A Critique of Contemporary Nigerian Youth Leadership Quality: Kwara State as Opinion Analysis
Youthfulness, according to lexical definition, is a transition stage in life in-between childhood and adulthood. Generally, it is supposed as a socially constructed category which relies greatly on the self-concept. Specifically, it is a stage in life during which an individual is shaped by his personal and inter-personal life experiences as dictated by socio-cultural norms of his society or his dependency level (family and peers’ relationship). The self-concept definition of youthfulness was aptly described by Robert F Kennedy and said ‘this world demands the qualities of youths: not a time of life but a state of mind; a temper of the will, a quality of imagination, a predominance of courage over timidity, of the appetite of adventure over the life of ease’. Ultimately, youthfulness is ‘a time of a person’s life when their choices are most likely to affect their future life’.
Legally, youthfulness is presumed as a chronological social construct to which age bracket is attached. Thus, by the United Nations (UN) classification, youth education acquiring age bracket is put at 15-24; youth policy age bracket (African Youth Charter) is 15-35. In Nigeria, for instance, the age bracket for youthfulness is 18-29; while for intergovernmental organization such as Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the classification of youthfulness is between ages 15-29. According to
Similarly, there are certain legal rights associated with youthfulness. These rights are tied to certain age limits which affect legal competence or independence of youths in carrying out certain actions or taking certain decisions. These include voting age, candidature age, age of consent, working age and driving age. For instance, voting right confers on youths, political participation upon attainment of eligibility age of 18 which entitles them to vote in a public election and choose representatives of their choices. However, a far greater legal right for the youth is age of candidacy. This is the minimum age requirement at which an individual can legally qualify to hold public offices. Additionally, it may imply ‘the age at which a person may be eligible to stand for an election or be granted ballot access’.
A recent related matter to legal rights of youths, in Nigeria, was the civil society campaign for legislative constitutional reform to ‘age of candidacy’ tagged Age Reduction Bill or more popularly Not Too Young to Run. This campaign was initiated by a coalition of civil societies spearheaded by YIAGA Africa. The campaign later gained legislative support both at the upper and lower chambers of Nigerian National Assembly through respective motion sponsors by the duo of Tony Nwulu and Abdul Azeez Nyako. The central focus of the campaign was to seek alterations in certain sections of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria such as Sections 61, 106, 131, 177. The main objective was to ‘reduce age of running for elective positions for House of Assembly and House of Representatives from 30-year-old to 25-year-old Senate and Governorship from 35-year-old to 30-year-old and Office of the President from 40-year-old to 30-year-old and independent candidature’. The campaign which was convened in 2016 witnessed the endorsement and assent of the President of Nigeria, Muhammad Buhari on the 31st of May, 2018 which ushered its being signed into law.
Leadership conceptualization is regarded as a continuing area of research with no generally acceptable definition. It is as narrow (managerial leadership) as it is complex (state wide leadership). According to the Wikipedia, it is ‘a practical skill encompassing the ability of an individual, group or organization to lead, influence or guide other individuals, team or entire organizations’. Broadly, leadership influences are contrasted between the Western and Eastern approaches. Similarly, it is classified into different aspects via leadership theory, leadership style and leadership quality. Among prominent leadership theories is trait theory of leadership. It fundamentally buttresses leadership based on individual inward attributes such as skill and talents which ‘may vary across a variety of situations and tasks’. In particular, trait theorists propound that ‘significant relationship occurs between leadership emergence and individual traits such as intelligence, conscientiousness and general self-efficacy’. This encouraged some scholars such as Francis Galton in Hereditary Genius (1869) to conclude that leaders were born, not developed. In contrast to this, the United Kingdom based visionary leadership foundation under the aegis of Rhodes Scholarship as founded by Cecil Rhodes believes leadership trait could be nurtured by imbuing ‘young people with moral force of character and instincts to lead’ by educating them in contexts such as ‘collegiate environment’. Another leadership theory is the behavioural style approach which emphasizes leadership effectiveness in outwardly manifest actions (observable behaviours). It is based on a two-dimensional approach to leadership which are 1) task orientation (defining and assigning goals) and 2) social orientation (building inter-personal relations with subordinates). The import of this theory is to emphasize creation of a good rapport (mutual trust) between a leader and his follower which reinforces a participatory behavioural approach in encouraging ‘group decision making and subordinate input’. Similarly, a leadership theory is behaviour modification, from which the concept of positive reinforcement was developed. This theory presumes that a positively reinforcing action or behaviour elicits a response to such behaviour which further increases the possibility of repetition of such behaviour in