Tunde Opalana, Abuja
A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Dr. Salihu Lukman has decried contempt for bureaucracy in the country, to a large extent by government and the corresponding political structures such as political parties as responsible for weak institutions.
Lukman, who is the Director General of the Progressive Governors Forum (PGF) Wednesday in a personal statement that does not represent that of the party or APC governors, expressed worries that today, Nigeria’s politics is largely insulated from influences by bureaucratic structures. Instead, he said that it is politics that dictate and determine the conduct of bureaucracies.
He bemoaned the view that institutions are weak in Nigeria reflects basically the state of reality of almost all Nigerian organisations.
Weak bureaucracies, he added, is largely responsible for the erosion of credibility of national institutions.
Rather, he said bureaucracies and political parties are pillars of strong institutions in democracy.
He submitted that bureaucracies in Nigeria been unable to facilitate processes of decision making and implementation in ways that can strengthen democracy.
Proffering solutions, Lukman said “if we want to have strong institutions in Nigeria, why do we prefer to have weak bureaucracies in our organisations?
If we orient our formal life to be intolerant of rational conducts, which require consideration of objective rule-based proposals by bureaucracies, how can we have “people of integrity who value their name and fear God” to preside over implementation of democratic political decision making and implementation?
“The point is, if we are to have strong institutions that are capable of guiding processes of political decision making and implementation, we must broaden it to cover the development of bureaucracies in our organisations and how leaders are oriented to recognise and respect proposals and recommendations from the officials in our bureaucracies.
As much as it is important to continue to advocate for rational decisions by our political leaders at national levels, if our advocacy for strong institutions is genuine, we should cascade it down to all levels of organisations.
“In doing this, a very significant priority is the development of bureaucracy within our political parties.
This is largely because given the role of political parties in producing political leaders, once our parties are unable to recognise and respect the value of bureaucracies to guide processes of decision making and implementation within the party, elected leaders that they produce would most likely go into government with a mindset that at best disregard proposals and recommendations from civil service and other government bureaucracies.
“”For us to be able to develop the needed democratic consciousness among the hierarchy of our political leaders, we need to focus ourselves on issues that will support the development of strong bureaucracies in our parties.
As things are, what exists as bureaucracies in our political parties are highly fragile and hardly guide processes of decision making and implementation”.
He said there are many instances where decisions are taken by parties but never get implemented, and that there are also cases where decisions are taken but implementation poorly done, which create new problems.
Lukman charged the APC, to always celebrate the honest disposition of its leaders, on account of which they are able to recognise challenges and take appropriate steps to resolve them.
“The starting point should therefore be to strengthen the commitment of political leaders produced by the APC to consider rational political proposals and recommendations as well as their implementation, once decided”
He also said there is the need to undertake audit of what currently exist as the party’s Secretariat, its functions and personnel.
“For instance, how is it structured to provide services to the APC as provided by the constitution of the party? Are there supportive rules provided for the operation of the party bureaucracy?
How effective has the applications of those rules been? What is required to strengthen the rules guiding the discharge of functions of the Secretariat?”, he said.