By Salisu Na’inna Dambatta
As the Covid-19 disruptions caused hardships and the stories of sordid deeds, corruption, delayed success and outright failures are unceasingly highlighted in media discourses, many people exposed to such negative narratives would become despondent, think, or even believe that, the story about our homeland is all bad.
While admitting that the negative side is painful and undeniable, the nice and positive side of our national life too should be acknowledged, appreciated and cherished.
There are strong reasons for Nigerians to say yes, we are not all bad. We are not all corrupt. We are not all failures in service delivery. And yes, we have the talent. We have the capacity and the will to serve with total honesty and deliver public goods excellently. This is the side of Nigeria being highlighted here.
As a few public institutions and Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) are rated as under-performing and delivering shoddy services on one hand, there are many others that have records of excellent service delivery, on the other. The stellar MDAs are making vital contributions to improving the quality of life of Nigerians. They also project our national image positively, thereby earning respect and prestige for Nigeria. Other countries learn from such MDAs, yearning how they can be like our best.
For that purpose many sister African countries sent teams to understudy dozens of the stellar MDAs in this country. Samples of such cases are narrated below.
A Ghanaian delegation was in Nigeria in 2014 to understudy and learn from the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), whose pioneer Board Chairman between 1988 and 1992 was Professor Wole Soyinka.
Earlier in 2013, the Government of Sierra Leone had dispatched a team to learn from the same institution. Nigerians may constantly criticise the Commission, but other countries in Africa see and assess it differently.
The Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) too, where Umaru Ibrahim is the Managing Director, has been understudied by over a dozen institutions from African countries.
The list includes the Uganda Deposit Protection Fund (DPFU). NDIC assisted it to develop capacity to implement the Deposit Insurance System (DIS) in Uganda. A five-member delegation from DPFU understudied the activities of the Corporation.
Record shows that the NDIC has hosted delegations from the Reserve Bank of Malawi; Reserve Bank of Lesotho; Deposit Protection Fund Board of Kenya; Deposit Insurance Board of Tanzania; Commission Bancaire del’Afrique Centrale (COBAC) of Cameroun; Banque Centrale Des Etats De L’ Afrique De L’ Ouest (BCEAO) in Senegal.
Equally, teams from the Central Bank of The Gambia; Bank of Tanzania; the Deposit Protection Corporation of Zimbabwe and the Ghana Deposit Protection Corporation (GDPC) called in to understudy the NDIC.
In October 2018, a delegation from the Ugandan Retirements Benefits Regulatory Authority (URBRA) came to Nigeria and understudied our Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS), with a view to adopting it.
The Chairman of the Ugandan pension regulator, Mr. Andrew Kasiriye, led the delegation. This shows that Nigeria got its Contributory Pension idea right. Uganda found it worthy of emulation.
Socioscope News Agency reported on May 25, 2017 that, the Government of Sierra Leone has sent a team headed by the country’s Presidential Adviser on Youth, Dr. Sheku G. Kamara, to Nigeria to understudy the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) scheme.
Kamara said their visit was to enable Sierra Leone learn from Nigeria’s experience to improve its National Youth Service. “We researched a lot to learn from all countries that have a voluntary youth service. I am proud to say Nigeria emerged from our research as the best example in Africa.”
In November 2018, Ivory Coast sent a delegation to Nigeria led by Karitia Caulibaly of the Ivorian Ministry of Youth Employment to understudy our country’s Agripreneur model of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. It was part of the efforts to boost Ivory Coast’s agriculture and solve youth unemployment.
Caulibaly said that, “the experience with the youths in Nigeria inspired her to embrace farming and that the delegation is in the country to learn and replicate the model in Ivory Coast.”
In February 2018, the Ghanaian Minister of Chieftaincy and Religious Affairs, Samuel Dzamesi, spent a week understudying the Nigerian pilgrimage system to learn from its success.
He said they confirmed that “Nigeria is the only country in Africa that has a perfect or near perfect Christian pilgrimage system, and that informed our choice of Nigeria as guide.”
His said, “Our mission was successful and our gratitude is to the entire staff and management of the Nigerian Christian Pilgrims Commission (NCPC) for taking us through the secrets of successful pilgrimage.”