the future. In essence, it reinforces an offshoot of behavioural style leadership approach because it requires a leader to observe a behavioural ‘positive reinforcer’ in a subordinate ‘to motivate and attain desired behaviours from subordinates’. A foremost leadership theory is the situational and contingency theory. It is in line with opinions of social scientists such as Herbert Spencer and Karl Marx who both argued ‘times produce the person and not the other way round’. Therefore, different situations call for different characteristics. As a result, no single optimal ‘psychographic’ profile of a leader exists; ‘an individual’s action as a leader is in large part dependent upon characteristics of the situation, he finds himself’. Precisely, an autocratic leadership is preferable in times of ‘crisis’; a democratic leadership is commendable for building consensus; laisse faire leadership is effective for the degree of freedom it provides. According to Fielder, there is no ideal leader. Both task-oriented and relationship-oriented leaders can be effective if their leadership orientation fits the situation. Lastly, a theory of leadership is functional leadership theory which presupposes goal-getting orientation of leadership through appropriate interventionism aimed at attainment of set goals and objectives. This theory buttresses leadership participatory approach to group goal attainment through adequate motivation, supervision and facilitation of work of subordinates for optimal performance.
According to Steve Jobs. ‘management is about persuading people to do things they do not want to do, while leadership is about inspiring to do things, they never thought they could’. According to Adam Enfroy (2020), ‘the best leaders require a strong set of leadership qualities to help positively interact with their employees, team members and clients’. He noted that the most important qualities of a good leader include ‘communication, integrity, accountability, empathy, humility, resilience, vision, influence, delegation and confidence’. According to him, effective communication is key in leadership role. In particular, a good leader must ‘relentlessly’ be communicating in a simple and clear manner. Similarly, there must be communication feedback through appropriate ‘listening’. And more importantly, a good leader must ‘affirm’ communication with actions. Integrity is ‘doing the right thing even if no one is watching’. ‘An honest leader succeeds when they stick to their words, lead by example and follow through’. In particular, a leader with integrity ‘apologizes for mistakes and gives the benefit of doubt when circumstances are unclear’. According to Arnold Glasow, ‘a good leader takes little more than his share of the blame and little less than his share of credit’. A strong leader is responsible for his team’s results, good or bad; ‘they hold themselves and their employees accountable for their actions’. Similarly, ‘they earn credit when it is due and take responsibility for blame when necessary’. A good leader must be empathetic or ‘open minded’ 0enough to understand circumstances of subordinates’. Empathy, as a leadership quality, inspires loyalty of subordinates; sharpens leadership creativity and negotiating tactics and above all, creates improvement in work strategies. These are all because ‘understanding where people are coming from helps facilitate a more humane environment where team members are more productive and leaders thrive’. According to Thomas Merton, ‘pride makes us artificial and humility makes us real’. ‘Being humble and vulnerable with team members will make a leader much more relatable and effective’. A great leadership style is focusing more on problem solving and team dynamics than self-promotion. ‘The true grit of a leader is not how they perform during good times, but how they roll up their sleeves and perform and produce when times get difficult’. Leaders with positive attitudes ‘lead by example’ no matter the circumstances. It is with such positivity they react to situations ‘in a calm, collected manner and focus on solutions rather than on problems’. According to Jonathan Swift, ‘vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others’. But vision is only attainable if leaders commit to exercising great positive influence on the subordinates. A great leader sets clear organizational goal, and with due diligence and vigour, align subordinates to keying into the mission and vision before them. ‘Leadership and influence are not interchangeable; respect has to be earned not given’. Great leaders can enhance their influence through ‘building real, lasting relationships, working toward commonly shared goal, clearly stating what they want, welcoming suggestions and inputs, and connecting with people emotionally’. Above all, good leaders must constantly have ‘self-awareness’. ‘A difficult transition for many leaders is shifting from doing to leading’. An emergent trend in contemporary leadership phenomenon is ‘leaders accustomed to doing all the work themselves and struggle to let others handle responsibilities on their own’ However good this might be, great leaders must delegate and elevate their teams so they ‘become more essential and more involved’. In particular, delegation process involves a cycle of actions which include ‘choice of appropriate task, choice of appropriate person, setting clear plans and goals, implementing, monitoring, evaluating and reviewing’. Finally, an active and effective leader ‘needs to roll up sleeves and take charge’. Confidence in leadership requires articulation of clear goals and plans and striving toward attainment of such. A common leadership parlance stressing confidence is ‘make it till you make it. Confident leaders are ones who don’t just talk about problems, but come up with solutions of their own.
