In the wake of the inauguration of a new administration and in the reality that the All Progressives Congress (APC) now controls 22 out of the 36 states in the country, the Progressive Governors Forum (PGF) embarked on contracting relationships with development-oriented organisations for the purpose of partnering to propagate uniform development in all progressive states.
Hadiza Elayo – Deputy National Program Manager, DFID-SPARC
Wilf Mwamba – Governance Adviser, DFID NIGERIA
Josephine Obinyan – Development Officer, DFATD/ CHC
Afeikhena Jerome – SPRM National Coordinator, NGF
Tunde Aremu – Policy & Campaign Manager, Action Aid
Ojobo Ode Atuluku – Country Director, Action Aid
Dr Mairo Mandara – Country Rep, Bmaf
Dr Joachim Ezeji – Senior Water Sector Advisor, JICA
Dr Olusola Sanwo – AD HSS, FHI 360
Dr Robert Chiegil – Deputy Country Director, FHI 360
Dr Khwima Nthara – Program Leader& Lead Economist, World Bank
Manasseh Igyuh – Head, People& Organizational Devt. Water Aid
Emeka Diru – Asst. Program Officer, IRI
Sentell F. Barnes – Resident Program Officer, IRI
Dayo Olaide – Deputy Director, MacArthur Foundation
Udo Jude Ilo – Country Head, OSIWA
Salihu Lukman – DG, Progressive Governors Forum
Egghead Odewale – Director, Strategy & Planning, PGF
Prof. O. Onyejekwe – PGF Consultant
Lanre Akande – Administrative & Finance Officer
Prince Toryem – Technical Adviser, Legislative Program
Eche Asuzu – Technical Adviser, Governance Program
Esohe Eboogbe – Media & Communication Assistant
Chinwe Azubuike-Isu – Assistant Technical Adviser, Legislative Program
The meeting started at 11.30 am with a welcome statement by Mr. Egghead Odewale, Director, Strategy & Planning, PGF; he also allowed for individual introduction by participants.
The tone and purpose of the meeting was established by Mr. Salihu Lukman where he gave a brief background of PGF and the work done so far under the Governance Program Unit of the forum from which policy briefs have been compiled.
He stated that the work of compiling the Policy brief is usually preceded by lectures- where experts are engaged, followed by Policy Design Sessions where recommendations are narrowed down to the Policy brief.
Mr. Lukman gave the reason for calling on development partners at this time as being a further action from the Pre-inauguration Governance Retreat held on May 20, 2015 where it was concluded that the APC Manifesto on which the presidential campaign was run, does not have a binding on the state governments, as they will all naturally focus and embark on different actions after inauguration- so the onus is on the forum to guide the states not to stray from their electoral promises in line with the APC manifesto.
Also at the pre-inauguration retreat, it was agreed that a Technical Team be set up to develop a state plan of action and so in addition to communicating that, the forum has put together a framework-which is still in its drafting stage-the idea is to use this framework and the State Plans drawn by their individual Technical Team Members, engage all Secretaries of State Government from which a consolidated plan of action will be compiled for all APC states.
Mr. Lukman stated that much as the manifesto will be used to focus the activities of the state government, the original scopes of Unemployment, Education, Health and Agriculture in which the progressive governors have decided to emphasize and earmarked as areas for mandatory development.
B. PGF Vision and Strategic Plan
Mr. Egghead gave an overview of the Progressive Governors Forum stating that PGF draws its existence form the Nigeria Governors Forum. In his overview, he highlighted the aims, objectives, vision and mission of the forum which are centered on promoting a development agenda across all APC states as well as other state governors with progressive ideals.
He stated that the purpose for giving the background was to ensure that the group appreciate the forum and begin to see a connect for partnership; he however provided the following areas as necessary to establish and sustain the relationship with the developing partners as;
Technical Assistance such as; Research, training, reform proposal, policy designs, setting & tracking KPIs, monitoring & evaluation and so on.
Resource Support such as; Reports, Reviews, Policy recommendations, program participations and funding.
Prof. Okey Onyejekwe, spoke about the draft framework- highlighting areas of strategic needs such as framework for shared values and also stating the need to reach some level of uniformity especially in terms of those promises in the manifesto that are best implemented at the state level.
Some of the partners voiced their concerns about the scope for the forum being very broad as well as the following;
The focus areas of Unemployment, Education, Health and Agriculture are not quite representative of the current national situation so issues such as corruption and security (especially the Internally Displaced Persons) must be seen as being in need of immediate action;
Some injunctions of the manifesto are mostly infeasible; the forum should work to rescue the governors from such injunctions by doing a costing of some of those promises before they are embarked on;
The forum should not be concerned about any more policy drafting for now but work the techniques for implementation especially since implementation in Nigeria is largely hampered by corruption;
What is the plan for revamping the Civil Service especially, since most of the stalls in policy implementation originates from the bottlenecks in the Civil Service.
How the forum should be concerned by interfacing with the civil service and bureaucrats towards mindset set change.
Reforming the civil service should not be approached with a quick fix mindset but with the idea of continuous upward progression
What is the forum’s leverage in getting the decided development recommendation across to the state government and ensuring implementation?
The meeting agreed that the government at this time is faced with a lot of challenges brought on by corruption in the system and this may hamper the speed of progress and development in states-hence, the following was recommended;
That all state governments give a transparency statement (the State of the State) on June 29, 2015- where they make the situation of things in the state known to the public in order to gain the understanding and support from the people;
That the forum should focus on researches and possibly reports on previous researches aimed at unraveling the mindset of the people so that development plans can be tailored and centered on the realities of the people;
That PGF must help the states in data generation and management;
After all deliberations, it was agreed that;
The development partners agreed that the meeting was a worthy step in guiding the states and governance aright; they then pledged their support to work with the forum to actualize its development agenda.
Partners were invited to the Policy Session in the Secretary to State Government, SSG scheduled for July.
The partners will study the draft framework given to them; make inputs and revert to the forum with their additions in 2 weeks.
Agreed in principle to develop state plan of action and initiating implementation.
Partners should make available, relevant reports of researches carried out in the states in a week’s time.
The forum should set a guiding format for states that will enable monitoring and evaluation and also availability of data.
On behalf of the forum, Egghead gave an appreciation statement; thanking the partners for honouring the invitation to the meeting while also pleading that we begin work as soon as possible; especially if the partners respond promptly with the document sharing as well as with other areas of support.