On Saturday, President Muhammadu Buhari said the elite are accountable for what Nigeria is and what it will become.
The rapidly rising, young, and dynamic population, which feels marginalized and disempowered, has also been declared a danger to national stability.
The President, who announced this at the graduation ceremony of 78 participants of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies’ (NIPSS) Senior Executive Course 42 on Saturday, said it was on this basis that his administration set its sights on raising 100 million people out of poverty over the next decade.
He said the country has come a long way from the period in which the government was the key player in the economy, adding that the administration has come to realize that the Nigerian genius for enterprise and industry domiciled in its private sector is unleashing prosperity and development.
He said: “Now the government’s position is mainly that of facilitators. Old dichotomies no longer apply between the state and the market. We also acknowledged that by consolidating the independence of these industries, the road to the future will be paved.”
President Buhari, represented by Plateau State Governor Simon Bako Lalong, said that is why the government is developing a new collaborative ethic in which the public sector sees its position as facilitating the optimal output of the private sector.
“That is why we are developing a new collaborative ethic in which the public sector sees its position as helping the private sector to perform optimally,” he said.
Employment development and youth empowerment can be pursued on a large scale by the private sector, but by encouraging the ease of doing business, government officials are expected to promote business.
“For many Nigerian entrepreneurs, whether in terms of taxation, infrastructural deficits and the general lack of an enabling environment, the government is perceived more as a hindrance than a help.”
According to him, it is important to point out that while the administration will continue to seek the digitization of governance processes, neither laws nor technology can fully eradicate the role of discretion in bureaucracies.
He said a measure of discretion is inherent in official skills as individuals of authority.
It’s part of your exclusive right, too. Your high station gives you the license to make choices based on your desires and opinions as well as to register dissent across official channels with orders that disagree with your values.
In particular, this institution and this course were set up to enrich the exercise of official discretion through good judgment and strategic discernment.
“The bureaucracies you belong to will either rise or fall on how skillfully you exercise your discretionary powers.”
In his address, Prof. Habu Galadima, Director General of the Institute, said that the participants carried out their studies vigorously under the threatening shadow of Covid-19, adding that the participants were absolutely locked up for several months on the NIPSS campus, during which they used virtual means to communicate with experts.
Galadima pointed out that the participants’ academic emphasis has been sharpened and their practical skills have been greatly enhanced to better understand issues of national interest.
He called for help to improve the potential of the National Institute for improved efficiency, adding that the elite institution is heavily burdened by the enormous bills of utilities and also the problem of employee and participant accommodation.