A leadership style is a style of a leader in providing direction, implementing plans and motivating people. Generally, there is no clear-cut one-style fits all for leadership roles. However, the leadership style adopted should be the one that most effectively achieves objective of group or state, while balancing interests of all individual members. An array of leadership styles include authoritarian, democratic, transactional, transformational (innovative). Authoritarian leadership exemplifies a unilateral leader who ‘dictates policies and procedures, decides what goals to be achieved, and directs and controls all activities with minimal delegation of authority. An authoritarian leader has a vision in mind and only needs to effectively mobilize and motivate team members to execute his mission and vision. Transactional leadership exemplifies a ‘full range leadership model’ which includes organization, supervision and performance. It is ‘a type of leadership in which leaders promote compliance by followers through both rewards and punishments’. In particular, ‘transactional leadership occurs when one person takes the initiative in making contact with others for the purpose of an exchange of valued things’. It is most effective in ‘emergency situations’ or tailor-made projects requiring specific details’. Transactional leadership is either active or passive. The former buttresses on the job supervision; while the latter highlights after the job supervision. Innovation leadership is transformational leadership which combines different leadership styles to influence subordinates to conduce innovative to production of good and services. This hinges crucially on derivation of new ways and methods (processes including technology) by leaders in attaining goals. As a result, it has been argued that the need for innovative leadership has resuscitated new interests in roles of contemporary leaders ‘in shaping nature and success of creative efforts’. Consequently, without leadership dynamism and innovation, organizations and states are bound to be moribund and struggle uncompetitively. Innovative leadership broadly entails value-added innovation and exploratory innovation. The former implies refining and revising existing method of creation of an organizational or state services or goods. In particular, this involves undertaking and accommodating research and development goal and risk taking. The latter implies derivation of new method of production of an organizational or state services or goods through risk-taking and research and development. Above all, innovative leadership style requires leadership adaptability, flexibility and opportunism. Democratic leadership style is leadership is shared or participatory leadership which encourages team participation in responsibility for decision-making. It is a leadership style which seeks to take cognizance of potentiality of team diversity and differences and its inherent benefits. In particular, democratic leadership style is favourable for de-centralizing organizational or political hierarchical complexities in opening lines of communication and feedbacks from top-bottom and vice versa; enhancing organizational and state productivity and creativity as it fosters team cooperation and commitment. However, major demerits of this leadership style are bureaucracy, mediocrity, volunteerism and bulk-passing of responsibility (blame shifts). As a result of these demerits, democratic form of leadership needs to be ‘carefully managed’ and may require combination with other styles of leadership.
