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Corruption Ranks Top Three Factors For Failure Of Government Polices In Nigeria – Study

(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – Corruption is amongst the top three factors responsible for the failure of government policies and programmes in Nigeria, according to a study conducted by Nextier, a policy think-tank firm.

Nextier is a multi-competency public service advisory organization with experience bringing diverse actors together to address governance problems in highly complex environments. Its core competencies include, policy research, strategy, finance, monitoring and evaluation, and strategic communication.

In 2020, the organization conducted a study to understand how Cross-Over Professionals (COPs) who transition from non-public sector roles to the government can improve their performance.  The study sought to understand what success meant in government and the challenges faced by these COPs.

Nextier researchers polled two groups, an “experts” group consisting of academics, senior government officials, policy analysts, development professionals, and policy entrepreneurs, and a “general” group consisting of a broad swath of Nigerians on social media.

On the question of why government policies and programmes fail, the top three factors selected by both groups of respondents were, corruption, poor design and planning, and too much bureaucracy.

The questionnaire for the study presented a long list of factors that define successful government policies or programmes. Both respondent groups indicated that sustainability of the results, achievement of goals or objectives and enduring economic impact as top three factors that define a successful government policy or programme.

Similarly, a review of governance literature highlighted the factors that contribute to the success of government policies or programmes and the respondents indicated their top three choices as, strong leadership, inclusive policy formation process, and removal of implementation blockers

The study also found that both the expert and the general groups did not consider low human capacity in the public service as a significant reason for government failure.

According to Patrick Okigbo, founding partner at Nextier, as surprising as this may seem, it is consistent with insights from a 2015 UNDP report that challenges the assumption that public service employees are inherently “incompetent, indolent, and unresponsive.”

“If this is the case, what then is the argument for employing crossover professionals?”, Okigbo said at a conference held in Abuja, under the theme, “Getting big thing Done: Improving the Effectiveness of Cross-Over Professional in Government”.

The event which was organized by Nextier in collaboration with OSIWA, assembled a team of leading COPs who achieved remarkable successes in their respective careers to share their own experience and thoughts on how improve COP effectiveness in order to get big things done in government.

He noted that significant effort is therefore required to fix public service performance challenges, adding that crossover professionals can be recruited as a stop-gap solution.

He however, pointed out that the risk inherent in this strategy is that the government may become overly dependent on this interim solution and postpone the effort required to fix the service.

Okigbo said Nigeria’s public service has a myriad of challenges, adding that the Government of Nigeria goes fishing in non-public sector waters for talents to join in  driving the sector with a view to achieving better results.

He also observed that many Nigerians who “cross over” from civil society and private sector organizations to work in government have challenges adjusting to public service realities and demands. According to him, although hitherto successful in their former roles, they contend with the different rules, incentives, and motivations governing the service.

“As the world zooms into the Fourth Industrial Revolution, tokenistic development approaches will not suffice.  Nigeria and, indeed, Africa must conceive big ideas to leapfrog innumerable challenges and catch up with the world.

“Indeed, it is the actions and inactions of individuals that determine their country’s results.  Therefore, a government’s ability to attract top talent is critical, although not causative, to deliver quality development outcomes”, he added.

The Nextier founding partner further posited that the challenge facing Nigeria is how to maximize her inherent potential, noting that the public service has a pivotal role to play in this effort.

“As conceived, the service should not only point a way out of the wilderness, but it should also path the sea.  Unable to play this role, governments rely on the infusion of crossover professionals to address many of the challenges.

“The challenge is to figure out how to improve the effectiveness of COPs in government.  That is the purpose of this discourse.  This event is a first in a series of engagements to support crossover professionals with research, networking, and mentoring to improve their effectiveness”, he stressed.


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