Professor Ladipo Adamolekun is independent scholar, he gave this "Inauguration Lecture" on May 26th 2011 as part of the series of events marking the inauguration of President Goodluck Jonathan's ascencion to power on May 29 2011.
CONTENTS: Preamble, Introduction
PART ONE: Five Fundamentals
PART TWO: Three Transformation Result Areas
PART THREE: Implementation Issues
Appendix 1: The Eight Millennium Development Goals
A Transformation Agenda for Accelerating National Development
I feel highly honoured by the decision of the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation (OHCSF) to invite me to deliver this Inauguration Lecture. I accepted the invitation at very short notice because it provides me an opportunity to contribute some ideas for the consideration of the country’s third democratically elected president since the return to civilian rule in 1999.
The “Transformation Agenda” that I present in this Lecture comprises five “Fundamentals”, three “Transformation Result Areas” (TRAs) and some implementation issues. In Part One, I briefly discuss the five selected fundamentals: electoral legitimacy, peace and security, government policy stability, rule of law, and anti-corruption. Part Two is focused on the three TRAs: (i) rehabilitating education; (ii) fixing poor infrastructure; and (iii) achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). They are briefly presented with emphasis on some specific actions that could ensure concrete results within the president’s four-year tenure. I also provide justification for the viewpoint that the TRAs should feature prominently among the priorities of President Jonathan’s administration. In Part Three, I discuss four implementation issues: (i) the centrality of the Civil Service; (ii) intergovernmental dimensions; (iii) the role of non-state actors (NSAs); and (iv) the critical importance of monitoring and evaluation. I make the point that rapid and sustained attention to building implementation capability for, and around, the four issues is critical to achieving concrete results in respect of the TRAs. As a concluding observation, I wonder aloud whether, by 2015, the scorecard of President Jonathan would deservedly earn him the title of a transformational leader, that is, a leader who has assured good progress in the implementation of a transformation agenda.
I would like to stress that I do not claim any definitiveness for the fundamentals, TRAs, and implementation issues addressed in this Lecture. The decision to focus on them is influenced, partly by what I have learned and observed in Nigeria over four decades (from the 1960s to the present), and partly by the African and international experiences to which I have been exposed over the years as an academic, and as a development professional in the World Bank where I was engaged for about two decades (late 1980s to early 2000s) in activities aimed at helping countries achieve good development performance . Consequently, comparative perspectives are provided in different parts of the Lecture, drawing on the experiences of countries in Africa, other developing countries as well as developed countries, as appropriate.
PART ONE: FIVE FUNDAMENTALS
1. Electoral Legitimacy
The significance of electoral legitimacy is that the government that emerges through free, fair and credible elections is expected to be accountable to the citizens that have entrusted the exercise of political authority to it. In turn, the citizens who, through their votes, have determined who governs them (this includes using their votes to remove non-performing governments) are also expected to demand accountability from their rulers. The combination of rulers who are accountable to their citizens and citizens that demand accountability from their rulers is generally considered conducive for achieving well-performing governments (see Diagram 1).
Diagram 1: Classical Triad of Public Accountability
It is widely acknowledged by Nigeria’s opinion leaders as well as by outside observers that getting electoral legitimacy right has been a challenge for the country since 1999. All the elections conducted in 1999, 2003 and 2007 lacked credibility, with the “do or die” 2007 elections as the worst of them. In other words, the rulers did not consider themselves obliged to observe the norm of being accountable to the citizens and the citizens whose votes did not count, did not bother to demand accountability.
In 2010, President Jonathan assured Nigerians as well as Nigeria’s external friends that he will break the jinx of flawed elections in the country. He has delivered on his promise, to an appreciable extent. Notwithstanding the fact that Nigeria’s transformation toward an electoral democracy is an unfinished agenda (the honest, focused and committed chairman of the Independent Electoral Commission, INEC – has himself admitted that there are still some flaws to correct in the electoral process), one can confidently assert that when president Jonathan is inaugurated on May 29th, he would assure Nigerians that consistent with the electoral legitimacy conferred on him through the citizens’ votes, he would be accountable to them during his tenure. And if the citizens, for their part, determine that they will continuously demand accountability from him, the country will be in the fortunate position of having one of the key ingredients for accelerating national development between 2011 and 2015. African countries that have been in this fortunate position ahead of Nigeria include Benin, Botswana, Ghana, Mauritius, and South Africa. Further afield, Brazil and India are notable examples.
2. Peace and Security
Assuring peace and security within the territorial area of a state is an incontrovertible precondition for development and it is also the case that there can be no peace without development. In the Nigerian context, the oil-rich Niger Delta is the supreme illustration of these two assertions. Without peace and security in the Niger Delta, oil and gas that contributes about 32% of the country’s GDP and about 80% of government revenues will be at risk. And without development in the area, that is, serious implementation of projects and programmes for reducing poverty and introduction and implementation of socio-economic activities that can help move the citizens in the area towards prosperity, sustainable peace and security cannot be achieved. The on-going implementation of the Niger Delta Amnesty programme, introduced by the Yar’Adua administration is a step in the right direction. However, there is need to revisit the implementation arrangements for managing both the Amnesty Programme and promoting development in the Niger-Delta. Specifically, I would argue that the Ministry of Niger Delta created in 2008 significantly duplicates the work of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and it should be folded into the NDDC. What is required is the strengthening of the NDDC and ensuring that competent and top flight experts and professionals are recruited with appropriate remunerations to turn the Commission into a well-performing organisation.
