By ALBERT IGIEBOR
It is simply amazing? His Excellency, Malam Nasir el-Rufai’s vision of “Let’s Make Kaduna Great Again” is unfolding in an incredible alacrity and if tempted to say in the speed of light, it is relatively not altogether inexcusable.
In our political culture that is notorious for abandoned projects, time resource abuse and a dearth of foreign investments, to swiftly facilitate a world class foreign investment in midst of recession- induced volatile economic uncertainties and unpredictable foreign exchange fluctuations, is an uncommon exploit.
It is real that the ground breaking ceremony that was conducted by His Excellency, Mall Nasir EL-Rufai for OLAM GROUP, a foreign investor to establish an agro- allied company barely twelve months ago is now having standing structures with the chimnies pumping out smoke like veins to signal that production is in progress. This is an eye witness report.
Other foreign investments springing up or that are on queue of those that signaled interests include potatoes and rice milling plant, gold mining, tomatoes processing and packaging, nickel mining, solar energy plant and ginger farming and processing.
In affirming Nigeria’s enviable investment opportunities and robust prospects in turning the economy around, His Excellency President Mohammadu Buhari said while officially commissioning Olams Grain and Feed Mill recently in Kaduna that “This massive edifice, put in place by Olam is one of the largest agricultural firms in our beloved country”.
Apparently, Olam Group, with its multinatural experience that span several decades as one of the world’s influential agro- allied investors has acknowledged Nigeria robust market as very appetizing. Consequently, it has injected $150m in Kaduna project and strategically positioned itself in a sprawling land in Chikpirl village, a settlement that is largely populated by Gbagyi people along Kaduna/ Abuja expressway in Kaduna state. Olam has the capacity to create a whooping 200,000 rural jobs.
Malam Nasir el-Rufai’s people’s centeredness is aptly captured by his assertion at the historic commissioning of Olams Grain and Feed Mill recently that “today, we inaugurate the largest direct investment in Kaduna State in ten years”
It is unprofitable for a leader to delay, deny or defer developmental infrastructure delivery perhaps till when about to exit office. It is a deliberate ploy to make the delivery fresh in voter’s memory for the leader’s direct or indirect benefit at a re-election bid or for some other electoral fortune. Putting prospective enjoyment of infrastructure on hold inflicts lingering socio-physical injuries and mental torture on the people.
These should be made impeachable and re-call offencies for executive office holders and legislators respectively. Nigeria must get leader and the led relational values right in order to take her turn to rule the world, a natural resources- assigned obligation.
Time leadership of progress scale of performance measurement dictates that if a leader does not have distinguished achievements that are commensurate to resources in-flow and goodwill to parade in the report card of his first of four year tenure, he has no tenable excuse as defense and if none in two years, it is a woeful disasters, perharps, still planning even in a mid-tenure.
As we celebrate the arrival in Kaduna of Africa’s biggest hatchery and Feed Mill constructed by Olam Grain we are indeed celebrating the visionary leadership of Mall-Nasir EL-Rufai, the executive Governor of Kaduna state for his indomitable stamina and daring heart to confront seemingly dreadful adventures with exemplary prudence in time resources expenditure.
A visionary leader perfects a comprehensive articulation of his tenure’s work plan or projected service delivery program and internalize same, one year prior to scheduled swearing-in into office. If you enter tomorrows with an empty mind, not pre-planned, you will discover it empty, without benefits to off-load because you failed to mentally pre-load it.
An enterprising leader must be able to forecast threats and opportunities with tolerable variances as well as package a supportive shock- absorbing mechanism to avoid damaging exposures to possible unpleasant interferences.
To further cushion uninterrupted service delivery as planned, pragmatic efforts and diligent surveillance should be championed to cripple the activities of saboteur subterranean economies. These behind- the-scene economies are ever-booming in refused-to-develop democracies “A failed character, wherever it exits, will always steer anything inevitably into failure.
Leadership service delivery delay that is borne out of incompetence, delivering denial that is borne out of hate and delivery deferral that is borne out of ulterior motives as well as lack of punctuality are altogether time thefts that transmit grievous socio- physical injuries and mental torture including for instance, effects of abandoned projects.
Consequently, National Assembly should pass an anti-time theft law to be known as leadership prudent time resources expenditure control and enforcement law.
Time theft losses rivals’ financial crime losses and are perhaps more grievous though subtle. People generally appear not to take notice that a systemic waste is eating deep to ravage prospects and convert inherent boom to gloom. Time theft or negligence violation to maximize the application of time resources for the purpose for which it was contracted, is a reflection of integrity deficit that has wild outcomes.
The anti-time theft law should, amongst other things, compel an executive office occupant, including local government chairmen, governors and presidents to constitute their cabinet within 30 working days after taking the oath of office.
The law should also mandate them to perfect annual budgeting prior to the arrival of the year for which it is designed. Also, alongside budget submission for legislative annual approval, a comprehensive time expenditure specifics that match budgeted infrastructure with anticipated time of delivery schedule, an instrument of transparency, should accompany the budget.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) should, in the spirit of the proposed anti-time theft law, champion the reformation of legal provisions and processes to improve the feasibility of impeaching an executive office holder and the recall of a legislator. Where there are laws that are over protective of leaders, people’s interest will always be strangulated and destinies of the helpless people cannibalized by the leaders.
Further, in our political environment that self-interest overshadows public interest the law should prohibit successive occupation of elective executive or legislative position for more than twelve years without electoral holiday of five years and in no circumstance should a person hold elective or appointive position uninterrupted for more than fifteen years. An unrestricted office occupation is a dimension of absolute power that corrupts absolutely.
Additionally, the proposed anti-time theft law should make provision for a progressively vigorous political campaign for an election, particularly general election, to kick-start eighteen months prior to the election. This will spur on-the-job practice of the separation of public and private interests. Besides, the incumbent enjoys an unrivaled advantage as his on-going performances in office transmit campaign messages.
A diligent time application is however not entirely alien to our leadership experience. For instance, one easily noticeable attribute of Late Gen.Murtala Mohammed particularly when he was Nigeria’s Head of State was his best practices in time observance as exemplified by his popular saying – “with immediate effect”, an antidote to procrastination.
“With immediate effect” can be interpreted to mean that in no circumstances should the benefits that are due to the people today, as pre-planned, be deferred to tomorrow for delivery. The extravagant use of time resource, as the root of waste culture, will inevitably spill over into the wastage of every other resource including money, talent, material, opportunities, human capital, goodwill, natural resources etc.
Pause awhile and imagine if the direct and indeed comprehensive agro-allied jobs and wealth created by Olam Grains, one of the several foreign investments that are being facilitated by Mall. Nasir El-Rufai just barely two years as Governor of Kaduna State. If this has been the minimum two years foreign investment in-flow in every state in the past one decade, Nigerian children should have by now been free from being roasted by the scorching heat of Libyan desert nor swallowed up by the Mediterranean Sea to rudely terminate their quest for greener pastures.
A potential-exhaustive definition of national purpose, an eagle wing, will disrobe us of dwarfed aspirations to shoot us out of oblivion to rank and compete among the best nations and eventually take our turn to rule the world. Quality time ethics, attitude enrichment, best practices of neighbor-keeping social obligation and visionary leadership will make Nigeria great.
ALBERT IGIEBOR, a commentator on Public Affairs writes in from Kaduna State. He can be reached via email@example.com
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