009
CASSAVANEWS. Obasanjo opened our eyes on Cassava during his rule and this has placed Nigeria on the higher echelon of cassava matrix. What I am saying is that mechanised agriculture can be used by these governors to cultivate cash crops with improved seeding and this will even create jobs for the masses. What are they waiting for? Well I don't blame them when they use two years of their rule to fight for the mandate they would have stolen and the remaining two years to prepare for re-election. How can they concentrate and plan?
For Nigeria to move forward, our various governments state and federal should adopt the business model other Fortune 500 companies had adopted in order to realise their goals and objectives. The country has to be run as an enterprise before we can have any meaningful development. We need to have a business strategy and develop metrics to measure our profitability at the end of every calendar year. The business of our government is still being run in a non-orchestrated manner and this has resulted in the various hiccups we have had over the years. There are so many singers without a choirmaster.
For us to run our government as an enterprise, we have to evolve a business strategy. This is a plan that integrates an organisation's goals, policies, and action sequences into a cohesive whole. Such should identify the overall direction and intent of the organisation in terms of major drivers that are, or will be in place to ensure continuity. There is no organisation or nation that can survive or be in the league of blue-chip companies or developed economies if it does not have a clear-cut business strategy which defines the direction it is going.
For us to define our strategy, we have to look at three things. We have to define where we are going. We have to identify what are the terrains or issues we need to overcome to get us there and we have to identify where we are currently.
Several times in our life as a nation, we kept defining where we are going. We had Vision 2000, we had 2010 and now we have Vision 2020. In as much as these visions were not clear and people have not been made to buy into it, support it and make it happen, we have not really been consistent in realising the vision because we as a nation have not assessed what our terrain/issues are and how to overcome them. Our leadership style in this nation should adopt the management style of Ready, Aim and Fire style of leadership. Our leaders don't even know what they are firing at before they pull the trigger. They first pull the trigger and then ask questions. Simply put, they do not know where they are going to. There is no defined plan in place and a sequence of cohesive actions. What baffles me is that so many of these people have attended the best business schools in the world yet they fail at the leadership level. To me, it is simply selfishness and affiliation to party ideologies, which are not client driven. The clients-here are the masses who are yelling for change.
Now coming to our strategy realisation, we have to be ready. To be ready, we need to do a comprehensive assessment of what our issues/terrains are. What are those things that have made it impossible for us to realise our vision or where we want to go? Our terrains are corruption, improper electoral system, high recurrent expenditure, ineffective policing, Niger Delta, power, political pests, dependence on oil revenue, etc.
Other nations have natural disasters which they consider as their own issues or terrains but we are so blessed that we don't have such things here. Rather we have decided to create our own natural disasters. We have corruption which has been ravaging public institutions like a tornado, we have fraudulent electoral system that results in loss of lives each time an election is held, that is our own hurricane. In the area of policing, we have one of the most frustrated and ill-equipped police team in the world and due to poor welfare they often transfer aggression to the citizens they are meant to protect. The police are our own Tsunami. The cost of running our governments is so high, this is our own earthquake.
Power issue is an ugly monster that has retarded our development, created moribund industries, unemployment, high rate of crime and eliminated foreign investments in our country. Political pests are those who distract the presidency. They are working for different interest groups and have made government to lose focus on the citizens and direct policies to favour these few in order to grow their business empires. Too much dependency on oil and the need to divert our revenue quest to other non-oil yielding ventures. As a business enterprise, the government should focus more on the citizens, who are its internal customers, its work force that should be utilised effectively to drive down production cost as we have in China.
A proper assessment of these issues/terrains will enable us to identify those terrains that have made it impossible for us to achieve our various visions. We should be drawing the action plan to overcome our terrains in order to get to where we want to go to.
All state governments should adopt this business model and run their states as if they are running enterprises with the customers/citizens in consideration. They should look at ways of yielding internal revenues in order to finance their infrastructural development rather than this yearly ritual of waiting for oil funds. The world is looking at bio fuels and once America perfects this technology, oil prices will sell at $10 per barrel and Nigeria could go into extinction. Obasanjo opened our eyes on Cassava during his rule and this has placed Nigeria on the higher echelon of cassava matrix. What I am saying is that mechanised agriculture can be used by these governors to cultivate cash crops with improved seeding and this will even create jobs for the masses. What are they waiting for? Well I don't blame them when they use two years of their rule to fight for the mandate they would have stolen and the remaining two years to prepare for re-election. How can they concentrate and plan?
The bottom line is that I want a better country for all of us. I want a country we can call our own and be proud of even at the point of death. Patriotism seems to have died in this country because the citizens have lost hope in their leaders. Until government begins to run our agencies with that kind of zeal an entrepreneur would have in running his own business, we cannot get far. We see government's business here as nobody's business hence the scramble for the resources.
Okonkwo lives in Lagos.