The other dimension to the challenge of peace and security in Nigeria is the threat posed by a combination of ethnic-religious conflicts and inter- and intra-elite struggles for political power and the vast opportunities for accumulating wealth through unearned generous salaries and mind-boggling renting-seeking activities. While political power struggle was a factor in the post-election violence in Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Kaduna, Kano and Niger, religious fanaticism is the chief explanatory factor for the violence unleashed by Boko Haram since the late 2000s. (Boko Haram literally means Western and/or non-Islamic education is a sin). And in Jos, the combination of all three factors – ethnic, religious and political power struggles - account for the unending killings in the once-peaceful and serene city.
Failure to implement the recommendations of the succession of commissions of inquiry set up to probe the politico-ethnic-religious conflicts in Jos since the early 2000s has undermined the usefulness of this instrument for tackling the problem. This record of failed commissions of inquiry also extends to the probes of Boko Haram’s incessant riots and killings. Given this evidence, it is doubtful if the judicial commission recently set up to probe post-election violence will prove different. Unfortunately, successive governments have not succeeded in respect of the preventive alternative, that is, reliance on security forces that help to maintain peace and security . And governments’ capacity for conflict prevention and management is patently weak. In these circumstances, tackling the root causes of the politico-ethnic-religious conflicts in the country appears to be the most viable route to finding lasting solutions. Is there a role here for the Sovereign National Conference that some opinion leaders have advocated since the early 1990s? This is a challenge that the president needs to address as a priority.
3. Government Policy Stability
It would be correct to assert that stability in economic policy, especially macro-economic stability, during the 2000s reinforced by the clarity and consistency in broad economic and social policies since the launch and implementation of the National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (NEEDS), is a major explanation for the strong economic growth recorded by the country since 2001 (see Table 1). Barring any major reversals, decent GDP growth rate is projected for 2011-2015. However, at the level of specific economic and social policy actions there have been varying degrees of inconsistencies and contradictions, including notable policy reversals. The following are three examples of policy reversals between June 2007 and June 2008: one in the economic sector (specifically, privatisation policy) and two in the education sector.
Africa’s Fastest Growing Economies, 2001 – 2015 (GDP growth rate)
Country 2001- 2010 2011- 2015
Nigeria 8.9% 6.8%
Ethiopia 8.4% 8.1%
Mozambique 7.9% 7.7%
Notes: (1) The African “Lions” listed are among the top ten in the world for each period covered.
(2) Countries with less than 10m population are excluded.
Source: The Economist (London), January 8th 2011.
Privatisation: Although privatisation is one of the main planks of the economic policy reforms in NEEDS, the Yar’Adua administration cancelled some of the privatisation transactions carried out between 2004 and 2007 including: Kaduna and Port Harcourt refineries, sale of SAT 3, take-over of NICON Insurance and sale of NITEL to TRANSCORP and some concession agreements. Considering the reported gains from the 100 or so privatisations that took place between 1999 and 2007 (the telecommunication sector yielded the most visible gains), the policy reversals send wrong signals to both domestic and foreign investors. The alternative to ad hoc policy reversals could have been a comprehensive review of government’s privatisation policy with a view to making it work better for Nigerians through, among other measures, greater attention to transparency and the strengthening of regulatory administration and enforcement capacity to ensure fair competition and protection for consumers. This is a task that is yet to be tackled.
Education Sector: Two inherited policies in the education sector that were reversed are: (i) public-private-partnership (PPP) arrangement in the management of 102 Federal Government Colleges (unity schools) and (ii) merger of polytechnics and colleges of education with universities. The main explanation given for reversing the inherited PPP arrangement is because the schools are still useful for promoting national integration and should, therefore, continue to be run by the Federal Government. However the government was silent on the implicit breach of the contract between it and the emerging Schools Management Organisations. Furthermore, the assertion on the usefulness of the unity schools for promoting national integration was not based on any opinion survey involving the key stakeholders.
Regarding the reversal of the inherited policy on the merger of polytechnics and colleges of education with universities, the consultation and dialogue with the public promised by the new administration had not been embarked upon when it decided to push for polytechnics in the country to award bachelor’s degree in technology instead of being affiliated with universities. Significantly, no analytic work was conducted on the pre-requisites for ensuring that the proposed bachelor of technology degrees will be of good quality and be relevant to the needs of employers.