Leadership quality in this writing’s view is aimed at public functionary expertise and mastery; which is akin to public positions of trust such as political office appointments. In this regard, it is the aim of this writing to explore political economy as a concept, in practice, in order to draw relevant inferences from it. Political economy, according to the Wikipedia, refers to ‘inter-disciplinary studies drawing upon economics, sociology and political science, in explaining how political institutions and the economic system influence each other’. In specific terms, it is a concept which focuses on role of government and /or firms and households, especially their inter-relationships, in resource allocation within an economic system. Similarly, it is a concept which spans diverse philosophies or schools of thought such as classical economics, neo-classical economics and Marxian economics. Classical economics whose main proponents are Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, David Ricardo originated in the 18th-19th centuries. Its main proposition is capitalism or free-market economics. Free market is economic doctrine which aims to give firms freedom of means of production and distribution of goods and services in a competitive manner via economic variables such as price, output, and supply. An important purview of capitalism is firms’ profitability increase or maximization of share-holders’ earnings. Marxian economics is basically a 19th century concept credited to both Karl Marx and Frederic Engels. It centrally focuses on labour theory of value as a direct critique of capitalism ‘surplus products and values’. Labour theory of value stipulates that an economic product should be priced by the average amount of time (labour) used to produce it. However, a more significance of labour theory of value is the derivation of labour power. Labour power, according to Karl Marx, is the implicit ability of a worker to produce a commodity. Furthermore, he argued that, explicitly, it is the labour time and associated costs ‘society bears to allow provide the worker with the capacity to work’. In other words, workers’ wages should be directly proportional to labour power (living wages). Neo-classical economics is a late 19th century economic concept which was later popularized by the Chicago School (Milton Friedman). It derives as off-shoot of classical economics. It was credited to ideas emanating from William Stanley Jevons and Leon Walras. Its main focus is on free-market distribution of goods and services, subject to consumers’ perceptive value and income distribution. Thus, as opposed to classical economic ‘inherent value’ market pricing; neo-classical economics excel at marginal utility of value, from consumers’ utility maximization with respect to their income distributions. Similarly, an array of significant economic concepts common to classical and neo-classical economics hinge crucially on certain major assumptions which include, amongst others, free pricing, consumer rationality (preferences), marginal utility, and consumer awareness (market diversification).
Traditionally, social scientists agree that political economy is an interactive social-economic role between government (as represented by institutions) and other agents such as firms and households. More importantly, in this interactive relationship amongst these agents, there exists a political and economic organization as recognized by law and which clearly spells out a definite system of political economy in practice. Examples of political organizations include democracy, theocracy, aristocracy, autocracy etc. Examples of economic organizations are capitalism, socialism or mixed economies etc. Furthermore, in the complex interactions of these political economic agents, the government (as represented by public institutions) occupies a central pivotal role which manifests in responsibility of public administration. Hence, in the words of Wilson, (1887) public administration is simply ‘government in action’. More elaborately, according to the United Nations (UNDP 2004), public administration is ‘the aggregate of machinery (policies, rules, procedures, systems, organizational structures, personnel etc) funded by the state budget and in charge of management and direction of affairs by the executive government, and its interactions with other stakeholders in the state, society or environment’. Hence, the crux of public administration or governance per se is in the allocation of scarce economic resources, in definite systematic and logical pattern which is broadly defined under policy formulation and implementation.
By social scientists’ consensus, a common political economic policy framework is associated with the rational choice theory. According to the Wikipedia, rational choice is ‘a framework for understanding and often formally modelling social and economic behaviour. It hinges crucially on the concept of economic choice and preference and assumes that aggregate social behaviour results from individual agent actions, each of whom is making preferential choices. From the foregoing, it goes without gainsaying that the main drivers of economic actions are majorly households in conjunction with firms. These usually make rational choices which can be consistent over time by their unchanging sets of preferences. The consistency in behaviour of economic agents may be transformed into mathematical models (experimental) for inferential purposes. In particular, the hallmark of rational choice theory, according to social scientists, is direct or indirect observation of socio-economic behaviours of agents ‘to reconstruct the preference hierarchy’ which regulates their actions. Specifically, ‘all considerations (observations) pertinent to choose (love, hatred, loyalty, sense of fairness) can be incorporated into agents’ preference rankings over all possible end states’.
Ultimately, rational choice theory is a fundamental element of game theory. This is a mathematical framework for analysing individuals mutually interdependent interactions. Practically, game theory represents ‘a formal study of social institutions with set rules that relate agents’ actions to outcomes’. This theory assumes that ‘’agents are like-minded rational opponents who are aware of each other’s preferences and strategies’. Such as buyer and seller relationship or government and masses relationship. A strategy is ‘the exhaustive game plan each will implement, or the complete set of instructions another could implement on an agent’s behalf that best fit individuals’ preferences’. This is with respect to certain structural contingencies such as sequence of game (frequency of actions by agents), structure of game (logic of actions by agents). Overall, the essence of game theory to socio-economic scientists is the predictability of collective actions by agents which are categorized into three outcomes: cooperative outcome, competitive outcome and mixed outcomes. At the end scenarios of events, is the equilibrium point or payoff (often regarded as point of interest) or solution which serves to indicate agents’ point of utility maximization.
