Peeping into BAT’s Agenda

by Sam Kargbo

In celebration of the 57th anniversary of Nigeria’s Independence, I wrote an article titled “Post-Independence Nigeria – A Panoramic View”, published in the October 4, 2017 issue of Daily Independent newspaper. I noted in that article how the bureaucratic entities of the state constituted a hindrance to nation-building and national growth and development. Besides their poor service delivery, these civil and public service entities have been the engines of corruption with which public bureaucrats, public office holders and their collaborators in the civil population have been siphoning resources off the country.

The good news is that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s zestful will to succeed will sooner or later force him to focus on service delivery and bureaucratic performance. His track record points to the fact that he is aware that the articles of faith that are capable of creating a symbiotic bond between his administration and the citizenry are not in the verbalized policies and intentions of the Government but in the interactions between the citizens and the government bureaucracies. He knows that he can only build public trust and enhance the legitimacy of his administration through high-end service delivery and effective people-oriented and ethical bureaucracy. President Bola Ahmed Tinubu (BAT) cannot actualize his ideals without his works and deeds engendering positive mass social and political behaviour.

Sadly, it is over-obvious that the feudal patronage system upon which public bureaucracies are structured and composed has robbed them of the capacity to deliver or support growth and development. It is less disputable to say that the bane of this country’s governance system is its bureaucracies, which personify everything evil and condemnable about Government. Instead of being handmaids of progress, they are the antagonists of sustained and meaningful development. Indeed, there is hardly any public sector today that does not harbour an end-SARS revulsion against public bureaucracies.

The dissolution of Boards across the board has provided BAT with a window of opportunity to tackle the rot in public bureaucracies. The chance is here for him to recompose and reconstitute them with competent and professional hands. If he gets it right in the composition of the boards, he is more likely to convert them into engines of growth and development. Besides setting targets and assigning timelines to those targets, he must make them operate with coherence and not allow them to function in silos. It is necessary to link public bureaucracies to the ideals of governance and nation-building. No part of the reigns of governance requires merit and competence like the public bureaucracies. Public service should not be a place for dolts.

With his corporate background and nearly three decades in state craftsmanship, BAT does not need a Max Weber or blocks of advice on the essentiality of esteem, ethics, professionalism, impersonalization and less politicization of bureaucratic authority. Public bureaucracies should be better staffed, better run, better managed and better operated than private commercial entities. Thankfully, BAT came into office with an impressive record of trail-blazing spurs and enduring values of positive intentions. He is a go-getter well-known for his goal-setting and success-driven mentality. With his habitual courage and never-fading faith in his ability to succeed in the worst of climates, BAT will not suppress the political will to professionalize and change the mindset of the nation’s public bureaucracies. He knows that he cannot entice or persuade the private sector to partner with him in the development and enhancement of critical sectors like energy and power, education, agriculture, health, transportation and infrastructure in general without competent and effective bureaucracies that can facilitate such public-private intercourse.

I can guess that BAT is still recovering from the disappointment and frustration of the treacheries he experienced from some ambitious political protégés and associates and the cabal within his political party that never wanted him to succeed Muhammadu Buhari. He fought as many battles from within the APC as those against his rivals in the opposition parties. Not many human beings could survive the lethal, injurious and destructive pushbacks that he surmounted to win the ticket of the All Progressives Congress (APC). Be that as it may, what I consider the most brutal attack on his will to victory was the rejection of many of the graduate and undergraduate youths who were weaponized against him by propagandists who painted him as the Satan of Nigeria’s politics. The propagandists succeeded in unleashing a well-coordinated psychological warfare against him. There was hardly anything that was not exploited by the propagandists to dent his moral standing, personality and character, all to lessen his capacity to connect with the youth. He was, in a word, effectively deprived of the support of a sizeable number of school-going and graduate youths. As a father and a person with a known developmental mind, the failure to get a good outing with the youths must have hurt him deeply.

One factor that highlights Nigeria’s socio-economic potential is its energetic and talented youthful population. For BAT to fulfil his promise to turn around the economic fortunes of this country, his romance with the youths must go beyond courtship. The Youths do not hate him. What they hate is their present unemployment and lack of policies that address the waste of their potential. They have been pushed to the wall by a poor and insensitive system.

For BAT to win the mind war or win over the youths to his administration and vision for Nigeria, he must declare a state of emergency on education. Education must be prioritized and adequately funded, including an appropriate review of the salaries, perquisites and conditions of service for teachers. Teaching must recover its pride of place to attract first-class graduates and research-oriented individuates with terminal degrees. Overseas education for children and wards must be a last resort and not a first choice for parents and guardians. Efforts should not be spared in ensuring that Nigerian tertiary institutions get listings among the first 100 universities in the world as it was in the sixties and seventies.

As an immediate response to the alarming unemployment rate, the teeming population of unemployed graduates can be absorbed in the police, military, paramilitary and agriculture sectors and other sectors that are capable of expanding the economy. It is a callous waste of human capital to leave these huge populations to themselves. BAT must, in a word, be a driver of the creative competencies and energy of the youth.

The job is, therefore, cut out for BAT to win the hearts and minds of this most critical demography. The good news is that he is rooted in the best tradition of the mind war. He is not a petty and vindictive politician. He is a painstaking and deliberate politician who will use the auspices of his office to win over his antagonists with developmental and people-oriented policies and pan-Nigerian nationalistic disposition. He not only has incredible political credentials, but he also has a beautiful mind that stands him out. He must reach the youths in their homes and needs and win them over because building a new Nigeria is dependent on the youths.

For emphasis, BAT should prioritize the youth and everything concerning the youth. Even though education must be adequately funded, education alone cannot create the connection and contact that BAT needs with the youth of Nigeria. There is a teeming population of unemployed graduates who presently form a huge chunk of the informal sector of the economy of the country. Through their music, dance, writing, art and innovative ideas, they have strategically launched and positioned the country on the global stages of entertainment, fashion, business, and entrepreneurial activity as a big player. True, while many of them without employment can be absorbed in the police, army and agriculture sectors, BAT must tap into the development of the creative potentials of these young Nigerians to expand the Nigerian economy.

In conclusion, I know that BAT will not disappoint me by allowing his antagonists to continue to prey on these young and vulnerable citizens and exploit their vulnerabilities. The youth of this nation will have a fine day with BAT and together, the long-expected national revolution is on the way.

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1 comment

Nasu G koroma July 4, 2023 - 8:51 am

I agree to most of your points, from my perspective all African leaders can not cover all areas of there responsibilities of leadership to the people. There should be constructive leaders to prioritise things like education, poor people and the economic development of the country and other important things that should be in place.


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