It is reasonable to assume that the decent growth rate achieved between 2001 and 2010 and projected for 2011–2015 will convince president Jonathan to continue to maintain macro-economic stability during his tenure. Regarding other socio-economic policies (for example, privatization policy and social policies focused on education and health), abrupt policy reversals should be avoided whilst necessary policy adjustments should be carried out only after adequate analytic work and consultations with key stakeholders. Evidence that policy stability matters is provided by the experiences of the majority of the thirteen countries world-wide that recorded sustained high growth (7 percent and above) for 25 years or longer during the second half of the 20th Century. The countries are: Botswana, Brazil, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Malta, Oman, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, and Thailand (see, Commission on Growth and Development, 2008).
4. Rule of Law
Rule of law, underpinned by an independent court system, implies a predictable legal framework that helps to ensure settlement of conflicts between the state and individuals on the one hand and among individuals or groups on the other. It also helps to ensure respect for property rights and contracts. In a law-based state, the government will not act capriciously – a point put cogently by Friedrich Hayek, an Economics Nobel laureate, as follows: “[A country under the rule of law] means that government in all its actions is bound by rules fixed and announced beforehand” (In The road to serfdom, 1944).
Although the decades of the precedence of military diktats over court judgments and orders are mercifully behind us, the country does not yet function fully as a “country under the rule of law” (or a law-based state). There is still derogation to the independence of the judiciary, caused partly by political interference, and partly by the acts of omission and commission of the judges themselves. The appointments to the bench, especially the Appeal Court and the Supreme Court are not consistently based on merit, competence and integrity. The opaque manner in which the “federal character” clause in the constitution is invoked to justify some appointments to the Supreme Court – condemned openly a few times during the 2000s by some justices of the court who barely stopped short of labeling them patronage appointments - tends to undermine both the independence and efficiency of the judiciary. Without question, it is the deep penetration of corrupt practices into the judiciary at all levels – documented extensively in newspaper reports throughout the 2000s - that is eroding public confidence in it and undermining its efficiency and reliability.
There is abundant evidence that countries that nurture their judiciaries and assure their independence and efficiency (for example, Botswana, Mauritius and South Africa) benefit from the contributions they make to national development. Independent and efficient judiciaries help to:
• enforce and protect legal rights (especially property and contractual rights) whose absence seriously undermines economic growth while effective enforcement tends to attract foreign direct investment (FDI)
• ensure respect for individual rights. (An economy in which people have rights is more sustainable than one in which individual rights are denied. It is also worth repeating Mancur Olson’s correct assertion that it is the same legal system that enforces property rights and contracts that also helps to ensure respect for individual rights ).
• facilitate exchanges between private individuals.
• enforce accountability of governors to the governed.
For Nigeria to succeed in drawing on the contributions of the judiciary to accelerating national development in the next four years, it would be necessary for the president to tackle the constraints to its independence and efficiency. Two obvious areas of interventions are: (i) basing all appointments to the Appeal Court and Supreme Court primarily on merit, competence and integrity, with consideration for “federal character” as a secondary consideration, and (ii) naming and shaming judges that are found to have abused their offices for private gains and ensuring their prompt removal.
Nigeria is widely cited in the development literature as an example of a country where institutionalised and systemic corruption has continuously undermined socio-economic development over several decades. Evidence of the incidence of corruption in the country is provided in Table 2.
Nigeria’s Score on the Corruption Perception Index (CPI) 1996-2008
Year CPI Score Nigeria’s CPI Ranking Remarks
1996 0.69 54/54 Most corrupt
1997 1.78 52/52 Most corrupt
1998 1.9 81/85 2nd most corrupt
1999 1.6 98/99 2nd most corrupt
2000 1.2 90/90 Most corrupt
2001 1.0 90/91 2nd most corrupt
2002 1.6 101/102 2nd most corrupt
2003 1.4 132/133 2nd most corrupt
2004 1.6 144/146 2nd most corrupt
2005 1.9 152/159 3rd most corrupt
2006 2.2 142/163 5th most corrupt
2007 2.2 147/180 9th most corrupt
2008 2.7 121/180 59th most corrupt
2009 2.5 130/180 50th most corrupt
2010 2.4 134/178 42nd most corrupt
Source: Author (based on data from the website of Transparency International).
“Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index (CPI) is the world’s most credible measure of domestic, public sector corruption” – Guardian.co.uk (accessed October 26th 2010).
Illustrations of almost every one of the consequences of corruption summarised in Box 1 below can be found in the country. In the circumstance, the anti-corruption agenda introduced by the Obasanjo administration in 1999 was a necessary response to tackling the problem of corruption. The two key institutions created to lead the fight against corruption - the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), created in 2000, and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), created in 2002 and strengthened in 2004 – made valiant efforts to lead the fight against corruption and by 2007, the EFCC in particular was widely regarded as having made some progress in helping to reduce corruption in the country (see the huge improvement in the CPI ranking of the country in 2008). Then, there was backsliding in the anti-corruption effort with the incumbent Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice involved in actions that many observers considered as undermining the anti-corruption agenda. Notwithstanding the additional contribution of the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) to the fight against corruption, the country’s CPI rankings in 2009 and 2010 were worse than in 2008.
