An interview with Ejikeme Alozie-Nwagboso. E.J is a proponent of youth’ participation in governance. He was also a 2015 House of Representatives contestant. He tweets via @enwagboso
E.J presents his thoughts on the leadership style of the current administration and the way forward. Sir, thank you for joining us. Pleasure is mine sirs. Thank you for the opportunity.
What Leadership skills do you think are lacking in this current government?
Please, let me make this point clear. In today’s world, government leaders must have the skills to survive in the world of uncertainty that we face on a daily basis. And, they must perform under constant pressure from close range criticisms. On top the list must be compassion and sensitivity. That said, to answer your question: We are lacking in Participative government Leadership skill. What I mean is this – The inability to involve most stakeholders at all levels in the governance of the country. For instance: The appointment of Universities’ Vice Chancellors not too long ago. Most of the Educational bodies condemned this action. This is because they weren’t consulted in the decision making process. They would have been in a better position to guide the government. Such things sound little, but it helps greatly in the smooth operations of governance. The people of the country do not get communicated efficiently to as to the workings of the administration. This breeds uneasiness and frustration amongst the citizens especially in the midst of the current economic stagnation. Understanding which competencies matter in whichever area we are in in government helps to develop the needed capacities for effective governance. There should be friendly communications between stakeholders in governance. This encourages stronger motivation and discipline. Bear in mind, the greatest of the stakeholders is the populace. We have to start leading Change, not mere rhetoric and this requires confidence and commitment.
Is it better to be persistent in the face of failure or give up and try again?
This is an important question. On a personal note, I do not quit. I am sure most people do not like quitters either. But, in a government leadership context, one must understand when to quit a certain cause of action and recalibrate. This in my books is responsibility. A leader who cannot take responsibility is a fake one. There are situations where you have to understand that persistence is becoming nonproductive and vice versa. For instance: Again, this is my personal opinion. Tell me the advantage of denying genuine people availability of Forex? Why persist on a policy that is quite inimical to the people? Each time I listen to government leaders’ answers to this issue, they will quickly say “We import everything including TOOTHPICK”. Toothpick has become a scapegoat for destroying students’ education abroad, destroying small businesses and so forth. If you want a self-sufficient nation, then you have to prepare the foundation very well. You have no power, you lack the equipment, machineries, storage facilities, high interest rates on business loans, not much trade deals with other countries, lacking in almost every infrastructure to enable domestic production and in one fell swoop you shut the door on the people who survive via the economic activities prevalent in these areas. Tell me – How would you achieve your aim efficiently? I said earlier, you must be sensitive and compassionate as a leader. You just have to. In one of my articles earlier, I said that the money being committed to Lake Chad oil search can provide equipment & machineries, loans at affordable rates, expansion of market to manufacturers and small businesses in Kano, Aba & Onitsha. This will help the economy better.
How will Nigeria be different in the next three years?
I do not know. At the moment, there is so much frustration, anger in the people that it is quite hard to see things improving. The government hasn’t given enough indications that things are changing for the better. Of course, situations might change because they have 3 more years to greatly affect the people. The government needs to become much more aware of the sufferings of the common man and be proactive about improvement. We need to focus and prioritize actions to have the most impact on the lives of the people. This involves service to the people. Not about having a political appointment just to boost your ego. It is WORK.
You sound like a PDP person, are you PDP?
I am neither PDP nor APC. The economic stagnation today is not about party affiliations. The stagnation doesn’t respect dichotomy in any form. It affects everyone. It affects PDP. It affects APC. It is about right and wrong policies and how they affect the common man. I so wish the Nigeria President do well, but he must start listening to the peoples’ concerns. Their concerns are genuine and they are hurting real bad.
What is the biggest mistake this administration has made?
Every government makes mistakes. No one leader gets it right all the time. Showing maturity and responsibility and realizing the buck stops at your desk is what matters when it comes to accessing errors in governance. Governance is a concept. Leaders need to define the strategy and the principles on which they hope to deliver the goods to the citizenry. It takes work. It is not propaganda. It is not rhetoric. It is not a blame game. It is not focusing haphazardly. It is about the people, policy and the processes. It is having a formal structure to govern and having the right candidates fill in the positions. It is developing a framework for decision making. It is being proactive and not overwhelmed. It is taking thoughtful and thorough actions. Anything short of these is a mistake.