This weekend, I downloaded and read Nigeria’s poverty reduction strategy from the website of the World Bank. The full title of the document is NEEDS (National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy) and its development was spearheaded by the eminent Professor Charles Soludo, during his tenure as the Governor of the Central Bank.
In my earlier posts, I identified high moral intelligence and the entrenchment of strong values as pivotal for the development and prosperity of the Nigerian society. So, I must confess it was quite gratifying to learn that one of the four major goals of the NEEDS is Value reorientation. The other three goals are wealth creation, employment generation and poverty reduction.
‘NEEDS is anchored in the imperative to restore the fundamental values of Nigeria, which have been weakened over the years. As described in Vision 2010, “Nigeria is a multiethnic society, with a value system that derives from the diversity of its people, religion and cultures. The elements of this value system include the following:
Respect for elders
Honesty and accountability
It’s interesting that these seven were chosen as the ‘’Core Values of the New Nigeria’’. Why? And how will imbibing these values into the fabric of Nigerian society transform us from one of the world’s poorest countries into the true giant of Africa?
Food for thought.
Apparently, a primary aim of NEEDS is to create a new Nigerian citizen who values hard work and who realizes that one cannot have something for nothing. It hopes to do this in several ways:
- Mobilization and reorientation campaigns by the National Orientation Agency and its state-level counterparts that emphasize the critical importance of hard work, discipline and selfless service
- Reforms and regulations to ensure greater transparency and accountability and outlaw corrupt practices
- Strengthening and modernizing the anti-corruption organizations the government has established
- Exposing unethical and illegal practices and punishing those who engage in them
- Encouraging organizations to adopt and publish formal codes of ethics
- Establishing formal training in ethics and fostering leadership by example
- Enacting a Fiscal Responsibility Pact and a Right to Information Act
I believe the first thing to do would be to distill these seven Core Values into Action Statements which the average Nigerian can relate to. Next would be to devise strategies and techniques of implementation for the New Orientation so as to ensure that the values being inculcated permeate all levels of management and staff of private and especially public sector organizations (which is where most of the corruption is.)
However, the government cannot do it alone. All hands need to be on deck – the family, schools, mass media, religious organizations, civil society and indigenous communities.
‘’NEEDS recognizes that these values cannot take root and be sustained unless conscious efforts are made to mobilize the Nigerian people around them. Without paradigm shifts, fundamental changes in mindset, and acknowledgement that business as usual is not acceptable, especially by the elite, the change that NEEDS seeks to bring about will be difficult to attain and sustain.’’