Luck is not a Strategy on a cork notice board as a reminder

The Concept of Luck vs Miracle: Nigerians and their Mentality of Trying to Achieve Success Without a Plan

Neat lays the land full of green and life, which hold forth the fruits of man and his labour. A curse or a blessing, man has to decide. Elements of nature indeed are blessings but can same be said of man and his attributes? His ability to love or hate, save or destroy. Choices and the capacity to decide are basically among the most distinguishing factors that make man what he is: man is an intelligent animal.

Wisdom is said to be an asset as experience is not build with blocks so also integrity is not bought with money and history is not made for stories only. Our consistency as a people to be more capricious than ever, to live by chance rather than by reality makes us to submit to circumstances instead of us managing circumstances.

Our driving force is more by greed, selfishness and naivety. We are so blinded that we most often see mirage as our objectives which is why we dissipate so much energy in trying to achieve what is impossible. We can’t allow negative mind-set, our failed past, the will of other people or their opinion to affect our sense of judgment, as good is most at times the enemy of the best. The will to survive is what keeps a man alive, but being alive does not mean living. And that is our problem in Nigeria today. So the question is: how do we start living better and succeeding as a people and as a Nation? And how do we set positive goals and how do we achieve our objectives?

In attempting to answer these questions, I will have to draw our attention to the fact that everything we do is a project. Life itself is a project. So for us to have a better understanding of the subject we have to define project and relate it with everything we do.

According to the Cambridge dictionaries, “a project is a piece of planned work or an activity that is finished over a period of time and intended to achieve a particular purpose”.

And according to Merriam Webster, “a project is a planned piece of work that has a specific purpose (such as to find information or to make something new) and that usually requires a lot of time”

From the above it is clear that everything we do is a project whether we see it that way or not. Next is to relate the above with management as to achieve results in everything we do, we must bring in the concept of good management. So what is project management?

According to Project Management Institute (PMI);

“A project is a temporary endeavour undertaken to create a unique product, service or result”.

A project is temporary in that it has a defined beginning and end in time, and therefore defined scope and resources.

And a project is unique in that it is not a routine operation, but a specific set of operations designed to accomplish a singular goal.

So setting out to study is a project, looking for a job or employment is a project, getting married is a project, building a house is a project, starting a business is a project, running for election is a project, running government is a project and the list goes on and on.

Projects must be expertly managed to deliver on-time and on-budget results.
Project management, then, “is the application of knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to project activities to meet the project requirements”.

Project management processes fall into five groups: which I call (IPEM-C) and these are:

• Initiating
• Planning
• Executing
• Monitoring and Controlling
• Closing

Almost everything we do in our lives starts and ends with these five project process cycle. But are we really aware of it? No mostly we don’t. We just think that success in life is just a process guided by luck or miracle. But it is not true. To be successful one must initiate or conceive an idea, and then a well-articulated plan of action must be laid down clearly defining the scope, objective and mission, vision and goal of the idea. But a well thought out plan remains a plan until it is executed so, positive action must be initiated towards executing the plan and this needs to be well monitored and control measures taken to manage excesses. At the end when the objective is achieved, the project is closed to give way for a new project or a review and expansion of the existing project.

If we look at how most of our people today leave their lives and the outcome of their actions as against their expectations, it will be clearly established that most people live an undefined life with little or no plan on what exactly they want and how they want it, when they want it and by what means or process.
So until everyone begins to look at everything they do in their lives as a project and manage same according to the five process groups of project management: our people will continue to fail in achieving the desired results they want in life.

Remember no nation succeeds by simply having a big budget and good government policy. Nations succeed only if the people as individuals decide to define their roles in the system, understand the reason they are living, have a definitive plan as to what they want and how they want to achieve their objectives. It is the individuals need to succeed guided by a well-articulated plan of action, executed with passion and commitment that collectively results in a holistic national growth and development.

No matter how much the government want to succeed in the implementation of her policies, the people’s readiness to succeed as individuals remains the only driving force towards the overall success of the government.

Dr Ibrahim Bello Dauda


The Imperatives of Funding Research

It truly beats my imagination how we don’t invest in research but expect development. Can anyone tell me a country in the world that developed from foreign sympathy? Governments the world over heavily fund research and don’t stop there. They make sure that the results of those research projects are well adopted and embedded in the overall developmental program of the country.
I hear people say Nigerian professors are sitting ducks, but, do those people really know how researches are done? To do a proper research, one needs lots of funding which can only come from government or very big companies. The former is the most fund provider for most of the research projects the world over.
Building roads, schools, hospitals etc is not development, but simple provision of basic social enablers that promote ease of leaving.

Development is when heavy investment is made in research, the result of which is, a whole new set of patented technology and ideas which will open the economy. This brings foreign investment and promotes exports. And in the process, wealth, large number of jobs are created.
We run to other countries to seek for health care, education and other services why? Because they heavily invest in research processes over years which paid off. We spend so much on expensive things from other countries; question is, do those things fall from the sky? No, years of research brought them to being.

Until the government invest heavily on funding research we will for years to come remain a consumer nation with big dreams that will never happen.

