By Henry Uche
Of all the problems fiercely rocking the ship of Nigeria currently, leadership deficit across the three levels of governance, discordant tunes in the body polity and dearth of sound macro- economic plan seems to take the front seat among other challenges besetting the country.
This was the view of some concerned Nigerians from different sectors who gathered recently in Lagos at a one-day Dialogue – A Corporate Cluster Consultation and discussed issues tearing Nigeria apart. The participants believe that Nigerians indeed are suffering of resource curse which was a result of lack of productive ideas from the political leaders.
Put together by an advocacy group- Rebuild Nigeria Initiative (RNI), the session which sought for peace, stability, and economic growth came up with a communique after a marathon brainstorming sessions, designed to bring succor to Nigerians having experienced almost eight years of pains due to maladministration, mismanagement of public resources and misplaced priorities.
From the communique, participants maintained that four (4) pillars were critical for the development of Nigeria’s economy, which are: Facilitation of National peace dialogue in the Interest of Nigeria; fostering a national restructure and reconciliation; defining and promoting acceptable standards in leadership and advocacy for good governance and accountability across board.
According to them, they queried if the current structure (politically and otherwise) of Nigeria was/is in favour of Nigerians and foreign investors. They also asked what would a well restructured Nigeria look like for businesses and who are/is responsible to make it happen?
The communique reads in part, “Globally, companies are embracing justice, diversity and equity (JDE) to create a more innovative, positive environment, improve brand recognition and increase profitability. Should corporate Nigeria systematically employ JDE and other kinds of policies and standards to create a more favorable work culture to foster National reconciliation and unity?
“What are the major deficiencies in public sector leadership that impact Corporate Nigeria? What standards in leadership should Nigeria have? What three things can Nigeria do to build or reinforce this leadership standards and how can they monitor progress for desired results?
The document further sought to find out sustainable solutions needed to mitigate bribery and corruption and other sharp practices ravaging Nigeria across board.
It also observed that lack of political will and poor leadership across board was a major problem, adding that ineffective leadership has resulted in poor implementation of policies, mismanagement of resources and failure to exercise responsibility and apply sanctions accordingly.
“There is the need for peace, unity and stability for businesses to thrive. Consistent planning and implementation for economic growth and accountability are paramount.
“Inadequate social infrastructure (power, health care, education etc) is has been a bane to Nigeria’s progress. There is a need for regionalization and decentralization of certain functions, responsibilities and authorities to foster national restructure and reconciliation. Another major issue of concern is trust deficit especially among public officials as well as lack of quality education and mentorship,”
As a way forward, they agreed that corporate Nigeria should have a culture of reporting deficiencies, failures, and anomalies in the regulatory system through the media and other communication channels to ensure proper implementation of policies. More so, Corporate Nigeria needs to ensure there is unity and discourage ethnic and cultural and religious sentiments which has done more harm to Nigeria’s corporate existence.
“Measures to enforce checks and balances to promote accountability must be put in place. We need to raise the educational entry level and standards for Nigerians who are interested in politics at any level of governance. Technology must be a top priority and investment must be made to lift Nigeria out of economic regression. Policies and programs that would attract foreign investors are needed.
“Apart from teaching, mentorship is needed to provide life lessons from experienced thought leaders. Leadership by example and participation in governance at the grass root should be encouraged,” it added.