Similarly, another relative and significant theory to political economy is the agency theory. This is also known as principal-agency theory in political science and economics. In definitive terms, it is a theory around agent (a person or entity) ‘who is able to make decisions on behalf of, or that impact, another person or entity’. In practical terms, it is a theory which considers limiting and reducing agency problems (agency costs) which arise from ubiquitous control relationship in which one person, a principal, delegates work to another, an agent. By so doing, there may arise moral hazard situations. These are circumstances in which the agent is motivated to act in his own best interests, which are contrary to the principal’s. As a result of checkmating agency theory moral hazards, two mechanisms have been proposed which are incentive schemes and behaviour observations. The latter pertains much more to political economic governance. This prevails where a political office holder engages an agent (an appointee) in a behaviour-based contract by directly observing his actions and inactions and thus having complete awareness of his agency performance. This scenario is described as an optimal agency contract. Similarly, there exists a sub-optimal agency contract which occurs when ‘a principal rewards based on agreed contract behaviours but without confirmation of those behaviours by the principal’.
Because this writing is set out mainly to appraise leadership qualities inherent in Nigerian youths, it will delve into an overview personality account of generality of Nigerian youths who, according to United Nations African Youth Charter, fall within age bracket of 15-35 years. Holistically, youth socio-economic identity blocs in Nigeria can be broadly segmented into three distinct groups which form the idiosyncrasy of average Nigerian youths. These are creative entertainments, micro-scale enterprises and crime. Globally, Nigerians are famed for their creative talents in an array of professions ranging from fashion, music, theatre and sports. In particular, many young Nigerians are celebrated household names in their chosen creative careers such as Davido, Wizkid, Kelechi Iheanacho, Beverly Naya, Adesua Etomi etc. A particular point of interest in creative entertainments is the extent of followership or cult-like acceptance (fans) exhibited by large multitude of youths to their respective celebrities. They common trend now is Twitter social media platform followership by fans which counts to units of millions followers for these youthful creative stars. The micro-scale enterprise is about the most popular form and the largest group of identity bloc categorization of Nigerian youths. These are micro ‘one-man business’ outfits usually patronized by young Nigerians for self-survival. An undisputable scenario about these outfits is its ubiquitous nature around every nook and cranny of Nigerian cities. According to the Wikipedia on Nigerian youths, it declares ‘educating youth in Nigeria is prioritized with the goal of reducing poverty, inequality and overall increasing economic growth’. Therefore, it is in recognition of the micro economic importance of these ubiquitous outfits, the current government of Nigeria has somehow attempted to streamline their operations through financing grant and vocational skill transfer in an economic incentive programme dubbed Anchor Borrowers scheme. The last stratum of youth bloc identity in Nigeria, are the maladjusted anti-socially behaving individuals who engage in misdemeanours such as robbery, rape, theft, kidnapping, hooliganism and vandalization. Though without accurate data back-up, these crime-minded individuals are growing exponentially by the day going by the rising incidence of crime in the country. By documented evidence however, the most popular of this group are Niger Delta militants who often engage in vandalization of state resource (oil installations) and hostage taking of oil workers, out of violent protest about state marginalization against their ethnicity.
It is the prerogative of this writing to unequivocally point out that there is hardly any reference point from both on line and traditional print materials that devote in narrating about the leadership careers (especially political leadership) and its inherent quality in Nigerian youths.