Consequences of Corruption
A. Economic Growth: public spending and revenue collection
- Distorts the composition of government expenditure
- Reduces expenditure on operations and maintenance
- Lowers the quality of public infrastructure and services
- Reduces government revenues
- Lowers incentives to private investment
B. Other Consequences
- Undermines legitimacy and credibility of the state
- Influences outcomes of the legal and regulatory processes
- Violates the social and economic rights of the poor and the vulnerable
- Erodes the moral fabric of society
Source: Author (summarized from the literature on the subject).
To accelerate the reversal of the negative impact of the above consequences of corruption on socio-economic development in the country, the president can lead by example through the following actions: (i) declare and make public his assets and those of his wife within three months after his inauguration; (ii) mandate all ministers to do the same; and (iii) commission an immediate performance audit of the ICPC and the EFCC, to be followed by a revamping of the two institutions with a view to making them more transparent, efficient, and effective in leading the fight against corruption.
PART TWO: THREE TRANSFORMATION RESULT AREAS
1. Rehabilitating Education
The decline and decay in the country’s education sector at the inception of civilian rule in 1999 has sadly persisted. A bold effort was made in 2006/2007 to examine the root causes of the problem with particular reference to the secondary and tertiary education levels through some analytic work and modest consultations with stakeholders. Earlier on in July 2004, a Universities Autonomy Act was signed into law but before it was implemented the executive sent some amendments to the National Assembly which promptly put the matter on the back burner and the matter is yet to be finalized.
Given the strong evidence on the centrality of education for development at the levels of individuals, communities, sub-national groups, and entire nations, the persistent decline and decay in the sector needs to be reversed; this must not continue. President Jonathan might wish to champion the rehabilitation and transformation of the sector during the next four years. The following are some suggestions for his consideration – one relates to the entire sector while the three others are focused on universities because of my long involvement in this apex of the education sector.
(i) The rapid turnover at the level of both ministers and permanent secretaries in the ministry since 1999 (an average of about 15-18 months for each of these key leaders) is the opposite of what a rehabilitation effort requires. Certainly, no private sector organisation that seeks to rehabilitate parts of its business will rotate the responsible top leaders in that manner. In appointing the key top leaders of the ministry in the coming weeks, president Jonathan would send a signal of commitment to rehabilitating the sector if he were to enter into four-year performance contracts with two carefully selected leaders for the sector – contracts that would only be terminated for poor performance.
(ii) A participant observer of the Nigerian university system for several decades recently made the following cogent point: “If the government wants the Nigerian universities to make needed and desirable contribution to national sustainable development effort and to be globally competitive, priority must be given to the finalization of the autonomy bill”. And he quotes with approval the following observation made in the early 2000s by the World Bank: “Institutional autonomy is a critical success factor for any genuine effort aimed at transforming university education” (Adeniyi, 2011). I share Professor Adeniyi’s viewpoint. A University Act that is ready for implementation by the end of the president’s first 12 months would be an impactful rehabilitation measure.
(iii) There is abundant evidence that if the existing policy stance against levying fees in federal universities is maintained, together with the grossly inadequate budget allocations for recurrent, capital and research expenditures, efforts aimed at rehabilitating the universities are unlikely to gain traction. It is surprising that the country is yet to consider the desirability of adopting aspects of recent innovative approaches to financing universities in some African countries (for example East African countries) and overseas (for example, the United Kingdom). However, policy reform in this direction would need to be accompanied with an appropriate mix of scholarships, bursaries and loans that would ensure that no Nigerian who is qualified for university education is denied the opportunity because of his/her inability to pay prescribed fees.
(iv) The buffer role assigned to the National Universities Commission at its establishment in 1962 (that is, to function as a neutral body managing the relationship between the government and the universities) was transformed beyond recognition under military rule: the Commission became an over-powerful government parastatal with very extensive powers that were more consistent with the centralism and uniformity of military culture than with the autonomous mind-set of academic culture. Beyond what would pass as appropriate statutory and regulatory functions such as the administration of government subventions and grants to universities, quality assurance and accreditation of courses, and gathering and collation of quality data sets and statistics on all Nigerian universities the NUC is today involved in a wide range of activities for which it has no comparative advantage whatsoever. Examples include the following: project implementation for universities; organization of annual research fairs; and administration of a central research fund scheme; and annual rating of University Pro-Chancellors and Vice-Chancellors. There is strong evidence that its centralized and unified approach stifles experimentation and initiative at the level of individual universities. In my opinion, re-focusing the NUC (that is, a return to its initial buffer role) as soon as possible will enhance the autonomy of public universities and contribute to their rehabilitation (for more details, see Adamolekun, 2007)
I would like to end by stressing that just as the fish gets rotten from the head, it would be correct to assert that the rot in the Nigerian education sector is most severe at the apex. As soon as rehabilitation efforts at that level begin to yield positive results, they are very likely to cascade down to polytechnics, secondary schools and primary schools.