Dr Ibrahim Bello Dauda

coat of arms

Poor Performance of Nigeria’s Government Projects and Service: Imperatives of Ethics Compliance and Key Performance Indicators in our Value System as a Way Forward

BY DIRECTOR GENERAL DR IBRAHIM BELLO DAUDA FCMA, FAAPM, CMC, MPM SAHELIAN CENTER FOR LEADERSHIP AND DEVELOPMENT PAPER DELIVERED AT THE ANNUAL SAHELIAN CENTER PUBLIC LECTURE AT THE ABUJA INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE CENTER (ICC) ON SATURDAY, 26TH NOVEMBER, 2016 POOR PERFORMANCE OF NIGERIA’S GOVERNMENT PROJECTS AND SERVICE DELIVERY: IMPERATIVES OF ETHICS, COMPLIANCE AND KEY PERFORMANCE INDICATORS IN OUR VALUE SYSTEM AS WAY FORWARD PROTOCOL INTRODUCTION From the time Nigeria got her independence to date, many feat in terms of infrastructure and human resource development has been achieved. This however, when measured on percentage value in comparison with countries that got their independence at about the same time with Nigeria and those that became independent after 1960; it is very clear to see that the desired level of development structurally and economically one would have expected has not been achieved yet. Remember that one of the role of government is to provide quality service to the people aside of protection to lives and property. Quality service here means good roads, affordable and quality education, sustainability in food production etc. relating these to the topic, one now ask the question; why do we have poor performance of government projects and service delivery? The first answer that may come to most minds is CORRUPTION. Yes corruption is part of it but, what is the cause of corruption? Corruption is a result of the failure of the system or simply system collapse. And there are different types of corruption; a. Financial corruption b. Moral & values corruption c. Ethical corruption and other forms of dishonest behaviors But again why is corruption prevailing so much in the system? The truth is we will keep on revolving around playing the blame game while we leave the critical underlying causes of our problems. The underlying causes of our problems are listed below; 1. Decision making (Emotional & Sentimental) 2. Poor enforcement of the rule of law 3. Lack of a standard to measure performance. Many attempts have been made in the past to reorganize particularly the civil service, review of the constitution, and making of new laws, all aimed at improving quality and efficiency in service delivery. But it seems that much still has to be done looking at where we are today and where we ought to have been. And again if we look back at the revenue earned over the years by Nigeria and relate it with the level of development, there exist a wide gap in between. Why? This to many, is because the regulatory institutions in Nigeria are perceived largely to be ineffective and inefficient, due to poor enforcement of the rule of law, overlaps and gaps in regulation, policy conflicts, communication gap and corruption. Assuming it is true, the question still remain, why? In order to answer the question, the first two words of the title of this lecture needs to be looked at critically, they are ‘’Poor Performance’’. Still the question arises, how do we measure performance to know whether it is good, poor or even bad? Performance measurement is generally defined as ‘’regular measurement of outcomes and results, which generates reliable data on the effectiveness and efficiency of programs. Input Resources (human resources, employee time, funding) used to conduct activities and provide services’’ ( (bureau of education and cultural affairs) Also, ‘’it is a quantifiable indicator used to assess how well an organization or business is achieving its desired objectives’’. ( Based on the above definitions it is clear that performance can be measured and quantified using indicators or standards set in order to achieve effective delivery of organizational goals and targets. So to accurately measure performance, we need to understand the Key Performance Indicators KPI and their effect on performance. Organizations, public or private deploys varied types of performance management systems. There are different types of methods and styles of performance measurement in organizations. Each uses several techniques to establish organizational goals and measure same towards the attainment of the overall targets which is quality service delivery, on time and on budget. Organizations as a means of achieving results and quality service delivery adopt performance measuring systems such as, Total Quality Management (TQM), Management by Objective (MBO), Quality Control Circle (QCC) and Key Performance Indicators (KPI). Of all the above, KPI is mostly preferred by many government and organizations as the method or tool to measure the performance of individuals and departments, and for assessment in terms of performing above expectation, meeting the targeted expectation and performing bellow expectation. Strict application and management of KPI brings about high system and process performance with integrity in service delivery. What is KPI? According to, ‘’Key Performance Indicator is a measurable value that demonstrates how effectively a company is achieving key business objectives’’. Organizations use KPIs at multiple levels to evaluate their success at reaching targets. High-level KPIs may focus on the overall performance of the enterprise, while low-level KPIs may focus on processes in departments such as sales, marketing or a call center. Also, ‘’performance indicator or key performance indicator (KPI) is a type of performance measurement. KPIs evaluate the success of an organization or of a particular activity in which it engages ( There are thousands of KPI’s depending on the schedules, goals and targets of organizations. For example what is the KPI of our airports? Is it; a. Safety of the aircrafts? b. Ambience of the airport and comfort of passengers? c. Quality & efficiency of the navigational and landing equipment? d. No of flights delayed? e. No of flights cancelled? f. Revenue generated over a period of time? g. No of recorded Plane crash? h. Customer satisfaction? i. Tourism attraction? etc. Also we can ask the same question on the country as a whole; what is the KPI of Nigeria as a country? a. Is it stability in security? b. Is it the ratio of un-employment to the no of jobs provided? c. Is it strength of the country’s currency? d. Is it the value of the foreign reserve? e. Is it the level of foreign and or domestic