Introduction on The National Think Tank Project
The National Think Tank is a body of articulate and well-informed men and women with sound analytical minds, which is saddled with the onerous responsibility of fashioning out an agenda for the country. The think tank consists of people who are pedagogies in their chosen fields and have made their marks in the areas of their calling.
Given our political and economic antecedents and status in the comity of developing nations, we believe that the time has come for Nigeria to take its rightful position in world affairs. As one of the fastest growing developing nations, Nigeria is expected to show leadership in the delivery of public service. We have, therefore, found it highly imperative that, in order to achieve good public governance, several factors come to play. They include political stability, long-term planning and economic growth, economic efficiency as well as the enhancement of the quality of life for all citizens through adequate and prompt service delivery.
According to the World Bank, the world’s economic barometer, “good governance is epitomized by predictable, open and enlightened policy-making, a bureaucracy imbued with professional ethos acting in furtherance of the public good, the rule of law, transparency and a strong civil society participating freely in public affairs”. On the other hand, “poor governance is characterized by arbitrary policy making, unaccountable bureaucracies, un-enforced and or unjust legal systems, the abuse of executive power, a civil society unengaged in public life and widespread corruption”.
Furthermore, the Bretton Woods Institute believes in the relevance of good governance to the development of a nation’s economy. It therefore emphatically states that, “good governance can only be achieved if those in authority set good examples by strengthening accountability, encouraging public debate and nurturing a free Press.
Bearing all these in mind, this National Think Tank will provide a basis for analyzing the areas of success or failure of public governance in Nigeria and proffer credible solutions to the country’s myriad of socio-economic and political problems. It will provide the basis for assessing governance both in the public and private sector. The bottom line is to identify with global trends by making government and public governance more effective, responsive and efficient in Nigeria. This is because many countries in the world have come to accept good governance as a veritable vehicle for uplifting the legitimacy of the public realm. It has become an analytical benchmark in the approach to comparative politics. It is also a mechanism for assessing the performance of different regimes of government.
It needs no emphasis therefore, to say that good governance is the index consistently used by international investors, multinational agencies, including the World Bank as well as domestic investors at home and in the diaspora in assessing a nation’s business climate. It is a key factor for attracting or repelling foreign investments, as investors are constantly anxious to know the extent to which the rule of law is upheld, property rights enforced, and judicial systems effective. It is also used as one of the basic criteria for extending aid to developing countries.
In today’s emerging world markets, good public governance has become a crucial and critical factor in the designation of key countries as financial centres or financial hubs. This is simply because the perception of good public governance in a country increases its attractiveness to foreign investors and gives it competitive advantage over others in the quest for global market share and attention. The time is ripe for Nigeria to prove its commitment to its avowed goal of achieving the highest sustainable economic growth, high levels of employment, rising standard of living through financial stability and ultimately contributing its own quota to the development of the world economy.
The National Think Tank has therefore, chosen to assist the incoming governments at all levels, to achieve the highest standards of effective governance in a rapidly changing socio-economic environment. The cardinal objective is to provide a broad framework of how governments could manage the public and private sectors, improve service delivery and make policy formulation and implementation coherent. The think tank shall provide comparative data and analysis, develop recommendations on best policies, facilitate peer review and identify emerging challenges such as the think tank will look at very topical issues; Oil and Gas, Energy, Education, Unemployment, Niger Delta, Foreign policy, private sector Initiative, Social Security, Security of life and Property etc, among others. It will also promote understanding of the dynamics of public management with a view to achieving the long-term interest of all citizens. The result of this analysis will be hoisted in the public domain and made available to policymakers, academics and all relevant government agencies in the country within the shortest possible time.
In addition to eminent Nigerians who have been contacted to participate in the think tank, it is important that well meaning Nigerians here and in the Diaspora nominate qualified, committed and experienced Nigerians to the various committee.
An inaugural meeting will be convened to be hosted by a former President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to discuss terms of reference and challenges of the various committees.
Prof. Ukandi G. Damachi Alhaji Ibrahim Shehu Shagari,
Prof. Bayo Olufemi Bajoko. Hon. Steve S. Azaiki PhD,