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How Tinubu Can Ensure Success In Governance – Tunji Olaopa

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Prof. Tunji Olaopa

A renowned professor of public administration, and former federal permanent secretary, Tunji Olaopa, has listed some significant steps President Bola Tinubu can  take  to succeed in governance.

Olaopa spoke on Monday May 29, 2023 some minutes shortly before the swearing in of Bola Tinubu as Nigerian 16th president .

Olaopa spoke while delivering the 7th Distinguished Leadership Series entitled “May 29 and Onward: Towards Nigeria’s Rebirth and Transformation” organised by the Abuja Leadership Centre, University of Abuja.

According to Olaopa, “Many Nigerians have varying expectation about today, May 29. For the cynics ad the pessimists, it is a transition that leads nowhere, except the manifestation of a fresh spectacle of musical chairs—a familiar but tragic drama involving politicians with a high leadership deficit whose lack of governance vision and low level of development performance spell ultimately another possible four years of intense frustration for Nigerians. For chronic optimists like me, this might just be a May 29 transition with a difference; a day that might as well signal the threshold of a revolutionary moment in governance transformation.”

Stressing the importance of vision, Olaopa urged the new president to commence the “administration with a governance methodology embedded in Buhari’s statement of ‘I am for everybody and I am for no one’ which provides a detached platform for leadership and governance praxis. For instance, it will be the wrong foot forward if Tinubu starts by favoring those only those who voted for him or aided him during the last elections, or—for that matter—filling his cabinet with political jobbers. This is because the complex problems Nigeria faces require radical and innovative approaches. We cannot, as Albert Einstein admonishes, ‘solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them …’ Indeed, we cannot continue seeing development agenda only in terms of the hardware components of infrastructural development that has locked Nigeria into a 19th century perspective on what development is all about.”

He asked Tinubu to “foreground the value of policy work reinforced with policy-engaged research and strategic thinking. This is more so, because the world is now firmly in the knowledge age where hardware of development requires the software to make sense. Indeed, Nigeria must rediscover the place and role of research in the generation of the requisite policy intelligence and action required to jumpstart critical progress. Action and policy research will indeed be the backbone of leadership sophistication and boldness to craft national development agenda that speak to context-specificities in spite of the preferences of donor conditionalities and western neo-liberal orthodoxy. And even more significant is the fact that the idea of government itself has been superseded by that of governance which opens up the processes of government for a wider array of non-governmental and non-state actors to participate in government, and giving the acts and policies of government more chances of succeeding in empowering the citizens through infrastructural development. And so, governance provides the government of the day a wide range of political and technocratic expertise to choose from—subject specialists, think tanks, policy networks, and research-enabled interest groups which also have a strategic role to play within the governance space.

“This is where the idea of putting together a government of national competence demands the creation of a change space, circumscribed by a competency model, that generates a national change management programme that orients those who would work within the change space for the transformation of Nigeria. The change space and competency model mean that the new administration is ready to jettison the business-as-usual attitude that is ready to play another four years of bad politics with the lives of Nigerians and the destiny of the Nigerian state. This implies the imperative of troubleshooting deliberately for a managerial team that will energize the change space with ideas, innovation and strategies for institutional renewal and reform.

“I have once asked the question of whether a weak leader can build strong institutions. Of course, we have to answer in the negative. A leader is weak either because he or she lacks the political will to legislate very strong institution-building policies, or because he lacks the legitimate support of the people. The third source of weakness for a leader is that such a person has allowed personal gains and aggrandizing impulse to overshadow selfless decision making. In any of the cases, there is no foundation laid for the emergence of strong institutions. Building strong institutions with curtailing capacities that will deliver democratic service delivery to Nigerians requires a change space where functional and implemented policies can be made and results demanded.

“Two immediate imperatives will guide the harnessing of managerial competences in the change space. First, the overall objective must be the launch of a national productivity movement that will be circumscribed by such critical pillars like cost of governance reduction, national waste management programme, new national project management praxis, and a new maintenance culture. The success of any state depends on her productivity profile and how the performance of her workforce impacts the delivery of goods and services to the citizens. And this is where the second critical issue surfaces—the need for a performance management system that insists that all those who must participate in the change space must be held accountable to a performance agreement or contract and performance audit. This focuses attention on the significance of creating a capability ready public service, operating on a managerial culture, that is professionalized, technocratic, value-driven, highly incentivized, accountable and technology-enabled sufficiently to backstop the productivity movement of the administration.

“The success of the Tinubu administration, without mincing words, hangs on the capability readiness of the public service to deliver on the mandate that President Tinubu sold to Nigerians. This is where it becomes fundamental to call for a reinvention of the public service systems, structures, values and ethics—indeed the totality of work culture—within the necessity of getting the basics of public administration right. Modernizing the public service system thus translates into a deep-seated paradigm shifts in the underlying bureaucratic model.

“The other side of my expectation from the Tinubu administration is an issue that President Tinubu shares with the ideological framework that has sustained the southwest in its bid to rehabilitate the Nigerian state. And this is the urgency of attending to Nigeria’s constitutional quandary, manifesting in its lopsided federal arrangement. Not making any meaningful attempt to correct Nigeria’s constitutional dysfunction, part of what constitutes Tinubu’s democratic credentials and ideological profile—would create a huge hole that will drain all good policy intentions. On the one hand, Nigeria’s presidential dynamics drains her budgetary capabilities. This is part of the cost of governance worries that Nigeria has been saddled with since independence. On the other hand, the lopsided unitary federalism has also been grievous in another way that the Tinubu administration cannot afford not to tackle. Nigeria cannot ever hope to make any governance success through a federalism that emasculate its federating units at the expense of a centralized framework that undermines the various units and their capacities to generate strength from their comparative advantages.”