debt? f. Is it the GDP? g. Is it ratio of import over export? h. Is it the number of abandoned projects compared to completed ones? i. Is it self-reliance in food production? j. Is it the strength of the military? k. Is it the ratio of re-current allocation to that of capital allocation in the budget? l. Is it the cost of government? m. Is it the life expectancy of her citizen? n. Is it the quality and affordability of education? o. Is it the level of poverty of the people? p. Is it the quality, affordability and accessibility to health care facilities? etc. Every sector of the system has a defined set of KPI’s that drives effective achievement of targets and goals. To achieve optimum performance, there must be proper compliance to rules, code of ethics & values, which if breached, appropriate sanction must apply without emotion and sentiment. KPI evaluate the success of an organization or of a particular activity in which it engages. Often success is simply the repeated, periodic achievement of some levels of operational goal (e.g. zero defects, etc.), and sometimes success is defined in terms of making progress toward strategic goals. Accordingly, choosing the right KPI’s relies upon a good understanding of what is important to the organization. ‘What is important’ often depends on the department measuring the performance – e.g. the KPI useful to finance will really differ from the KPI assigned to projects. Since there is a need to understand well what is important, various techniques to assess the present state of the organizational objectives, and its key activities, are associated with the selection of performance indicators. These assessments often lead to the identification of potential improvements, so performance indicators are routinely associated with ‘performance improvement initiatives. A very common way to choose KPI is to apply a management framework such as the BALANCED SCORECARD. 1. Balanced Scorecard (BSC) is a strategy performance measurement (Performance measurement is the process of collecting, analyzing and/or reporting information regarding the performance of an individual, group, organization, system or component. It can involve studying processes/strategies within organizations, or studying engineering processes/parameters/phenomena, to see whether output are in line with what was intended or should have been achieved) tool – a semi-standard structured report, supported by design methods and automation tools, that can be used by managers to keep track of the execution of activities by the staff within their control and to monitor the consequences arising from these actions. (Carol Taylor Fitz-Gibbon (1990), “Performance indicators”, BERA Dialogues (2), ISBN 978-1-85359-092-4) The phrase ‘Balanced Scorecard’ is commonly used in two broad forms: 1. As individual scorecards that contain measures to manage performance, those scorecards may be operational or have a more strategic intent; and 2. As a Strategic Management System, as originally defined by Kaplan & Norton. The critical characteristics that define a balanced scorecard are; • Its focus on the strategic agenda of the organization concerned • The selection of a small number of data items to monitor • A mix of financial and non-financial data items. CATEGORIZATION OF INDICATORS Key performance indicators define a set of values against which to measure. These raw sets of values, which are fed to systems in charge of summarizing the information, are called indicators. Indicators identifiable and marked as possible candidates for KPI can be summarized into the following sub-categories: • Quantitative indicators that can be presented with a number. • Qualitative indicators that can’t be presented as a number. • Leading indicators that can predict the outcome of a process • Lagging indicators that present success or failure • Input indicators that measures the amount of resources consumed during the generation of the outcome • Process indicators that represent the efficiency or the productivity of the process • Output indicators that reflect the outcome or results of the process activities • Practical indicators that interface with existing organizational processes. • Directional indicators specifying whether or not an organization is getting better. • Actionable indicators are sufficiently in an organization’s control to effect change. • Financial indicators used in performance measurement and when looking at an operating index. 2. Key performance indicators, in practical terms and for strategic development, are objectives to be targeted that will add the most value to an organization. (Robert D Austin, “Measuring and Managing Performance in Organization” 27 Nov 1996) IDENTIFYING INDICATORS OF ORGANIZATIONS Performance indicators differ from business/organizations drivers and aims (or goals). A school for example might consider the failure rate of its students as a key performance indicator which might help the school understand its position in the educational community, whereas a business/organization might consider the percentage of income/quality and standard of service delivered as a potential KPI. The key stages in identifying KPI are: • Having a pre-defined business/organizational process (BOP). • Having requirements for the BOP. • Having a quantitative & qualitative measurement of the results and comparison with set goals. • Investigating variances and tweaking processes or resources to achieve short-term goals. A KPI can follow the SMART criteria. This means the measure has a Specific purpose for the business, it is Measurable to really get a value of the KPI, the defined norms have to be Achievable, the improvement of a KPI has to be Relevant to the success of the organization, and finally it must be Time phased, which means the value or outcomes are shown for a predefined and relevant period. In order to be evaluated, KPIs are linked to target values, so that the value of the measure can be assessed as meeting expectations or not. With all that have been said above, KPI’s will remain indices without values unless strict compliance to ethics, rules and regulations are adhered to. WAY FORWARD Critical situations require critical solutions. The time is now for the leadership and supporting institutions to insist on making decisions without emotion or sentiment. To take up the challenge of redefining and refocusing the National KPI’s, and to ensure strict enforcement of discipline and sanctioning on any one who is found wanting without fear or favor