PRESIDENTIAL ADVISORY COUNCIL RECOMMENDATIONS
The Presidential Advisory Council (PAC) set up by the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan to proffer solutions to the myriad of national problems recently came up with recommendations which it says can address the problems, if genuinely implemented.
Submitting its interim report to President Jonathan, chairman of the Council, Gen. Theophilus Y. Danjuma, said the recommendations cover virtually every sector, among them, infrastructure, the economy, the social sector, security, anti-graft campaign, electoral reform, rule of law and civil service reforms.
The implementation period, Gen. Danjuma disclosed, will last throughout the entire tenure of the current administration. Though he said that the council was yet to finish its assignment, Danjuma noted that the council had advised government to pay priority attention to electricity supply and explore other sources of power, including hydro, thermal, gas and solar.
It will be recalled that Jonathan, as Acting President, had set up the Council to advise his administration on policy as well as provide alternative input into policy formulation and good governance in the areas of power supply, economy, security, electoral reform and the fight against corruption, among other pressing national issues.
Besides, the PAC, which has many notable Nigerians as members, is also to advise the Jonathan administration on such actions and programmes that may improve credibility and performance of government and the cost effectiveness derivable from government efforts.
All things put together, we do not expect any surprise in the recommendations submitted by PAC that previous committees set up by government to look into national problems have not made. The difference between the new PAC recommendations and others submitted by other bodies before it, may just be in the the assemblage of notable personalities in the council. We agree with the aspect of the report that says that our country does not lack sound policies. The problem has always been at the implementation level. This fact, which we have always stressed, should not be lost on the present government.
Therefore, if Jonathan's administration must drive the wheel of governance faster within the short time available to it before the next election, he must sincerely see through the implementation of government policies in the different sectors of national life. In this respect, the power sector is incontrovertibly one area that needs urgent action. It is one area in which the government must not play roulette. Also in dire need of attention by government is electoral reform. The bloated bureaucracy, especially in the presidency should be pruned down. Civil service reform is also as vital as security and social infrastructure.
The task of developing our country and renewing the sagging spirit of the people does not lie in setting up different and disparate committees in search of solutions. What is sorely needed is the political will for the implemention of the policies already on ground. Nigeria already has a surfeit of recommendations gathering dust in government files, waiting endlessly to be used for the good of our people.
It is also confusing how the president arrived at his assurance to the PAC that he would try to implement at least '50 or 60 percent of the recommendations' contained in the report. We advise that the entire report should be carefully studied and distilled with regard to recommendations made in every sector, first, to determine the best thing for the government to do on each issue. That would be a better approach to getting the right solutions to the problems.