2. Fixing Poor Infrastructure
The trunk (federal) roads in the South West on which I have travelled frequently since late 2004 are worse today than they were in October/November 2004. Electricity supply is more epileptic in Lagos state and Ondo state today than was the case in late 2004. (Those are the two states where I spent most of my time during the period). According to newspaper reports, the experiences of Nigerians in other states of the federation in respect of these two key infrastructures – roads and electricity – are very similar to my own experiences. Yet, between1999 and December 2010, the huge budgetary allocations to roads and electricity are enough to provide better roads and more regular electricity supply across all the states of the federation. What really happened? The National Assembly’s effort to shed light on what happened in respect of electricity resulted in a report that is yet to be made public two or three years after its completion. The public has no information on why the budgetary allocations for roads have not been used to improve the condition of the roads.
Regarding electricity, Nigerians were informed throughout the 2000s that efforts aimed at improving both generation and distribution was frustrated by saboteurs. Who are these saboteurs? Are they the so-called business moguls who dominate the importation of generators and diesel? Are they in collusion with the senior officials in PHCN and in the supervisory federal ministry? Maybe. Within the first six months in 2010, Nigeria imported more than $100million worth of generators, the highest in Africa. Why have successive governments been unable to deal with these saboteurs? It appears that inability to deal with the saboteurs has spurred the recent request for external assistance.
External actors to the rescue? The external assistance to Nigeria in respect of electricity includes the following:
• The Nigeria Electricity and Gas Improvement Project (NEGIP) – on-going, financed by the World Bank.
• The Economic and Power Sector Reform Programme (EPSERP) – on-going, financed by the African Development Bank. (“The main goal of the programme is to support the Nigerian government in its effort to provide access to affordable and reliable electricity supply...
Until there is significant improvement in electricity supply, a wide range of economic activities, including activities based on information and communication technology (ICT) will continue to be at the mercy of generators
The government has also sought World Bank assistance to fix the problem of poor roads – a $300million loan facility. While this intervention would help achieve improvement in respect of some roads, the extensive road maintenance work that needs urgent attention can only be fixed through domestic efforts. The failure of the existing arrangement for road maintenance through the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA) is incontrovertible. I would propose that the challenge of fixing the bad roads in the country should be examined within the National Economic Council with a view to turning FERMA into an intergovernmental agency to assure a true federal/state partnership in this area.
3. Achieving the MDGs
Today, Nigeria is not among the countries in Sub-Saharan Africa that are commonly cited as likely to achieve the MDGs by 2015. (African countries considered likely to achieve the MDGs by 2015 include Cape Verde, Ethiopia, Ghana, and Malawi). However, the Country’s Countdown Strategy (CDS) outlines a roadmap to accelerate progress towards the achievement of the MDGs, even if all of them would not have been achieved by 2015 - the list of the eight (8) MDGs is provided as Appendix 1. Achieving the MDGs is considered a TRA because the government is formally committed to it, along with 200 or so other countries, at the level of the United Nations, and also because the goals are consistent with the development goals that are spelled out in Nigeria Vision 20-2020 (NV20-2020). Indeed, the MDGs have been folded into the implementation plans of NV20-2020. I would like to highlight three points in the CDS for the president’s immediate attention:
(i). The “Roadmap Matrix of Actions, Lead Responsibilities and Timeframe” provided in the CDS covers only 2010 and 2011 because it was considered sensible to leave room for any refinements and modifications that the new administration might decide to introduce. There is need to assign responsibility for the possible refinements and modifications to a task force without delay. The task force will produce a new roadmap matrix of actions, lead responsibilities and timeframe that would extend to 2015. It would make sense for this task to be completed by September 2011.
(ii). The CDS correctly stresses the need to allocate the resources for implementing the CDS (a significant proportion is from the gains of debt forgiveness) in a manner consistent with the constitutional roles and responsibilities of the three tiers of government. (This point is further underscored in Part Three below in the discussion of the intergovernmental dimension as one of the key implementation issues). The CDS also stresses the need for stronger partnerships with key stakeholders in the implementation of the MDGs.
(iii). The idea of a national partnership and fiscal compact for MDGs proposed in the CDS makes eminent sense but it needs further elaboration. Given the huge shortfall between the estimates of the Office of the MDGs of the costs of financing the MDGs between now and 2015 and the envisaged budgetary allocations, the fiscal compact recommended in the CDS appears to be a necessity. The elaboration of the proposal should include the preparation of an action plan. I would suggest that a task force be constituted without delay to undertake the elaboration of the proposal and prepare an action plan. It is likely that the government would be able to get one or two development partners to support this process, including the provision of experts from one or two countries that have established functional fiscal compacts.
PART THREE: IMPLEMENTATION ISSUES
1. Centrality of the Civil Service
There is strong evidence in the development literature on the crucial importance of the civil service’s role in a government’s ability to deliver services to its citizen’s in most countries world-wide. Perhaps the most notable example in Nigeria is the huge contributions made by the Western Nigeria Civil Service to the outstanding development performance of the regional government between the mid-1950s and early 1960s. Concrete results were recorded in the political, economic and social spheres including the most widely acclaimed achievement, the implementation of a universal primary education (UPE) programme. Significantly, each of the thirteen countries world-wide that recorded sustained high growth (7 percent and above) for 25 years or longer during the second half of the 20th Century is reputed to have a well-performing civil service. Botswana in Southern Africa and Singapore in South-East Asia are notable examples. (See, Commission on Growth and Development, 2008).