Kwara State is one of the thirty-six (36) states in Nigeria. It is zoned in the north-central region of the country. By land mass, it is regarded as the nineth largest in the country, with around three (3) million population, according to the Wikipedia. Thus, Kwara State is strategically positioned for greatness and development both in terms of land mass and population. Ordinarily these two resources, if well harnessed, are latent assets for socio-economic prosperity. However, and paradoxically speaking, Kwara State regretfully and sorrowfully is amongst the group of states labelled as undeveloped and backward in Nigeria. Precisely, Kwara State was the 28th poorest in the country as at 2010 with gross domestic product of 3,841 (in million dollars) behind states like Lagos, Ogun and Oyo with GDPs of 33, 679, 16,121, 10,470 (in million dollars) respectively. From the view-point of this writing, the principal cause of backwardness of Kwara State behind her legion of states which were created at the same time, would not be unrelated to political leadership (especially democratic leadership). For instance, in Kwara State, almost every important infrastructure existing in the state today like roads, public buildings and industries (now moribund) are traceable to earlier defunct administrations in the state. Precisely, the military administrative era of late Col. Ibrahim Taiwo was most notable for constructing major roads currently in use in the state. At best, successive governments were wont to papering cracks on roads (potholes) by way of refurbishment. This was usually poorly handled (mostly through engagement of quackery direct labour) to the extent of leaving shapeless contours on road surfaces which give unpleasant road experience to commuting public. With the only exception of few major interventions of the past government of late Mohammed Lawal and Bukola Saraki which added new togas of image to the state through new socio-economic vistas such as new road construction or institutional establishment (KWASU). Kwara State, by her length and breadth, is mainly filled with gleeful relics of the old infrastructure which only evokes nostalgia of the good old days. The frank import of this is sheer failure of successive administrations, especially democratic government, precisely since the 2003 Bukola Saraki - led government in Kwara State. The order of the day since then to date is political propaganda of white elephant projects which are only on paper without commensurate reality on ground. To the present-day democratic transition ushered in on May 29 2019 in Kwara State, the same undemocratic and unilateral style political system is still the order of the day. Whereby, policies and projects are arbitrarily and shoddily formulated and executed without giving due consideration to the end-users (the electorates). You would only be hearing that billions of Naira have been earmarked to certain sectors, without commensurate realistic value on ground.
The genesis of choice of Kwara State by this writing to form opinion analysis stems from two purviews: firstly, this writer is an electorate stake-holder in the state and secondly the current administration of Kwara State made news headlines when, post May 2019 inauguration, it ushered in its cabinet political appointees who are mostly young Nigerians (commonly described as youths). It is thus the candid interest of this writing to appraise the calibre and timber of personalities of these appointees in terms of political leadership. In logical terms, this writing would pose the challenge to the current government in Kwara State and successive future governments that the genesis of the abysmal state of the state is mainly in two major directions: firstly, misfitting of political appointees to positions of authority such as Commissioners, Directors of Agencies etc and secondly, inattention by political executives (president, governor and chairman of local authority) to two key political economic theories (rational choice theory and agency theory). This writing would buttress that if political executives, especially sitting presidents, governors and local authority chairmen pay due attention to the theories of consumer rational choice and agency contract as it concerns in political economy; then evidently, there would be both electorate social satisfaction (from utility optimization) and delivery of efficient service by political appointees who are saddle with accountability and responsibility. For instance, in Kwara State, it was common sight in past governments to appoint unmerited civil servants such as erstwhile special advisers or personal assistant to a political executive as Commissioners or Directors of agencies. Similarly, another common trend was to de-consider qualifications and certifications of prospective appointees. Relevant factual examples were appointees such as Barrister Abdurazaq Akorede; a former Commisssioner for Water Resources in Kwara State. What innovative idea would a practising legal officer bring to improve water resources generation and distribution in Kwara State? The result was poor generation and distribution of water in the state. Engr. Musa Ayinla Yeketi; a former Commissioner for Education & Human Development in the state. How would a practising Engineer bring resourcefulness and revitalization to education? The result was decrepit schools in Kwara State with poorly trained and renumerated teachers. Mr. Jamiudeen Aro Yahaya, a former Commisioner for Works and Transport in the state. How would a banker whose main preoccupation is in money investment have any innovative idea about public infrastructure? The end result was decrepitude in of both transport infrastructure and facility in the state. A classic case in point here is Kwara State would be among states in Nigeria with poorly organized transportation system. The local taxi cabs currently in operation in the state are remarkably decrepit, grossly inadequate and dysfunctional for a 21st century capital city. An innovative and sensitive government would not but intervene in Kwara State public transport sub-sector.
