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  • How to address Nigeria’s socio-economic challenges – Uche Nwankwo

    Posted by David Nwachukwu on February 10, 2022 at 1:48 pm

    TO surmount the deluge of socio-economic challenges burdening Nigeria, policy makers and all stakeholders must apart from the government pay attention to what happens at lower level such as companies and individual economic behaviour, erudite author, Uchenna Nwankwo, has said.

    Nwankwo, in his latest book, The Centrist Manifesto, that will be launched next Tuesday, in Lagos, his study shows that “Nigeria’s commercial, professional and industrial leaderships have not been as visionary and as creative as they ought to be. To a large extent, it is the economic collapses which occur within their scope of operation and influence, at the micro-levels, that manifest at the national scale and have largely led to the persistent cycles of massive corruption and economic stagnation that have become the norm of the Nigerian system for quite some time.”TO surmount the deluge of socio-economic challenges burdening Nigeria, policy makers and all stakeholders must apart from the government pay attention to what happens at lower level such as companies and individual economic behaviour, erudite author, Uchenna Nwankwo, has said.

    Nwankwo, in his latest book, The Centrist Manifesto, that will be launched next Tuesday, in Lagos, his study shows that “Nigeria’s commercial, professional and industrial leaderships have not been as visionary and as creative as they ought to be. To a large extent, it is the economic collapses which occur within their scope of operation and influence, at the micro-levels, that manifest at the national scale and have largely led to the persistent cycles of massive corruption and economic stagnation that have become the norm of the Nigerian system for quite some time.”The 202-page book, which will be presented at the Nigeria Institute of International Affairs, is geared towards addressing the hydra-headed socio-economic and political problems militating against mankind, in general, and Nigeria, in particular.

    Renowned Economist and Management Consultant, Mr. Victor Mbamalu, will chair the event with Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State as special guest of honour.The 202-page book, which will be presented at the Nigeria Institute of International Affairs, is geared towards addressing the hydra-headed socio-economic and political problems militating against mankind, in general, and Nigeria, in particular.

    Renowned Economist and Management Consultant, Mr. Victor Mbamalu, will chair the event with Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State as special guest of honour.

    Nigeria’s socio-economic challenges

    Examining Nigeria’s socio-economic challenges in Part 1 of the Three-part book, Nwankwo wrote: “Most often analysis of Nigeria’s social, economic and political conditions or lack of well-being focuses almost entirely on the role or contribution of government and political leaderships to that state of affairs. We generally tend to lose sight of the crippling input made by other forms of leadership to the nation’s socio-economic and socio-political failures.

    Nigeria’s socio-economic challenges

    Examining Nigeria’s socio-economic challenges in Part 1 of the Three-part book, Nwankwo wrote: “Most often analysis of Nigeria’s social, economic and political conditions or lack of well-being focuses almost entirely on the role or contribution of government and political leaderships to that state of affairs. We generally tend to lose sight of the crippling input made by other forms of leadership to the nation’s socio-economic and socio-political failures. “I am talking about the contribution of the nation’s captains of industry, pioneers and leading entrepreneurs, etc. to the malady. A close examination readily reveals that the extent to which the national economy is compromised at these lower levels is indeed enormous and ought to be taken into consideration by any genuine attempt at analysing, resolving and reversing the trends that have brought the society and economy to their present sorry past.

    “Indeed, in so far as macroeconomic aggregates subsume the aggregation of decisions and activities at the micro-level, any pretensions at solving or proffering solutions to Nigeria’s problems without paying adequate attention to the occurrences at the lower strata, at the level of companies and individual economic behaviour will completely miss the target.

    “Our study shows that Nigeria’s commercial, professional and industrial leaderships have not been as visionary and as creative as they ought to be. To a large extent, it is the economic collapses which occur within their scope of operation and influence, at the micro-levels, that manifest at the national scale and have largely led to the persistent cycles of massive corruption and economic stagnation that have become the lot of the Nigerian system for quite some time.

    “The contribution of the private sector of the Nigerian establishment to the dismal performance of the economy is best analysed using the professionals or professional groupings as index. We are referring to the style and modus operandi of our doctors, architects, engineers, accountants, pharmacists, lawyers, etc. It is noteworthy that one of the chief characteristics of Nigerian professionals is the trend towards fragmentation and the establishment of one-man practices. In Nigeria today, virtually every qualified professional architect, engineer, pharmacist, lawyers, etc., is a firm by himself.

    “This should be contrasted with the trend in most other parts of the world where it is common to find professional firms with very large pools of professional men and women making up each firm or corporate practice. In virtually all the developed economies, emerging markets and the seriously upwardly mobile developing countries most professional groups or firms usually consist of upwards of scores and hundreds of professionals. You would find, for instance, big law firms with up to one thousand or more lawyers, all working together and under one single corporate leadership; ditto for architects, engineers, etc.