For the president to deliver concrete results in respect of the three Transformation Result Areas – rehabilitating education, fixing poor infrastructure, and achieving the MDGs – the weak implementation capacity of the federal civil service that successive administrations have complained about since 1999 must be tackled rapidly. In my opinion, the obvious starting point would be for the president to approve the immediate launching of the implementation of the National Strategy for Public Service Reform (NSPSR), crafted around four pillars, one of which is focused on Civil Service Administration Reform (CSAR). (The three other pillars are: an enabling institutional and governance environment; an enabling socio-economic environment; and public financial management reform). Strikingly, the public service vision articulated in the NSPSR is “a world-class public service delivering government policies and programmes with professionalism, excellence, and passion” (italics added).
The envisaged target results of the CSAR pillar are: (i) effective governance of the civil service as an institution; (ii) organizational efficiency and effectiveness; (iii) professional and results-oriented civil servants; (iv) ethical, and accountable workforce with a changed work culture; and (v) improved competence of civil servants. I would add that for the NSPSR (and especially the CSAR) to be successfully implemented, the handicap constituted by the frequent changes in the leadership of the federal civil service (four between 2007 and 2011) must stop; the HOCSF to succeed the incumbent before the end of the year should be a competent and dynamic permanent secretary who would be able to serve for at least four years. Specific measures that could help improve the performance of the civil service and other public service institutions in the immediate, short and medium terms are spelled out in the NSPSR.
2. Intergovernmental Dimensions
The provisions in the 1999 constitution relating to the functions covered by the TRAs – education, infrastructure and the MDGs – mandate the involvement of all three levels of government – federal, state and local – in delivering services in respect of different activities that are on the concurrent list (for the federal and state governments) or in the Fourth Schedule on the functions of local governments. Instead of cooperative and collaborative efforts among the three levels of government to ensure efficient and effective delivery of services in respect of the various development interventions, the citizens have experienced poor to mediocre service delivery because of unproductive acrimony and competition among the levels of government. The negative consequences include continued decline and decay in the education sector, poor infrastructure (especially roads and electricity) and slow progress towards the achievement of the MDGs.
I would argue that four main factors are responsible for the poor management of intergovernmental relations in the delivery of services to the public in the Nigerian federal system. First, there are the strong centralized and unitary features carried over from the military era and transplanted into the 1999 constitution. Two notable examples are (i) the role of the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) in the determination of remuneration of public officials and (ii) the listing of local government areas in the constitution which makes the determination of the number of local governments required for effective service delivery within a state a matter for constitutional amendment – a provision that is unknown in any other federal system in the world. The second factor is the lack of respect for the assignment of functions provided in the constitution: the federal government hijacks some functions assigned to states while the states, in turn, hijack some of the functions assigned to local governments. Unfortunately, in most cases, hijacked functions are either poorly implemented or not implemented at all.
The third factor that is closely linked to the second is the unfair and inequitable revenue allocation formula that is more or less a carry-over of the arbitrary formula inherited from the military which is skewed in favour of the federal government. In other words, a revenue allocation formula that was consistent with the centralized management of economic and social policies under the military is still being used to share revenues under a civilian federal system for which the constitution prescribes decentralized management of socio-economic policies. Without going into the details of the controversies on this subject, I would like to suggest that a review of the revenue sharing formula in a manner consistent with the assignment of functions in the 1999 constitution should be concluded within the first six months of the new administration’s tenure. In addition, delivery of services in each of the three TRAs through partnership arrangements among levels of government (federal/state, state/local and federal/state/local) should be expanded from the current low to modest levels.
Finally, there is the human factor. Most observers of post-1999 developments in Nigeria are likely to agree with the assertion that the military mind-set of president Obasanjo meant that he was very comfortable with the centralized and unitary features of the federal system he inherited as the first civilian president (1999-2007). Indeed, some of the federal government’s actions under his watch that were tainted with centralised management were not conducive to efficient and effective delivery of services to citizens. A notable example is the reluctance of several state governments to access the matching grants provided through the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) because of the centralized manner in which it is administered. While president Yar’Adua demonstrated respect for decentralized management of socio-economic programmes in our federal system when he cancelled the multi-billion contract awarded unilaterally at the centre for health facilities in the 774 local governments (without consultation with the state and local governments), he still followed the bad example of his predecessor in harassing the Lagos state government regarding the latter’s internal arrangement for delivering services to citizens through Local Development Areas. I would like to make the point that consistent respect for decentralised management of socio-economic development programmes by the in-coming Jonathan administration will help contribute to better service delivery for citizens.
