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When performance operates governance ~ by Fredrick Nwabufo

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There is a pristine approach to governance. Performance-operated. And result oriented. The Tinubu administration’s perspective to governance is one that focalises the people and prioritises service delivery above notional niceties and officialese. It is an approach that demands clinical methodism in addressing institutional ills, rigour, discipline, efficiency, and most importantly, results.

The recent Cabinet Retreat was a utility-mine. It offered the territory for ideation, iteration, and actioning of government plans, policies, and programmes. It also offered room for the articulation of a clear and unambiguous path for the administration and Nigeria in the coming months and years. It was a confluence of will, purpose, strategy, and action.

The priority design of the administration was redefined and encapsulated as: 1. Reform the economy to deliver sustained inclusive growth. 2. Strengthen national security for peace and prosperity. 3. Boost agriculture to achieve food security. 4. Unlock energy and natural resources for sustainable development. 5. Enhance infrastructure and transportation as enablers of growth. 6. Focus on education, health, and social investment as essential pillars of development. 7. Accelerate diversification through industrialisation, digitisation, creative arts, manufacturing & innovation, and 8. Improve governance for effective service delivery.

A few outcomes from the event are the signing of performance bonds by all ministers; the initiation of clear-cut delivery channels for the objectives of the administration at strategic cellular and multi-cellular levels; emphasis on data as the lifeblood of governance; activation of impact assessment systems, as well as other salient components of effective governance.

The policy recommendations are ‘’Reform tariff structure to enable trade while still supporting domestic production; incorporate more equity financing rather than debt financing for fiscal operations; ensure the annual budget is aligned with strategic priorities; review the implication of forward contracts on the economy; set up a steering committee to review the issues around the national single window; intensify efforts to block revenue leakages in the police force; engage with governors to strengthen security at local government levels while addressing issues of autonomy and governance; have a collaborative and collective approach at the state level to address security challenges, in collaboration with the federal government; develop and facilitate effective information gathering and sharing mechanisms between and among states, communities, and the federal government; prioritise the clean-up of Ogoni communities; utilise technology to increase agricultural yield; intensify efforts to erect the green wall to stop desert encroachment in northern Nigeria; intensify efforts to reduce post-harvest losses by driving investments into storage and value addition.’’

Other recommendations are ‘’Embark on efforts to check coastal erosion; enhance dry-season farming and promote commercial livestock farming; unlock energy and natural resources for sustainable development; develop a 10-year plan to increase power generation capacity in line with the country’s needs; set up a super grid in line with the nation’s generation targets and create semi-autonomous regional grids; overhaul the structure and coverage of the distribution companies; revitalise a roadmap for the steel industry; revive power plant projects that have been previously paused, including the Ajaokuta Steel plant; engage with OPEC to increase Nigeria’s crude oil production quota; drive investments into the upstream petroleum sector, with clear targets while making provisions for sanctions for non-performance and inefficiencies; open up the sports sector for business by attracting infrastructure, incentives, and investments; accelerate the attainment of universal health coverage; foster grassroots efforts to prevent and mitigate humanitarian crises, and improve governance for effective service delivery, and invest in technology to save cost, time, and reduce corruption.’’

At the core of these developmental elements are delivery, performance, and results. These are the oxygenating concomitants of the Cabinet Retreat. It was in the full consciousness of delivering service to the people, that the Results Delivery Unit was created. It is all about service to the Nigerian people. It is all about performance and results. Fewer words, but deeper actions. Deeper thinking, and better planning. Better planning, and finer policies. Finer polices, perfect finish, and excellent delivery.

There is obviously a shift from the status quo. Public officials are reminded that they are servants of the people, and not their sovereign, and must submit to transparency and accountability. The business of governance is now done with corporate-sector discipline; goal-oriented, performance-driven, and with clear targets. There is fiscal discipline, a surfeit of patriotism, and competence in the management of government business.

The urgency of the moment is clearly in front view, and the enormity of the responsibility fully cognised, hence the dispatch and alacrity in the careful articulation and execution of redemptive measures. It is all about the people for this administration.

Nigerians are the anchor of the government. They come first in policy design, plan, and programme orchestration, as well as implementation. It has never been about class, or native complexion, but about the Nigerian. It is about every Nigerian doing his bit to build the nation; the Nigerian plying his trade in the marketplace; those providing services in different sectors; the professionals, the artisans, the teachers, the students – all across the strata. The leadership is attuned to them.

It is in the appreciation of the people as the fulcrum of government and to engender citizens’ participation in governance, that the directive on the activation of the Presidential Delivery Tracker was issued.

By this directive, Nigerians have been given the rightful opportunity; the carte blanche to track and report on the implementation of federal government projects and services across the country.

By this directive, power is in the hands of Nigerians to hold to account, to demand, to appraise, and praise where necessary.

By this directive, Nigerians are a part of the governing process; they have a deciding power.

By this directive, transparency and accountability is deepened.

It is all about the people. The Presidential Delivery Tracker will allow Nigerians to track the implementation of federal projects and services across the country. It is the people, their prerogative.

A statement by Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister of India, is worth sharing. The Prime Minister said inter alia: ‘’People’s participation is the essence of good governance’’, ‘’while transparency reduces corruption; good governance goes beyond transparency in achieving openness. Openness means involving the stakeholders in decision-making; transparency is the right to information while openness is the right to participation.’’

Evidently, Nigerians have been given the open sesame to participate in governance. They are in government.

It is all about the people.

Fredrick Nwabufo is the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Engagement.

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