The Nigerian state is currently described as failed, not because she doesn’t possess the resources to be great or that her people are not gifted enough to transform the gift of abundant resources into taps that flow, roads that are smooth or bulbs that light. We are failed because we have been utterly careless, wasteful and shamefully laisser-faire.

Nigeria perhaps can boast of the best plans on paper in the world. We have developed so many National development plans. We have policy documents on every sector of our national life. The white papers and blue papers and all other colours of papers that have been developed by us on various issues attest to the abundance of intellect in our midst. But then none of these lofty plans ever sees the light of day.

They are either never executed, abandoned mid stream or so shabbily done such that no value whatsoever is reaped from the project at the end of the day. In some other cases, the projects end up being executed at double the budget either because of the greed of the persons involved, the unnecessary delays encountered or simply a failure of the budgeting right from the onset.

The resultant effect of years of doing things like stone-age men has left us where we are. With hospitals that are better of as mortuaries. Roads that are death traps. Dry taps. Darkness. Universities that produce unemployable graduates. Kidnappers. Failed electoral system etc.

We have all been complaining and of late the complain is reaching a crescendo. The current state of affairs in the polity has made ferocious political commentators of even the most hitherto apolitical minds. We have been going on and on about the problem and often we (bloggers, Journalists, Diasporas, professionals etc) have always been accused of only criticizing but not offering solutions.

A bright idea however has now emerged on how to begin to get ourselves out of the woods. This is offered by the upcoming National Project Management Conference tagged ProMaCon ’09. The Conference which has the theme “Institutionalizing Project Management Best Practices In Nigeria” is an effort of Nigerian Professionals to introduce the concept of ‘Project Management’ to the running of government business and help develop a Project Management framework for the MDA’s.

What new story are these people telling? You might wish to ask. Not claiming to be an authority in these matters, I know enough to state that the concept of Project Management which is globally a fast emerging discipline covering all human endeavor is today an indispensable tool for delivering business results within budget, time and quality specifications.

Bringing it home therefore into our system offers us an opportunity to begin to do things differently by ensuring that government plans, projects and programmes at all levels are transparently budgeted and successfully implemented within time, budget and specifications.

The conference which is scheduled to hold between the 8th and 10th of September at the Sheraton Abuja Hotel and Towers targets not just the Government people but also, Financial Institutions, Development agencies, Telecom and IT companies, Construction Companies, Industries, Educational Institutions, Consulting firms, Portfolio, Program, Project Managers, CEOs, CIOs and CTOs, Managers, Business and General Managers, Human Resource Specialists,  as well as aspiring entrepreneurs,

With technical papers to be presented by the bests of Nigeria’s professionals both at home and in the Diaspora who are world class professionals by their own right and who have gathered many years of experience in the core areas of Project Management , one could afford to exude some confidence that this is not just another jamboree.

Amongst the names billed to speak at the conference are Tomi Davies (Techno Vision Communications), Kolapo Solesi (Sulphur Tel), Mary Udie (Executive Consulting USA), Ike Nwankwo (Distinct Mgt), Goodluck Enimakpokpo (GSTD Huawei Tech), Paul Atkin (Advantage learning UK), Lambert Ofoegbu (Neo-Reflex), Sola Oduko (Procept Associate Canada), Deji Philips (PMI Lagos) among others. The topics of discuss are as vast as they are inciting.

What guarantee really is there that this might just be the answer to our prayers? Well none at this point. Perhaps, this is just part of the solution. We can at best hope. The Ministry Of National Planning through its minister Shamsudeen Usman, has expressed governments commitment towards supporting the conference and imbibing the outcome of the conference especially as the October 1st due date for the commencement of the much talked about Vision 20:20 draws near. As doubtful as we could get of government, following years of empty talk, we can at most save some faith that perhaps for once things might go right.

This is another opportunity to begin to walk the talk and perhaps save our nation from final collapse. I think it’s a great idea and indeed a commendable one. Those who are interested could check up the conference site for more information on how they could participate.

While I wish the organizers well, I pray them to guide that this new concept doesn’t get subsumed by that monster known popularly as “the Nigerian Factor” as that would only have taken us all round another cycle of failure and would ironically be an indictment on the tenets of the very concept they wish to institutionalize.

Sylva Nze Ifedigbo

[email protected]

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