3. Role of Non-State Actors
The role of non-state actors (NSAs) – private sector, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) , civil society organisations (CSOs), youth groups, and community-based organisations in varying combinations - in implementing government development policies has assumed increased salience in both developed and developing countries during the last few decades. In particular, many countries (including Nigeria) have committed to implementing a significant number of development projects and programmes through public-private-partnerships (PPPs), notably in infrastructure and in the social sector. Most often, the aim of governments is to attract finance and technical/management expertise and share risks. Notwithstanding the setback to PPPs during the recent financial crisis (2008-2009) with the battered private sector unable to deliver in respect of prior commitments (for example, in the UK and USA), governments in many countries across continents continue to embrace PPPs as desirable instruments for implementing development programmes. For example, the coalition government that came to power in early 2010 in the UK is pushing PPPs in various areas (including education, health, and tax collection) under its so-called “Big Society” policy. The emphasis is on the involvement of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), employee cooperatives, social enterprises and voluntary sector organisations in the service areas already mentioned.
In the Nigerian case, NSAs’ involvement in the delivery of services in partnership with governments is still on a small scale with the exception of the oil and gas industry where the joint ventures of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the oil majors (including Shell, Chevron and Total) that could pass as PPPs would qualify as being on a big scale. A good illustration of the involvement of NSAs in service delivery on a small scale is the use by MDGs’ Office of NGOs and CSOs in some of its projects and programmes, notably through the Conditional Grant Scheme (CGS). However, the most ambitious initiative to date is the plan to rely on PPPs as part of the solution for the country’s infrastructure deficit. Although an implementation framework has been adopted with specific reference to tackling the country’s infrastructure deficit through PPPs – the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) established in 2008 - most of the projects and concessions approved to date (notably road and sea/airport concessions) are still largely on the drawing board. However, evidence that the federal government is committed to getting results through PPPs is provided by the USD 34.3 million loan it obtained in March 2011 from the African Development Bank (AfDB) to finance capacity building for Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) in infrastructure sectors, particularly in power and transport .
Given the huge expectations from PPPs in achieving the development goals in the Nigeria’s Vision 20-2020 (NV20-20) – a significant proportion of investments during the first phase of implementing the Vision is expected to be financed through PPPs – ICRC would need to move rapidly to ensure that its activities begin to yield concrete results. (It is noteworthy that Kenya, too, expects that about 80 percent of its projects will be financed through PPPs by 2030). For the in-coming administration to use NSAs (especially the PPP approach) more effectively in the short- to medium-term, it will need to fast-track the implementation of AfDB-supported project for building capacity for PPPs. The administration will also need to commit to creating an enabling environment for PPPs, beginning with full respect of the contractual terms of the existing PPS, accompanied by strong arrangements for the monitoring and evaluation of PPP operations.
4. Critical Importance of Monitoring and Evaluation
NV20-2020 correctly assigns great importance to the role of monitoring and evaluation in ensuring successful implementation of the projects and programmes in the vision document, especially during the 2011-2015 period. This aspect of the vision document is arguably more robust than the articulation of M&E in the vision documents of several other African countries with which I am familiar (for example, Botswana’s Vision 2016, Kenya’s Vision 2030, Rwanda’s Vision 2020, Senegal’s Vision 2015, and Uganda’s Vision 2025). But it is doubtful if the elaborate legal framework proposed for the M&E process in the vision document will add much value to its effectiveness. On the contrary, it is almost certain to delay its introduction and implementation, given the long delays that have characterised law-making in the National Assembly from 1999 to date.
Indeed, it would be more productive for the Jonathan administration to pilot the use of the M&E process articulated in the vision document in respect of the development projects and programmes to be implemented in the three TRAs (education, infrastructure and MDGs). Regarding the MDGs, this would involve upgrading the existing M&E in use since 2007/2008 in the context of the CGS - the ‘Overview of Public Expenditure on NEEDS’ (OPEN) Monitoring and Evaluation (OPEN-M&E) . There is strong evidence in the development literature that a robust M&E contributes significantly to efficient and effective implementation of development projects and programmes.
By 2015, would the scorecard of President Jonathan have earned him the title of a transformational leader? An engaged scholar is not a prophet (of Joshua’s hue or in step with any of the other numerous self-proclaimed prophets) and I will, therefore, not attempt to answer this question. However, I would expect the criteria for determining the president’s scorecard in 2015 to include elements relating to the five fundamentals and Transformation Result Areas identified and discussed in this Lecture.
Regarding the Fundamentals: Of the five fundamentals highlighted, assessment of the president’s performance is likely to focus mostly on three: electoral legitimacy, peace and security, and anti-corruption. The ten governorship elections that will be due before the 2015 election cycle will provide evidence on whether or not a free, fair and credible election has become the norm in the country. On peace and security, the obvious yardstick would be whether there has been a decrease or an increase in the incidence of conflicts, riots and violence across the states in the federation. Finally, Nigeria’s CPI ranking for 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014 will be used to assess whether corruption increased or was reduced under his watch.
