Nigeria’s remarkable resilience has been both a blessing and a curse. Across various governments, this trait has been exploited to foster, mainly unpopular policies, thereby exacerbating the nation’s problem. As a matter of fact, many government decisions are taken based on some kind of sentiment and emotion rather than facts. Such sentiment attached to policy formulation often leads to perpetual policy failures in addressing the nation’s lingering challenges.
There is no doubt that Nigeria possesses the resources and potentials for success, but the determination to address our existential problems is lacking. Nigerian leaders have often promised to transform the country into a developed and thriving place with faint minds, hence a continuous quest for the right leader with requisite knowledge and zeal to drive the process in reversing the ugly trend is imperative. While we cannot disregard the external factors in reflecting on Nigeria’s woes, the problems and solutions lie within us.
Against this backdrop, Nigeria’s President, His Excellency Bola Ahmed Tinubu, celebrated as one of Nigeria’s most well-prepared leaders of our time, had pledged to introduce an era of governance that is grounded in knowledge and informed decision-making. While it is too early to judge the barely three-month old Tinubu’s presidency, it is safe to say that the government is showing a trait that raised doubts about the commitment to the fulfillment of good governance that benefits the majority.
While many Nigerians applauded the President for the removal of fuel subsidy and harmonization of the exchange rate, the pressing concerns arise from the fact that the delayed and initially announced government response to cushion the effects of subsidy removal with a monthly stipend of N8,000 for vulnerable Nigerians appears crass. Also, a significant majority of his ministerial nominees put forth so far have not received unanimous endorsement of Nigerians; a development that has been described by some patriotic Nigerians as mere political patronage rather than a pursuit of excellence as earlier pledged.
Furthermore, the hasty presidential letter to the National Assembly for approval to deploy our already strained military personnel to Niger Republic for the purpose of dislodging the new military junta, despite the mountain of our internal challenges is shocking. These, among other things, evoke uncertainty about the Administration’s readiness to confront the complex array of challenges currently gripping the nation.
In the light of these circumstances, a prudent step for President Tinubu would be to quickly consider establishing a Presidential Think Tank. This advisory body could serve as a wellspring of facts and pragmatic solutions for the pressing challenges. To maximize effectiveness, the members of this Think Tank should possess astute and cultivated minds, drawing from extensive experience across various domains of human endeavor.
The Think Tank must not be placed on a fixed salary, and should not occupy a physical office. And they should operate outside the government circle but work discreetly behind the scenes. They would be directly answerable to the president, providing a pool of diverse and independent expertise for innovative solutions. This modus operandi of their operation will significantly free them from external influence and distraction from the public.
Notably, figures like Babatunde Raji Fashola could contribute to this effort.
Through this approach, President Tinubu could steer the nation towards a more enlightened and effective governance strategy. By creating a conduit for evidence-based decision-making, he could bridge the gap between policy and reality, ensuring that the aspirations of a more informed Nigeria are met. The establishment of a Presidential Think Tank could well mark the turning point in the nation’s trajectory, propelling it from a history of misinformed policies to a future of calculated governance, driven by a deep understanding of its challenges and opportunities. As the saying goes, “Decisions rooted in facts are seeds of prosperity.”
- Adavize, a researcher and concerned Nigerian writes from Abuja and can be reached via: firstname.lastname@example.org