Wednesday, 11 May 2016

"Una No Get Light" Roadmap To Fixing FGN Ministries

Nwabu King  |  at   11:30 am  |  No comments

"Una No Get Light" Roadmap To Fixing FGN Ministries
Below is a detailed account of a friend's experience at the offices of the Permanent SEC for Power Abuja. I think every government ministry in Nigeria should adopt this approach in managing their affairs, in finding a lasting solution to issues facing the nation. Have a read and take one or two things away.

It's around 6pm and am sitting waiting to see Louis Edozien, the Permanent SEC for Power at their offices in the secretariat. It's on the 4th floor. But unfortunately there's no electricity to see where am going, much less power the lift.

No matter, I am a Warrior and if I am to have any chance of being in DeeVee's slipstream during the 400metre rumble I better use the stairs as some sort of leg strengthening exercise.

For those of you who have been here, it's like walking into a Council estate (that means Projects) in Brixton.

Anyway I asked the inevitable "Una no get light?" They replied "bros we tire o. Since 2 days now". I made it to the 4th floor, hot and bothered, I was actually happy when they said he wasn't around because I wanted to turn around and head back. But when I sent him a text he replied he was 5mins away and I should wait. I also warned him about the Power but he was silent on that.

So I went to the waiting room and saw some Irate senator also waiting. He was Furious that there was no generator and or diesel and made a series of phone calls to complain to whoever was on the other line. Anyway the Perm SEC showed up and held his meeting with the Senator and then sent for me.

It was now almost 7. Quite dark. When I got to his office he apologized for being late and I found myself apologizing to him for having to withstand the heat and the impossible and completely unproductive environment. "What happened to the generator?" I asked. "We don't have one" he replied. It turns out No Power ministry or parastatal is allowed to have a generator. It's a gazetted policy. It's not something that's been enforced before now, I wasn't able to establish if this will apply to all Power agencies going forward......more of that later.

But as I sat talking at length to this articulate and first class minded public servant, 2 things struck me, I became more and more convinced that the challenges we have in the power sector (and I dare say other sectors) was less to do with corruption and more to do with mindset, incompetence, lack of exposure and my favorite topic, education. It seems we are very good at creating complicated policies and procedures for the simplest of tasks. I fully understand that bottlenecks are sometimes created just to allow for backhanders etc but a lot of the time, it's because those in charge, simply don't get it. If you evaluate NERC, DPR etc their mindset and first instinct is to stop, delay, block rather than to encourage, simplify. They find it difficult to make the connection between granting more licenses and approvals and economic growth. To a lesser extent just think how complicating it is to get a drivers Licence.

The second thing that got to me was a small appreciation of what it meant to be a public servant. We sat in the dark and heat and he explained how he shuffles offices when he needs to get Power. He was totally unflustered . Louis Edozien could probably choose whatever job he wants in the private sector but I was struck at how committed he was to getting the foundation and structures right, which hopefully should last decades. However in between all of that is the frustrating interaction with the naysayers internally. The "can't do" attitude, for no justifiable reason other than "that's the way we have always done it".

I don't know if I have the temperament, skill or wisdom to be a public servant. But I saw today that if more like us don't go in there, we are only hoping for change rather than expecting things to change. And the old saying of, Nigeria being a country full of smart people but ruled by idiots, will continue to be true.

As told by JF.

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