    The advantage of the latter kind of set-up, collocation or clustering together is that there is synergy, specialisation even within the profession, cross fertilisation of ideas, research and economy of scale. This is a recipe for efficiency, optimum performance and progress. Indeed, this is what organisation is all about! It is well known that usually each professional man tends to be very good in particular branches of the profession and not so good in some others. There are really very few all- rounders.

    Thus, some architects, for instance, are either good in design, detailing, presentation, site works or supervision, contract management or job letting, etc., or a combination of a number of these or other aspects of the professional duties of the architect. Large professional architectural firms thus have the potential of being made up of ‘experts’ in virtually all the branches and aspects of the professional calling. On the face of it therefore, the large firm is in a better position to handle a professional job and assignment more efficiently and successfully than a small group or one-man firm.

    “It is these successes that are recorded at the micro- levels, at the level of companies and firms by such large and organised groups that translate into the economic success and development that manifest at the macro-level, at the level of society and nation. In contrast, the presumed failures, handicaps or inefficiency and poorly conceived and shoddily executed projects that characterise small professional groups or one-man firms, translate to dismal economic performances that seem to have become part and parcel of ‘unorganised’ societies and countries like Nigeria.

    “Have you stopped to imagine or contemplate how the many one-doctor clinics and hospitals that dot the Nigerian landscape and healthcare delivery system manage – say, during surgery? Well, the picture is that you would in a generality of cases, have the single in-house doctor perform diverse roles – acting the part of the surgeon and perhaps those of a number of these: the aesthetician, technician or controller of the oxygen cans and other equipment, bio- chemist, pharmacist, administrator of all the myriad operations that go with surgery – all by himself, and perhaps with the aid of a few ill-qualified, ill-motivated and inexperienced nurses. With that kind of scenario, does it surprise anybody that these one-doctor clinics and hospitals have very few successful operations or surgery; that they indeed constitute slaughter houses in which innumerable patients get butchered every now and then?

    So to recap, the failures and collapses recorded by these outfits constitute part of the drawbacks that have kept Nigeria’s healthcare delivery system in the doldrums.

    It can equally be shown that the picture painted above of the one-man architectural firm or the one-doctor hospital in Nigeria could be replicated and likened to some of the operations of the other numerous one-man professional outfits in Nigeria, be it in engineering practice and some of the ill-network of roads, public drains or other line-systems some of them design and supervise; in accountancy and some of the shoddy and fraudulent audit reports that emanate from that sector; in law practice and some of the innumerable un- researched ill-conceived advocacies some of them proffer; and the rest of them. It is all a catalogue of dismal failures at the micro-levels that have ultimately translated to collapses at the macro-level or the level of nation and society.

    “It is not only that these small practices do not have the right depth of staff to generate the right professional advice and work, they also cannot muster the right resources to acquire the needed tools and equipment, books, professional journals, etc. that should keep them in line with the latest developments and new concepts in any of the professional callings. Little wonder then that they can hardly perform, help themselves and make the requisite contribution expected from them to our social, economic, technological, and even political progress.

    “What are the unique factors that have tended to detract the Nigerian professionals from the corporate track commonly trodden by their counterparts in other parts of the world? What are those peculiarities of the Nigerian professionals that seemingly make them so different from professionals from other lands? Again, we prefer to seek the answers from the micro-levels. The truth is that historically the Nigerian pioneer and leading professionals who more or less took over from the expatriate professional firms did not take care of the younger generation of (Nigerian) professionals that came later or that served under them.

    “In their general drive to ‘maximise’ profit, the pioneers and leading professionals threw the standards established by white men or the colonialist expatriates they replaced, overboard and began to appropriate virtually all incomes made by the new firms to themselves, leaving peanuts for the retinue of employed fellow professionals and other sundrystaff that worked under them even when these employees worked on multi-million dollar projects which attract huge fees for the firm.“I am talking about the contribution of the nation’s captains of industry, pioneers and leading entrepreneurs, etc. to the malady. A close examination readily reveals that the extent to which the national economy is compromised at these lower levels is indeed enormous and ought to be taken into consideration by any genuine attempt at analysing, resolving and reversing the trends that have brought the society and economy to their present sorry past.

    “Indeed, in so far as macroeconomic aggregates subsume the aggregation of decisions and activities at the micro-level, any pretensions at solving or proffering solutions to Nigeria’s problems without paying adequate attention to the occurrences at the lower strata, at the level of companies and individual economic behaviour will completely miss the target.

    “Our study shows that Nigeria’s commercial, professional and industrial leaderships have not been as visionary and as creative as they ought to be. To a large extent, it is the economic collapses which occur within their scope of operation and influence, at the micro-levels, that manifest at the national scale and have largely led to the persistent cycles of massive corruption and economic stagnation that have become the lot of the Nigerian system for quite some time.

