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Sunday, May 19, 2024

Innovation in Governance and Old-Age Syndrome

Innovation in Governance and Old-Age Syndrome

Bashir Kabir

The world is seeing rapid changes in all aspects of human endeavor in just less than half a century. The commercialization of science and technology, the globalization of politics, the singularity of the world economic engine and more have tremendously altered the face of the earth for all its glory.

Social interactivity and information sharing are phenomenal that ignorance is a personal choice now. Anybody can attain an exceptional degree of knowledge and skill from the comfort of their abode and almost at a free or very cheap cost.

Entrepreneurial ideas are available and millions of opportunities are accessible to all to the point that millions if not billions of naira in return can be made using the available instrument and information provided by technology. And we are talking of legitimate business not evil scamming that is also commonplace these days due to the same technological advancement.

Understandably, the youth champion these new territories in changing the way things are done. the basic understanding of how technology works give the younger generation the upper hand at using the opportunities the rapid revolution comes with.

Nobody would think the space race, for example, would be so intense to the point that humanity is expected to colonize other planets other than the earth soon enough. That’s just one example of how technology is catapulting human existence to a whole different level of advancement.

With all this good news comes the bad ones as well; Climate change, a deadly virus that keeps mutating, economic meltdown, unending regional strife all of which is indicating a sort of global chaos that will happen before things fall back to order again.

With us (Nigerians) not so much has changed where all the above mentioned are concerned. Things are regarded with the same consideration as they were fifty years ago. The education system, industry, governance, revenue for sustenance et cetra are still following near similar routine of running. The economy is still on what it was run decades ago without diversification into other potentials. There isn’t much innovation in driving the economy and hence the devastating consequences that include inflation, the naira constantly crashing against the dollar, widespread poverty, hunger, and subsequently insecurity.

Where does this lack of innovation all come from? Lack of innovation in governance is the worst that could happen within the sphere of innovation Because then a whole people would be doomed to backwardness. The leaders might be very old age-wise, old-fashioned talent-wise and resistant to new ideas in most cases. They tend to be quite closed to newer and fresher ideas that are making things happen elsewhere in the world. Or they might be simply not interested in bringing in the most needed change using revolutionary ideas sourced innovatively due to personal interest. This leader might be a governor, a president, a chairman, a managing director a commissioner or even a husband.

Innovation in governance is not limited to only using social media to broadcast news, website to publish information for transparency, and the use of various software for credible accounting procedures for example. Innovation in governance goes beyond certain set, in some cases rigid boundaries to create network-based decision-making, financing, and result-based systems. It taps new pools of resources, exploits government’s capacity to shape responsibilities, redistributes  rights for a better tomorrow. If the laws need to be amended to allow for innovation then by all means do that to get the result.

Maybe most of the leading class hate the word innovation because It sounds new and threatens status quo. In workplaces, innovation is not encouraged (unless they are innovative ways to siphon public fund). Resources are not expended on innovations that have the tendency of turning things around. The result is the accumulation of mediocre officials and ideas at the elevated positions doing nothing to change the game.

Innovation in governance is not something you would expect to see only at the federal level of governance as was mentioned, even though that’s one critical level that needs it. However, innovation at the local government can go a long way into transform things from grassroots. Other respective organizations would do better if they give innovation a chance.

For those that often misinterpret innovation as mere ideation, it is wrong. Innovation means developing original concepts and is a driver of re-imaging an entity. These entities that innovate are able to set their position in a different paradigm in order to identify new opportunities and the best methods to solve current problems. Today In governance, these problems might include, lack of adequate funding, insecurity, failing economy, unemployment, too much unnecessary staffing, low investment et cetra.

There is no innovation in depending entirely on singular source of funding to run the governmental affairs of people. Also, it is innovative to use huge resources in salary payment to a workforce that is not needed. What if suddenly the fund stops coming for whatever reason? Fall of crude oil price, lesser naira value, or even a pandemic that halts the world economy to a stop could be some of the reasons funds trickles down. Innovation will open up avenues for healthy revenue remittance through investment, natural resources, agriculture and industry.

At the end it always comes down to why do governments need to innovate and what do they need to prioritize on. These questions might seem mundane and unnecessary because we all know our priorities. After more than 60 years of self-rule We still need good access roads, healthcare, reliable energy, affordable food, employment and now crucially security of lives and properties. Governments all over the world who could provide these were innovative. They’ve always used what they have to arrive at where they need to be putting the right people at the right places to steer things to results.


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