Engineers Advise Buhari to Believe in Capacity of Nigerians


Bennett Oghifo

The Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) has advised President Muhammadu Buhari to believe in the capacity of Nigerians in his quest to grow the nation’s economy.

The nation’s engineers stated this in their presentation ‘NSE Prescription For Prosperity And Progress’, stating that President Buhari “has to believe in, and tap into the capacity of Nigerians and Nigeria for rebirth and renewal as already witnessed in the entertainment,

communications, banking and other industries.
“The Nigerian Society of Engineers recognizes that the task facing the nation at this critical period beset with economic decline revolves around the following leadership responsibilities: Creating an inspiring and consistent vision; Re-assessing governments’ and nation’s core missions in the light of Mr. President’s clear picture of the future; Selecting, recruiting, retaining, using and developing appointees and employees; Managing change within the state house, the public service; and providing enabling development for change in the private sector and preparing for global change; Leveraging technology to improve public sector operations and delivery of services therefrom to citizens; and using local talents, local technologies, and local goods and services as inputs to infrastructural and economic development projects.”

President as Executive-in-Chief…
The engineers said, “Nigerian citizens, public and media appreciate and glorify the glamour attendant upon the President’s role as “Commander-in-Chief” (fondly called C-in-C). On the other hand, Mr. President’s role as “Executive-in-Chief” attracts very little attention, whereas it is performance in this latter role that can make or mar the polity/economy environment.”

The challenge ahead…
In the opinion of Nigerian Engineers, “Mr. President has to recognize that the next two and half years have to be a revolutionary period in government and also businesses.
“He has to believe in, and tap into the capacity of Nigerians and Nigeria for rebirth and renewal as already witnessed in the entertainment, communications, banking and other industries.
“Clearly the time is ripe or even overdue for similar revolution in the government/public sector.”

They said presently, the Nigerian citizenry has become alert enough to expect high quality service from government, business, and non-profit sectors. “Nigerian engineers thus sense the President has to adopt strategies that would ensure that, from the now in performing government responsibilities, both the public servant working in government agencies and the agency as a whole must perform optimally, and to the satisfaction of the citizenry.
“The key word here is PERFORM, since elected public servants are expected to perform not to learn.”

The president’s vision & philosophy…
They said due to accelerated rate of change in all sectors, Mr. President must now define a dynamic vision to inspire and mobilize the public and private sector, and usher in an organizational change process that will rapidly see Nigeria renounce and discard its old self as a consumer, and become a new entity that produces what it needs and consumes. He should very soon provide a clear picture of all the sectors in the next two and half years, and in the distant future, and not just a few sectors.

“It is noteworthy that the first Republic, even up to the second Republic, pursued the development of all the sectors, leaving the legacy of the stock of infrastructural, agricultural, industrial and social properties we now have as a country.

“The philosophy that should inform our lifestyle is that we must produce for our needs and wants or continue to be economically enslaved. Our motto must be if we must use it, we must make it here. This implies that production must form the core of Nigeria’s economic policy.”

Re-assessing government’s and nation’s core missions…
As the leader of the Nigerian organization, they said “Mr. President should personally lead the assessment of Nigeria’s mission, to determine if we as a nation are in the right businesses, what the accumulated or missed missions and the extent of house cleaning to be done.
“The President is advised to carefully and professionally determine the right changes and the right ways to go about them. Once these are settled he must courageously go for the bold broad initiatives that are guaranteed to move the government and the country forward sustainably.”

Selecting appointees and employees…
Engineers are of the view that the success of Mr. President in his role as Executive-in-Chief would hinge on his success in attracting and selecting talent for both political appointees and employees in public service, they said.

“Thus it is expected that the President will be personally involved in the interviewing process, and not abdicate this responsibility to state governors and political party chieftains. Such persons are nominated for specific ministerial portfolios, and if a nominee is screened for a particular ministry and is deemed competent for that position, he (or she) is appointed to go and perform. If such a person fails, he is dropped as there is no room for cabinet reshuffle in the Presidential systems.”

The Engineers noted that “politicians have enough latitude to be-stride the landscape like Colossus, having in the National Assembly 469 positions, over 700 seats in State Assemblies, and over 7000 places in local government councils. Ministerial positions are competence-based and sensitive to performance.

“For the sake of performance, and quality executive service to the citizenry, Nigerian Engineers on behalf of Nigerian professionals demand that the President constitutes his cabinet with 60% technocrats, and 40% politicians. In making this demand, Engineers strongly recommend to Mr. President to depoliticize the selection process and demystify the senate screening exercise by attaching portfolios to those nominated for ministerial appointments.
“For engineering-based Ministries the President is advised to appoint Engineers as Ministers, or Ministers of State to lead them.”