Furthermore, the same disenchanting trend witnessed in erstwhile democratic dispensations in Kwara State is repeating itself in the current democratic dispensation. As instances, Harriet Afolabi Oshotimeyin, the substantive Commissioner for Information and Communication in Kwara State. According to available information, she is a youth and was a private enterprise owner before her official appointment. And she has been reshuffled from one ministry to another since her appointment. Precisely, she is an economics graduate or alumna of University of Ilorin. By cognate political economic analysis, this writing does not see the logical nexus between field of economics and communication. At best, she would be learning on the job. Having listened to her personally on air, she is a good speaker with good language flair. Practically, as Honourable Commissioner for Communications, she is responsible for government broadcast units as available in the state. But what information and communications intricate value can she give and bring to Kwara State? Is she a state-of-the-art IT savvy? Does she have cognate IT experience as to know intervene appropriately in communications related matters? For instance, what practical steps can she take to mobilize both professional expertise and political support from the state government to upscale the grade of the duo of Kwara State broadcast gateways in terms of Kwara TV and Kwara FM station. Both these outfits have gone underneath for many years and they deserve strategic revitalization. Factually and logically, a 21st century information and communications strides have gone much beyond being a mere spokesperson for a government in terms of giving press releases. Press briefings and releases should not be job of a communications Commissioner per se but that of Chief Press Secretary to the government.
Another substantive appointee by this current democratic dispensation in Kwara State by the name of Oyeyemi, Olasumbo Florence. She is the Honourable Commissioner for Finance in the state. According to informative sources, she is 31 years old and was in active civil service before her appointment. This writing could not lay hold of any cognate financial experience or qualification held by this appointee. However, from common day to day practical knowledge, one of the mainstay ministries of political economic dispensation, is the finance ministry. It is regarded as the backbone ministry for any state government by ensuring adequate and constant availability of monetary proceeds for the execution of recurrent and capital expenditure. Factually, the funding of recurrent expenses budget is a simple job which anyone (political office holder) can handle. This is not same for the capital expenses budget. This requires particular expertise in both financing and economics. A Commissioner for Finance job is not a sedentary office job. It is basically a field job which any youthful commissioner must be constantly seen on the field, sampling population elements and their required economic resources. In this 21st century, it is not enough for Honourable Minister or Commissioner for Finance to just be merely signing vouchers and cheques on behalf of government. He or she, especially our youthful Honourable Commissioner for Finance in Kwara State must be active in socio-economic data gathering and analysis in order to serve as guide for judicious disbursement of hard-earned public funds. In practice, the game theory mentioned aforehand is a vital tool in politico-economically arming any incumbent political office appointee, especially in the finance ministry, in directly interfacing with the electorates (public) with view to identifying their socio-economic preferential scale and tie this to available financial resource to government to meet these needs. In essence, there has been an effective and informed political economic needs assessment which effectively eliminates to the barest minimum any corruption tendency. In Nigeria in general, the corrupt order of the day is the arbitrary generation of ministries and agencies budgetary items without concomitant real-life interface with the sources or end users of such particular items (public). This necessarily breeds inefficiency and unaccountability in public service. As practical illustration, the Honourable Minister or Commissioner for finance must be well groomed in information about socio-economic variables of a society by having up -to date knowledge of relevant economic agents (such as accountable and dutiful government contractors) and current market force situations.
Another appointee is Suleiman, Rotimi Iliasu. He is 38 years old with engineering qualification. He specifically specializes in pipe -line engineering from a Diploma certification by Newcastle University, United Kingdom. He is the substantive Honourable Commissioner for Works. By his portfolio designation, he is responsible for execution of physical projects in the state, especially road and housing constructions. In the view of this writing, the youthful commissioner has not lived up to his billing. As a matter of fact, there are a handful number of on-going new physical projects in the State. But most of these projects are situated outside of the capital city, Ilorin. An example is the Ilesha-Baruba road construction, a boundary linking Kwara State and Oyo State. Pinpointedly, this writing will limit to projects situated in the capital city of Ilorin. Bestriding the length and breadth of the city, you can hardly notice any appreciable and landmark new project on-going in terms of housing and road construction. In retrospection, the last time a low - cost housing project was executed in Kwara State was in the tenure of Bukola Saraki. In that period, a few popular estates sprang up in Ilorin metropolis such as Mandate Estate, Irewolede Estate etc. All these provided a fair housing succour to Ilorin residents at the time. Rather, in fairness to the Honourable Commissioner for Works, what is solely visible in Ilorin metropolis, are isolated repairs works on networks of roads dotting the city. Worse still, these repairs are shoddy works undertaken by mostly artisans who have no cognate training at all in road repairs. Usually, you don’t see site engineers at the locations but only artisans who just do what they want on the roads. Thus, Ilorin metropolis roads are full with tattered surface patches which disfigure road surfaces and give discomfit and harm to both road commuters and the vehicles. In the case of housing, it is not common in this our clime (country) for government to regularly renovate public mass housing estates. So, this writer is not aware if any public mass housing estate is under renovation in Kwara State.
