Policy Summersault and the Question of Sustainability!

by Rev. Uche Dr. Obodoechina

Nigeria is an enigma of a nation. One cannot fathom it all. There are so many sides to the issues affecting Nigeria. Everybody seem to have an idea of the solutions. Only those who have the power to turn things around seem to be in confusion. Otherwise, every average Nigerian has an idea of what to do in order to make the situation better. But the question has always been, why has the situation continued to deteriorate despite the volume of wisdom people possess. Why has good governance continued to elude us? Why has the well ordering of Nigerian society in justice and peace remained a mirage? Maybe because those at the corridors of power are disorientated and unable to chart the course of good governance.

Otherwise how can one understand the rampant summersault in government administrative frameworks and procedures often resulting in complicated backward and forward movements; without effecting any positive change in the life of the people? Nigerian system is notorious in changing policies with every new government. And thus, the question of sustainability becomes an urgent one. We do not think of sustaining any programme or policy of government. People at the corridors of power are interested in building new foundations without thinkering on their sustainability.

It is about continuity in government policy and practice. This is the meaning of sustainability in governance. It is about building on the good foundations laid by the former governments. In other words, a new government must not uproot all the good programmes and activities of a government in power before itself. It is bad politics to see nothing good in the actions and programmes of an erstwhile government. What is needed is to identify the good polices and translate these into concrete actions that are beneficial to the people.

Otherwise, we shall be forever knocking down and building again, yet making no visible progress. Unfortunately, the resources expended for these form of political recklessness does not belong to the government but to the people. And what a great loss! But if the well-being of the people has been the concern of the former government, the current government can as well build on the foundations already put in place. This is political maturity. Otherwise, any new government will forever begin afresh, with new policies and new ideas. However, this level of political maturity has not yet been attained by our duty bearers at the corridors of state power.

Lamenting on this ugly scenario Sunday Saanu, in a letter to the Editor, of This Day Newspaper of Sunday 19th February 2017, vol.22 No.7976 p15. opined inter alia "In consonance with the social metaphor in which 'new lords bring about new laws', some of these newly appointed players unwittingly draw the nation back by the manner with which they arrogantly cancel time-tested policies and introduce fresh ones. They abandon on-going projects, initiated by their predecessors and originate new ones which they may not even be able to complete before the expiration of their tenure". A case in point is in the education sector where the current Minister of Education Mallam Adamu Adamu announced the cancellation of Post-Unified Matriculation Examination (UTME) as a quality assurance mechanism, that has run for 13 good years with appreciable good results. What a perfidy?

It is not only in the Ministry of Education; it is found in every sector of our private and public life, namely the unwholesome attitude towards goods done by others. In fact, the inability to recognize the good done by others is a cankerworm in our body polity. One politician after the other has always the feelings, correctly or wrongly too, to possess the wisdom to do better than the predecessors. Most times, this does not work. And the inability to recognize our own deficiencies constitute the bane of our development. One can naturally imprint one’s one footprints on the sands of history, but not on the ruins of others. And posterity knows the difference!

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