For some time now, I have been pondering a lot about the treatment of Technocrats by Federal and State Governments. Like the Military regimes, our civilian administrations have succeeded in attracting some of our best experts from global organisations and corporations to work for the government of the day.
However, the impact of these Technocrats has rarely been felt. A key reason has been the influence of politicians in power and their cronies, to hinder or manipulate the initiatives of the Technocrats for personal gains.
In the end, several Technocrats have left the government they served with a dent on their image and in some cases, they were dispatched off in a disgraceful manner.
It then begs the question, why do Technocrat prefer to serve in government headed by citizens who are not as qualified as the Technocrats, have limited intellectual capacity, hold selfish/ethnic interest, lack political will to back reforms by Technocrats and lack control over their political associates?
With repeated cases of maltreatment, we still see new sets of Technocrats being brought into government (most from developed countries) but their influence and impact has not changed. I get the fact that many Technocrats are persuaded that they can help cause the growth and development of Nigeria when called to serve in government. Nothing has yet to change.
Is it not time for this class of citizens to roll up their sleeves and seek to become ‘kingmakers’ and ‘kings’ instead of ‘palace advisors’? I really believe it is time especially when Nigeria needs political leadership that can turn our situation around in the shortest possible time considering our growing challenge with population and the impending era of less global dependence on oil.
By way of definition, a Technocrat is a Technical expert in a specific area. They are citizens who have studied and researched into an area of expertise, and have also worked in that area delivering solutions and offering the gained knowledge in books and/or lectures to students of that area.
Since Politics is not an area of expertise but an area open to any citizen passionate about nation-building, there are no Technocrats in this area. This is important to state so that we all understand that the political field is open to all citizens, including citizens considered Technocrats in other areas.
When we have scenarios where Technocrats are vying for the Presidency, State Government Houses, Senate, House of Representatives and State Houses of Assembly, we will reap the following benefits:
Professional Approach to Governance: With more control of political power, they can bring their professional culture to political governance ensuring professionalism, effective communication and transparency.
Worldview to local issues: Drawing from their global interactions, they will bring our policies and programme in line with global trends and future projections.
International Connections: Their international connections can bring much needed quality foreign investors and external funding with reasonable terms. They are likely to negotiate favourable terms for Nigeria and ensure strict compliance with international investors and organisations.
Quality Advisers: As we observe that our political leaders tend to draw a lot of their associates as advisors, Technocrats will likely attract many of their colleagues as political appointees, to deliver on their objectives including their professional culture.
High Intellectual Capacity: This will enable government officials to have proper brainstorming sessions on policies and programmes; good quality evaluation of their implementation; competent interactions with foreign organisations and investors; deliver well thought out programmes that will have multiple positive effect on citizens; accept and evaluate qualitative feedback from critics, etc.
Innovation & Reforms: These are two urgent needs for Nigeria and only Technocrats have the capacity to develop well researched innovative ideas and implement well thought reforms. They have the intelligence to deploy effective communication skills to persuade citizens to buy into their ideas rather than use force.
There are enormous benefits to draw from these citizens, many of whom have delivered on the global stage. However, we have to challenge Technocrats go beyond just serving in government or analysing government policies when they leave office.
It is time they form political parties, mobilise citizens into membership, develop and effectively communicate their manifesto and present themselves at the general elections. At the very least, our political space will witness key transformation with the participation of Technocrat-led political parties.
I also believe there will be a significant rise in citizen participation in party politics when we have Technocrat-led political parties. In fact, several citizens are waiting for such parties from credible Technocrats.
Dear Technocrats, we the citizens of Nigeria throw this challenge to you. Will you arise with courage and deliver our nation?