Olaopa added: “The comatose nature of the local government areas has deprived the Nigerian state of a framework of local governance that could harness the values of subsidiarity to crystalize, for instance, a grassroots-propelled poverty reduction programme and a people-centered development process around which the new administration can redefine democratic administration. So many of my public discourse pieces have outlined the significance of the Aboyade-Mabogunje OPTICOM—optimum communication—project that utilize the strength of professionalized strategic communication praxis to engage Nigerians within a framework of social mobilization, popular participation and democratic accountability. ”

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Tinubu Approves N70,000 Minimum Wage

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BREAKING: Dogara, Babachir Lead Northern Christians Against Tinubu's Muslim-Muslim Ticket

By John Michael Ojo

The Federal Government on Thursday, pegged the new national minimum wage at N70,000.

This was made known by Mr Bayo Onanuga, a Special Adviser to President Bola Tinubu on Information and Strategy, in a statement posted on X, formerly known as Twitter.

“President Bola Tinubu has approved N70,000 minimum wage for Nigerian workers with promise to review the national minimum wage law every three years.

“President Tinubu also promised to find ways to assist the private sector and the sub-nationals to pay the minimum wage.

“President Tinubu announced the decisions at the meeting held with leaders of TUC and NLC on Thursday in Abuja, the second time the parties met in 7 days,” the statement read.

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Olaopa Urges Youths To Shun Japa Syndrome, Prepare For Leadership

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Prof. Tunji Olaopa flanked by Hon Abike Dabiri (left )and Prof. Oladapo Afolabi , former Head of Service of the Federation ( right) at the event on Thursday.

The Chairman of the Federal Civil Service Commission, Prof. Tunji Olaopa, has urged youths to prepare for leadership positions early in life instead of travelling overseas to seek opportunities, a development that is popularly known as the Japa syndrome.

The seasoned bureaucrat and former federal permanent secretary said that opportunities abound for youths but that they could only access them when they begin early .

According to Olaopa who spoke on Thursday during the 2023/2024 graduation of KIA Lakeside Academy in Abuja, these opportunities will elude the youths if they opt to go and wander on the streets of foreign countries. He said : ” In the civil service I am very familiar with, people grow old and retire every day. We need youths to fill such vacancies that the old people leave behind . If all the youths go abroad to be doing menial jobs, do we go to Ghana and other neighbouring countries to employ their youths?

Prof. Tunji Olaopa and Prof. Oladapo Afolabi, former Head of Service of the Federation at the event.

He said that under his leadership of the Federal Civil Service, there is so  much hope for youths to access federal jobs. He said he had decided to maintain a policy of transparency and equity in making jobs in the civil service available for all eligible Nigerian youths through open advertisement.

He said in the area of political leadership, the older generation could not keep on dominating the sector. He said that the youths would be need to replace the old political leaders as they quit the scene.

According to him, the ability to prepare early for leadership goes hand in hand with a clear vision. He said nobody could prepare for anything if there is no clear vision of where they are going or what they want.

He said people who reach great heights in life always have a clear vision of where they are going early in life and they work towards it. He gave the example of former United States President Bill Clinton who as a youth had a clear vision of being his nation’s leader.

According to Olaopa, past and current leaders in Nigeria have had early in their youths clear visions of what they want in life. He said it was this clear visions early in life that made them trailblazers in different areas of life. In politics he cited Chief Obafemi Awolowo , Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe and others. He said that these were trailblazers in their youth. He said in business, young people have become trailblazers.

He said that because of the opportunities the current world offers, youths do not need to become old people before reaching great heights in life. According to him, youths have become trailblazers in technology . He mentioned the examples of Zuckerberg of Facebook, Elon Musk and a younger Bill Gates.

Talking about breaking the glass ceiling, Olaopa said that no gender barrier should stop anyone from reaching the summit of life. He said many women in the past and the present have been trailblazers. He mentioned Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti. Dora Akunyili,l and Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. He said unlike in the past , many bank CEOs in Nigeria are currently women.

However, Olaopa said that nobody could be a trailblazer without preparation. He said this preparation comes in the form of education. He quoted Nelson Mandela who once observed that “Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world.” He said if in the past people we regard as great today could get education despite the huge barriers they were faced with, youths of today have no excuse. He said Awolowo was faced with a huge educational disadvantage which he overcame by studying at home . He said Azikiwe had to find his way overseas where he suffered to educate himself. According to him, one of the greatest lawyers today in Nigeria is Chief Afe Babalola. He said Babalola overcame his challenges by studying at home and that today he owns one of the best universities in the country.

According to him, youths who lack the opportunity of going to formal university classrooms can avail themselves of the opportunities offered by the open university system that the Federal Government supports .

He said that in fact President Bola Tinubu has demonstrated his interest in the education of the less-privileged through his government’s Student loan scheme. He said that youths who desire to acquire university education but have no sponsors can use that scheme.

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Tinubu Appoints Walson-Jack Head Of Service As Yemi-Esan Retires

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Walson-Jack

As the current Head of Service Folasade Yemi-Esan, CFR, is due to retire on August 13, 2024, President Bola Tinubu has approved her replacement. She is Mrs. Didi Esther Walson-Jack.

Mrs. Walson-Jack was appointed as Federal Permanent Secretary in 2017 and has served in several Ministries.

While thanking Yemi-Esan  for her stewardship, President Tinubu tasked the incoming Head of Service to discharge her duties with innovative flair, integrity, and stringent adherence to the extant rules and regulations of the Civil Service of the Federation.

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