    “The contribution of the private sector of the Nigerian establishment to the dismal performance of the economy is best analysed using the professionals or professional groupings as index. We are referring to the style and modus operandi of our doctors, architects, engineers, accountants, pharmacists, lawyers, etc. It is noteworthy that one of the chief characteristics of Nigerian professionals is the trend towards fragmentation and the establishment of one-man practices. In Nigeria today, virtually every qualified professional architect, engineer, pharmacist, lawyers, etc., is a firm by himself.

    “This should be contrasted with the trend in most other parts of the world where it is common to find professional firms with very large pools of professional men and women making up each firm or corporate practice. In virtually all the developed economies, emerging markets and the seriously upwardly mobile developing countries most professional groups or firms usually consist of upwards of scores and hundreds of professionals. You would find, for instance, big law firms with up to one thousand or more lawyers, all working together and under one single corporate leadership; ditto for architects, engineers, etc.

    The advantage of the latter kind of set-up, collocation or clustering together is that there is synergy, specialisation even within the profession, cross fertilisation of ideas, research and economy of scale. This is a recipe for efficiency, optimum performance and progress. Indeed, this is what organisation is all about! It is well known that usually each professional man tends to be very good in particular branches of the profession and not so good in some others. There are really very few all- rounders.

    Thus, some architects, for instance, are either good in design, detailing, presentation, site works or supervision, contract management or job letting, etc., or a combination of a number of these or other aspects of the professional duties of the architect. Large professional architectural firms thus have the potential of being made up of ‘experts’ in virtually all the branches and aspects of the professional calling. On the face of it therefore, the large firm is in a better position to handle a professional job and assignment more efficiently and successfully than a small group or one-man firm.

    “It is these successes that are recorded at the micro- levels, at the level of companies and firms by such large and organised groups that translate into the economic success and development that manifest at the macro-level, at the level of society and nation. In contrast, the presumed failures, handicaps or inefficiency and poorly conceived and shoddily executed projects that characterise small professional groups or one-man firms, translate to dismal economic performances that seem to have become part and parcel of ‘unorganised’ societies and countries like Nigeria.

    “Have you stopped to imagine or contemplate how the many one-doctor clinics and hospitals that dot the Nigerian landscape and healthcare delivery system manage – say, during surgery? Well, the picture is that you would in a generality of cases, have the single in-house doctor perform diverse roles – acting the part of the surgeon and perhaps those of a number of these: the aesthetician, technician or controller of the oxygen cans and other equipment, bio- chemist, pharmacist, administrator of all the myriad operations that go with surgery – all by himself, and perhaps with the aid of a few ill-qualified, ill-motivated and inexperienced nurses. With that kind of scenario, does it surprise anybody that these one-doctor clinics and hospitals have very few successful operations or surgery; that they indeed constitute slaughter houses in which innumerable patients get butchered every now and then?

    So to recap, the failures and collapses recorded by these outfits constitute part of the drawbacks that have kept Nigeria’s healthcare delivery system in the doldrums.

    It can equally be shown that the picture painted above of the one-man architectural firm or the one-doctor hospital in Nigeria could be replicated and likened to some of the operations of the other numerous one-man professional outfits in Nigeria, be it in engineering practice and some of the ill-network of roads, public drains or other line-systems some of them design and supervise; in accountancy and some of the shoddy and fraudulent audit reports that emanate from that sector; in law practice and some of the innumerable un- researched ill-conceived advocacies some of them proffer; and the rest of them. It is all a catalogue of dismal failures at the micro-levels that have ultimately translated to collapses at the macro-level or the level of nation and society.

    “It is not only that these small practices do not have the right depth of staff to generate the right professional advice and work, they also cannot muster the right resources to acquire the needed tools and equipment, books, professional journals, etc. that should keep them in line with the latest developments and new concepts in any of the professional callings. Little wonder then that they can hardly perform, help themselves and make the requisite contribution expected from them to our social, economic, technological, and even political progress.

    “What are the unique factors that have tended to detract the Nigerian professionals from the corporate track commonly trodden by their counterparts in other parts of the world? What are those peculiarities of the Nigerian professionals that seemingly make them so different from professionals from other lands? Again, we prefer to seek the answers from the micro-levels. The truth is that historically the Nigerian pioneer and leading professionals who more or less took over from the expatriate professional firms did not take care of the younger generation of (Nigerian) professionals that came later or that served under them.

    “In their general drive to ‘maximise’ profit, the pioneers and leading professionals threw the standards established by white men or the colonialist expatriates they replaced, overboard and began to appropriate virtually all incomes made by the new firms to themselves, leaving peanuts for the retinue of employed fellow professionals and other sundrystaff that worked under them even when these employees worked on multi-million dollar projects which attract huge fees for the firm.

    David Nwachukwu replied 9 months, 4 weeks ago 1 Member · 0 Replies
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