Assessing progress in respect of Transformation Result Areas: Assessment of performance in respect of the TRAs will be relatively straightforward: is there an appreciable progress in the rehabilitation of the education sector (for example, how many Nigerian universities would have moved up significantly in their international ranking in 2014 compared to where they were in 2010)? What would be the extent of reduction in the national electricity generation deficit (comparing mid-2015 with mid-2011)? And in mid-2015, what proportion of trunk A roads would be in good condition compared to the situation in mid-2011? Finally, what would be Nigeria’s scorecard regarding the achievement of the MDGs in mid-2015 compared to the scorecard in mid-2011?
I would add that the extent to which the president is able to rapidly enhance implementation capacity through progress regarding the four implementation issues discussed in the Lecture - civil service administration reform, intergovernmental dimensions, role of non-state actors, and monitoring and evaluation – will impact on his achievements regarding the three TRAs. In other words, the three parts of the transformation agenda proposed in this Lecture are intricately linked because what happens or fail to happen concerning the fundamentals will affect progress in respect of both the TRAs and the implementation issues.
Let us all hope that the president’s scorecard in 2015 would deservedly earn him the title of a transformational leader.
I thank you all for your attention
APPENDIX 1: THE EIGHT MILLENNIUM DEVELOPMENT GOALS
1. Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger - Halve the proportion of people whose income is less than US$ 1 a day by 2015
- Half the proportion of people who suffer from hunger by 2015
2. Attain universal primary education in all countries by 2015 Ensure children of both sexes everywhere will be able to complete a full course of primary schooling
3. Promote gender equality and empower women Eliminate gender disparity in primary and secondary education, and at all levels of education no later than 2015
4. Reduce child mortality Reduce by two-thirds the under-five mortality rate by 2015
5. Improve maternal health Reduce by three-quarters the maternal mortality ratio by 2015
6. Combat HIV/AIDS and other diseases - Halt by 2015, and begin to reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS
- Halt by 2015, and begin to reverse the incidence of malaria and other major diseases
7. Ensure Environmental Sustainability - Integrate the principles of sustainable development into country policies and programmes and reverse the loss of environmental resources.
- Halve by 2015 the proportion of people without access to safe drinking water
- Achieve a significant improvement in the lives of at least 1000 million slum-dwellers by 2020
8. Develop a global partnership for development - Deal comprehensively with the debt problem of developing countries
- In cooperation with developing countries, develop and implement strategies for decent and productive work for youth
- In cooperation with the private sector, make available the benefits of new technologies, especially information and communication.
Adamolekun, Ladipo. 2007. Challenges of university governance in Nigeria: reflections of an old fogey. First Convocation Lecture delivered at Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba, Ondo State.
__________. 2008: The governors and the governed. Towards improved accountability for achieving good development performance. Ibadan: Spectrum Books (NNMA Award Winners’ Lecture).
Adeniyi, Peter. 2011. “Nigerian Universities and National Development: Time for Drastic Corrective Reform” in Ladipo Adamolekun (ed.), Ideas for Development. Proceedings of Iju Public Affairs Forum Series, 2006-2009. Ibadan: Caligata Publishing Company Ltd.
Commission on Growth and Development. 2008. The Growth Report. Strategies for sustained growth and inclusive development. Washington, DC: The World Bank.
Hayek, Friedrich. 1944. The road to serfdom. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Nigeria’s Countdown Strategy. 2010. @ www.mdgs.gov.ng.
Elsewhere, I have defined a country’s “development performance” as a country’s progress in growing its economy, reducing poverty, and moving towards prosperity for all its citizens. See Ladipo Adamolekun,
The success recorded by Lagos State government since the late 2000s in the field of security that is largely due to a law which permitted raising funds from the private sector to improve security cannot be replicated country-wide because the concentration of private enterprise operators in Lagos (over 60 percent of the national total) cannot be replicated in the other states.
On policy reversals during the first twelve months of the Yar’Adua administration, see Ladipo Adamolekun, “Policy reversals and policymaking” in Vanguard (Lagos), August 15th 2007 and January16th 2008.
See Mancur Olson. 1993. “Dictatorship, democracy, and development,” in American Political Science Review, 87, 3, 567-576
According to one account, “the EFCC secured over 120 convictions, including that of a former IG [Inspector General of Police] and a former state governor. The agency has helped to recover over $5billion in four years …” – see, Azubuike Ishiekwene, The Trial of Nuhu Ribadu. Ibadan: Spectrum Books, (2008), p. 110.
I would like to make the point that the implicit acceptance of the adequacy of the Count Down Strategy is influenced by my direct involvement in its preparation.
See, “National Strategy for Public Service Reform” (in Two Volumes), available at the Bureau for Public Service Reform, Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation.
The proceeds of the loan are to be used for: (a) providing general awareness on PPP projects to all Nigerian states, including civil society, private sector, NGOs, media and MDAs at federal level; (b) providing training on the fundamentals of PPP; and (c) providing specialized capacity building support to selected states and MDAs on transactions and related issues.
OPEN - M&E is “a results-based monitoring (RBM) strategy anchored on good planning, good budgeting and effective feedback”.