Strategically, the Honourable Commissioner for Works in Kwara State ought to be more pragmatic and keen-sighted in knowing that the Ilorin metropolis of today requires expansion and opening up. The population today has grown up phenomenally in the metropolis and so are personal effects of enthusiasm and devote more energy in thorough physical survey of the metropolis in order to carve out reclaimed spaces (land) for new roads and bridges construction. Ilorin metropolis deserves more over-head bridges to better give the city more physical aesthetics. Does the commissioner not see the frequent logjams and chaotic traffics on busy routes in the metropolis such as Umar Saro Road (Sawmill), Post Office Road, Unity Road and even Taiwo Road. All these routes require mandatory expansion and qualitative enhancement. Even though, civil engineers are the real certified experts in physical projects management (roads, bridges etc). Our Honourable Commissioner too, by his rare engineering training, should add more distinctive and qualitative taste to his job in Kwara State.
It would seem that Kwara State is not still currently getting positive value from budgetary allocations across all sectors. Money is rashly and graciously disbursed if at all, without follow up to delivery stage. No critical sector in the state (be it health, education, agriculture, commerce and industry) seems to be showing sign of revitalization, as evidence in a vibrant or productive ministry. This status quo situation cannot continue to go on if Kwarans at large desire a developing and progressive state. For instance, Kwara State 2020 budgetary provision dubbed Budget of Reconstruction and Reformation, with final approved budgetary total of almost # 115 bn, initially apportioned into 53 percent capital expenses and 47 percent recurrent expenses. All this publicity glitz as far as budget matter is concerned, for all this writer presupposes, may end up to be mere political propaganda or rhetoric. Except if the government proactively and tactfully follow through on the execution of the budget (through the earlier buttressed theories of consumer rationality and agency contracting). In this regard, this writing strongly wishes to encourage the executive government of Kwara State to fully imbibe (in spirit and body) the two key principles of political economy (agency contract theory and game theory) in discharging its executive mandate in the governance of the state. As affirmation, this writer is aware of a certain Citizens Watch non-governmental organization which was recently formed in the state and which renders an audit report to the government on all socio-economic activities in the state. This is very applaudable and we wish to see verifiable outcomes from this.
In conclusion, contemporary political economic order which is the mainstay of ‘real-world’ practice of economic systems ‘as a means of directing the distribution of a finite amount of resources in a way that is beneficial for the greatest number of individuals’. In particular, it is used, in modern times, for any government policy that has an economic impact which emanates from factual and actual details of socio-cultural and historical considerations. This effectively eliminates the traditional age-long political systems of ‘agencies, structures, material interests, state manipulations and markets’.
In this light, this writing would challenge the National Council of Nigerian Youths and relevant non-governmental organizations such as YIAGA Africa that political leadership quality of Nigerian youths is inexorably tied to their political economic understanding and experience. This can be better attained through a streamline in national curricular planning which lays strong emphasis on political training and practice for young Nigerians from post – primary education up to tertiary education. This is an outright different approach from what currently obtains in the country which is a theory-focused academic training. In this new proposed approach, significant attention would be to practical demonstration of acquired political and economic tenets through establishment of specialized centres of excellence for practical orientation of political economic tenets and values. For instance, if there could be Centre for Legislative Studies and Practice; why cannot therefore be Centre for Political and Economic Studies and Practice? The central idea is just to have a real platform for demonstration and practice of theoretic knowledge training in a simulated way before actual and real-life practice. If so, this writing would strongly fault and disapprove of the highly -spirited rationale and national fervour behind the recent Not too Young to Run advocacy. The timing was ill-conceived and the philosophical concept behind the struggle is baseless and needless for now. What is of mandatory national importance is struggle for national legislations that will back up the establishment and overhaul of political economic theory and practice in modernized form.
Sherif Jimoh wrote from Kwara State