The change Nigerians envisaged, by Okwe Ogah


The last general elections were fought on the line of change and transformation mantra. Eventually, the Change mantra carried the day. We can conveniently say therefore that we craved for change, we yearned for change, we aspired and strived for change, we went for change and we got the platform to effect a change.

The mandate we have with the voice of change right now is nothing but a mere opportunity. And like all opportunities, it can be missed, mismanaged and wasted or it can actually be ceased upon and translated to great benefit of all parties for whom it (the opportunity) surfaces for

From May 29, few days from now, a new set of leaders will mount the podium to pilot the affairs of the nation. These men and women have the opportunity because they promised us change. What nature or type of change it will be, we were not told.

Therefore, we have the responsibility to define and prescribe the type of change, the drivers of change and the scope of change that we envisaged when we voted for it on March 28.

Like some of us maintained during the electioneering, the change we look forward to is more than mere event. It is a process that is on-going. This process includes the way we think/reason, the way we do/act, the way we perceive/look at governance, leadership vis-a-viz follower-ship, etc.

Towards the end of last century, there were several predictions/permutations as to what will be the hallmark and strength of this 21st century. One of the men was Charles Handy, An Irish author/philosopher who specialises in organisational behaviour and management.

He tagged this century as an era that is for the men of unreason. That is, “an era when change is constant, random, and, as discontinuous. An era where it be necessary to break out of old ways of thinking in order to use change to the advantage of humanity.

These views which he enunciated in a book titled “The Age of Unreason, Examines how dramatic changes are transforming business, education, and the nature of work; how astounding new developments in technology, shift in demand from manual to cerebral skills, and in the virtual disappearance of lifelong, full-time jobs.

Just as Handy maintains that “”discontinuous change requires discontinuous, upside-down thinking, and discusses the need for new kind of organizations, new approaches to work, new types of schools, and new ideas about the nature of our society”, We are expecting a total change in all ramifications and from all stakeholders involved in the building of this nation – Nigeria in the new phase of the democratic experiment that we are about entering into.

The stakeholders include the politicians in both the executive and legislative arms of Government at the different tiers and the pseudo – politicians in the judiciary, the civil servants, the businessmen who transact business with the government, the organised private sector, opinion leaders in both the religious and cultural setting, and the followers that cut across the different strata of the society.

The politicians, the civil servants, and policy makers have to think outside the box in terms of funds generation and management. Governments at all levels of governance should plan their spending on zero basis allocation from the oil and gas sector. They should operate from the perspective that all the oil wells in the Niger-Delta has dried up

This thinking will force a critical and radical thinking and focus on the current existing but neglected and abandoned revenue sources as well as evolving new ones. Like for instance, I don’t know why about 60% of the Government agencies and institutions cannot generate and contribute to the national coffers.

Above everything else, those at the helm of affairs must ensure prudence, accountability and frugality in the deployment and application of the dwindling resources. Gone should be the days when appointment and mandate given to people to serve is seeing as a ticket to looting and despoliation as well as raping of the commonwealth

The state Governments must think of how best they can govern their state with internally generated revenue unlike now that they depend solely on the allocation from the Central purse superintend by the Federal Government. Focusing on agriculture, mineral deposits and the organic tourism destinations and non-organic tourism elements like culture and the entertainment industry will come in handy.

There is need for moral rebirth by the stakeholders especially as it relates to matters of ethic, integrity, character, honesty, principles, etc. Here, the religious and traditional rulers have a vital role to play. We must go back to the basics. Tradition and culture may change but value, honesty and truths which are vital ingredients of godliness has never and will never change. Incidentally, it t is only those who stick to them that makes enduring progress and remarkable impact.

The followers on their part must be ready to perform the watch men role through necessary investment of time in questioning, scrutinizing and examining every word and action of the leaders. Gone should be the days when they surrender themselves to helplessness of those they elect to serve them.

The current critical attention being given to the scrutiny of every word and action of the incoming government though appeared premature, should be encouraged and never relented. Let the search light be beamed on all activities and actions of all the elected representatives including political appointees and any man/woman in position of authority.

The incoming government has no option but to deliver on their promises as no excuse will suffice. The political parties as well as apolitical supporters in the last election have a fundamental duty and responsibility to ensure that their principals do not fail. They should be the touch bearers in this constant scrutiny of the government’s performance.

The incoming elected representatives at all levels will do well to remember that the PVC which ensured their emergence has no expiry date and so is waiting to ensure their exit as well should they fail to make the form, nature, content, future course, etc., of governance different from what it is at the moment.

All of them have 4 years and not 8 years to do what is needful – that is, transforming the huge expectation, hope and aspiration of the people into reality. The structural deficiency of the federation, the tradition that has turned the nation into mono-economy from the economic diversity of the pre – oil and gas discovery, the era of impunity, lawlessness and brinkmanship that has no regard for accountability, etc. must give way. If they perform and deliver on their promises, 4 more years will just roll to their laps.

General Muhamadu Buhari and Prof Osibajo have a great opportunity to write theirs name in the Hall of Fame or Hall of Infamy. Which will it be?

Okwe Ogah is a public affairs analyst and writes from Lagos


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