Who really is an "achiever" or a "Performing" governor or Local government chairman in Nigeria? On the anniversary of the swearing in of a governor or Local government chairman, or even on their birthdays you see sycophants take a whole Page advertisement at huge costs, listing the "achievement" of a tin-god Governor or local government chairman and sometimes describing him/her as a "Performer"

This is one area I blame the follower ship in Nigeria, for been so docile and sometimes complicit in their sycophancy and praise singing of public office holders- elected or selected, I think most of them belong to the latter category, as the people have been helpless in asserting their rights to chose their leaders.

You see Nigerians routinely blabbing about one local government chairman or governor as been an "achiever" or he is a "a performer" just because he constructed some very poor, shabby roads or a market stall, as if he has by so doing performed wonders of extra-ordinary nature. Just because the leadership of Nigeria at all levels have given the people "stones" to eat instead of Bread and decent meals, well funded schools, hospitals and infrastructure, the little they do, at largely over-inflated costs- whilst carting away more than 50% of the budgeted costs, are praised to high heavens. For goodness sake, these public officers are been paid to do exactly that, or even more. So why the praise? I do my job according to my "Job specifications" and my employer pays me every month for getting that job done. He (my employer) does not go to TV and daily newspaper to waste money to congratulate "Tony Ishiekwene" for "delivering" or "Performing," what should be his routine work schedule. If I don't do that which my job required, then I get fired, and or not entitled to my monthly wages. These Governors and LG chairmen are over-paid and enjoy too much allowances and perquisite of office for the little they do or care not to do, so there is no basis for all the praise singing.

The most infuriating bit is that Governors and LG chairmen deliberately engage in these capital projects in Nigeria, because huge sums are budgeted (over Padded Budgets) so they can get serious "kickbacks" while doing very shabby market stalls or roads that collapses in less than the normal project life for such state assets. The measure of Performance should not be whether schools or roads, or hospitals are built, but whether or not the people (Tax payer) have got "Value for Money" from those projects been managed by the Chair or Governor as the case may be. In saner societies like the UK, where I am, the National Audit Office and the Audit Commission conducts Value for Money audits, as part of their Annual sets of Audits of public institutions, the former (NAO) for Central government departments and Ministries whilst the later deals with- Local councils and NHS across England and Wales. They strive to ensure that the tax payer is not been short changed, by inefficient and over-inflated projects by the managers of such institutions.

The concept of Vfm rests on the 3Es: Economy, Efficiency and Effectiveness. Such questions are asked as in Can this road (both in terms of the quantity and quality) be built cheaper than what the Ministry of Works paid for it, and if yes why did the guy pay more for it (Economic value, more of the Financial audit aspect) - and if that is the case the boss is fired immediately because he may have compromised by paying more to get kickbacks; Efficiency- measures Productivity: Is the outcome or output commensurate with the inputs? Could we do same work better and has our priority been right? Do we need a functional hospital more than the shabby road to suit the whims of the LG Chairman? Effectiveness- assesses the impact of spend by reviewing outcomes: Does it serve the greatest good to the greater number or just selfish interest? All of these reviews are done because in the Public sector, the bottom line is not "Profit" as in the Private sector where the MD or Board of directors are evaluated on the basis of how much profit they made and therefore how they have increased the wealth of shareholders!

In the public sector and all not-for-profit organisations funded by the public to carry out services- Cost centres largely, rather than "Profit centres" the emphasis is on "Value for money" and the 3Es mentioned above- that is to measure only costs of operation and whether such expenditure were justified and well spent. Unfortunately in Nigeria, the equivalent of the Uk's National Audit Office, where it exists have no clue that they need to carry out the 3Es evaluation, and even when they do their emphasis is on Economy (even on this they are woefully lacking as they take bribe for fun and collude with the looting public office holders.) Scant regard is paid to the concepts of "Efficiency of operations" and "Effectiveness" of the operation or project.

I think it is about time Nigerians start holding public office holders to account properly for every Naira and Kobo spent. Why for example does the Presidency need so many private jets that no one accounts to the Nigerian people for? And why has Uduaghan of Delta state been very silent about all the monies Ibori stole from Delta state and laundered in UK and elsewhere, which the British government have so far convicted the ex-governor's wife, girlfriend and sister? Has governor Uduaghan given up on recovery of the stolen Delta money to the UK authorities? Deltans and Nigerians need to ask their leaders questions instead of treating them like demi-gods

Tony Ishiekwene

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