Discipline is the missing link

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 “This government shall not condone indiscipline,” said General Murtala Mohammed in a broadcast after a coup that brought him to power as Head of State. Ever since, I wonder what may have happened to indiscipline in the governance of Nigeria. 

Indiscipline is the bedrock of confusion, corruption and underdevelopment. Indiscipline includes saying what is not intended. Thus, indiscipline is not keeping to the letter and spirit of policies and procedures. Hence, it is indiscipline not to be mindful of one’s responsibilities or keep to the rules of the organisation. It is indiscipline to recruit mediocre secretly as qualified youth gnash their teeth in pain. Indiscipline, among old and young abound in our lives. The bad thing is the extent to which the system protects and defends indiscipline. It is time to change.

Leadership is central to enforcing discipline in the country. With the presidential election, the inauguration of both executive and legislative arms all put behind, we can start dreaming. With President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and with his body language, is it time to enforce discipline and do the right thing?  There are ways political leadership infuses discipline into all aspects of life.

Work ethics and dedication in Nigeria need a dose of discipline. In all sectors, productivity is at the lowest ebb. Nigerian economy cannot develop and grow like this. The strategy of paying workers on the basis of productive time at work as indicated by the Salaries and Wages Commission will not move a pin. National Productivity Commission should come up with productivity indicators for the periodic evaluation of workers. Again, productivity can be zero where there are no resources. Resources must be dispensed to appropriate levels commensurate with expected productivity. 

The youth are highly expectant. They have to be engaged productively on the basis of equal opportunity. Secret recruitment without regard for skills and competencies must be thrown behind to open ways for all on a competitive basis. 

The civil service is extremely disorganised as nothing gets going except with more than official interest. The civil servants are groaning under poor work conditions and lack of resources to deliver. The citizens are on the receiving end of poor service delivery.  The civil service requires to be disciplined.

The national economy is in tatters. This is indicated by many factors. Manufacturers are importing products they produce. Lower denominations of national currency have vanished. Unemployment has gone through the roof. Discipline the economy by forbidding manufacturers’ importation of finished products, restoring the circulation of all denominations of the Naira and deliberately creating employment. 

Resources are too concentrated at few points enough to undermine the efficiency of resource management and performance of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs). Public funds disbursement to MDAs is problematic. That the MDAs troop to the Ministry of Finance and the Office of Accountant General cap in hand creates unnecessary pressure and tendencies for undesirable negotiations.

It is significant to review public funds disbursement to enhance MDAs’ abilities to plan expenditures. A revert to the quarterly release of funds to all MDAs will make for better planning and resources management; the government may reconsider the five-year development plan to guide budgeting and disbursement.

It is indiscipline to impoverish the state or country simply because you have offered to serve your fellow citizens. The legislators earn far and above the most productive civil servant in Nigeria; ditto for the executive arm. Due to oversight activities, legislators are in too close proximity with chief executive officers of MDAs for possible indiscipline. How will the president insist that lawmaking is not vending and the legislators must choose one?

Another matter is the severance packages of political office holders. The severance packages are nothing but outright cheating on the citizens particularly the working population. If you relate the package after 35 years of service by a worker to the severance package after four or eight years of service, you will see a basis for discipline.

The severance package of political office holders has emptied our treasuries just as retirees wallow in abject poverty and curable or manageable diseases. 

A way to reduce indiscipline and corruption is to reassure employees at all levels and political office holders of a comfortable retirement. The fear of retirement has persuaded some employees to put their fingers in unusual pies. There is great value in implementing all retirement policies and provisions. Retirees should not spend a day thereafter without retirement benefits. Discipline this sector as a pathway to reducing pilfering of our commonwealth.

The greatest indiscipline is to deny people what legally belongs to them. The Government Integrated Financial Management System and the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) are for monitoring disbursements; they can therefore not replace the accounting and financial management units of MDAs. 

The centralisation of the monthly salaries of Federal Civil Servants at the IPPIS has left several workers without salaries or on half salaries for months. The workers deserve a new lease of life. This administration needs to significantly review and restore the financial management responsibilities of MDAs. 

Inheriting a government that has met little or no expectations of citizens is very problematic. President Tinubu is here to clear the Aegean stable. Thus, a lot of caution is required as the path is lined with booby traps. It is important to watch your back! It is sad to hear that government can no longer fund universities after establishing needless universities with extreme dearth of financial and human resources.

I wish the president had consultations with stakeholders before signing the Students Loans Board bill; really, that the problems of universities have nothing to do with lack of funds. Disdain for education and educators is at the core of the matter.  The Students Loans Board is substantially off target.

The president knows that Nigeria has too many problems. Citizens are under government-imposed bondage – over taxation, hunger, lack of basic and productive infrastructure, insecurity, among others have squeezed life out of all. Your assumption of office should ease life for all. The health sector is in crisis.  Some discipline needs to be injected into the entire hierarchy of healthcare delivery. The citizens need one-stop health care facilities. 

Our cities are the epitome of disorder, poverty, human suffering and indiscipline. Many of our urban planning laws have not found favour. It is time to work on a governance structure for our cities and regions as engines of development and growth.

There is need to work on national laws and policies that govern our cities and regions. Tinubu needs to reach out to the Town Planners Registration Council and the Nigeria Institute of Town Planners.

Our system is upside down as individuals have become too powerful to obey laws and procedures. Some national agencies are run like personal fiefdoms. In the recent times, illegal appointments have been made to federal agencies. Here, discipline is required for proper governance and service delivery within known laws and policies. 

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu “applied for this job” and congratulations for securing it. Do us a favour, discipline our country!

 

Yunusa wrote from Zaria via [email protected]

 

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