Thursday 21 November 2019


I was at Liberty Radio 103.3FM Abuja on the 20th of November 2019. The LEAD Radio Show is the initiative of Savannah Centre for Diplomacy, Democracy & Development (SCDDD). 'SCDDD is an authoritative NGO committed to research, advocacy training and policy analysis in the areas of conflict prevention, management, democracy and sustainable development in Nigeria and Africa. It was founded in 1993 by Prof. Ibrahim Agboola Gambari, OCORT, CFR; a renowned scholar and seasoned Diplomat, former Nigeria's Foreign Affairs Minister and former UN Under-Secretary General for Political Affairs. SCDDD began full operation in 2014...' (Source: SCDDD Pillar Series Manual on Leadership Effectiveness & Accountability Dialogue - LEAD). LEAD is a flagship Project of SCDDD. I was invited to the LEAD Radio Show to speak about 'Character & Ethics in Public Service'.

            Photos below: Dr. Dayo Oluyemi-Kusa in the studio of Liberty Radio 103.3FM


With the impressive pedigree of the Founder of SCDDD, it is not surprising that the Centre is making positive impact in Nigeria and beyond. Lest I forget, a tree cannot make a forest. Therefore, the day-to-day running of SCDDD is in the capable hands of the Executive Director, Ambassador Abdullahi Omaki, ably supported by eminent professionals. Did I digress from the content of the particular Radio Show in which I featured? Let's get back on track.

The LEAD Project has 7 pillars:

1) Political Party Funding & Primary Elections
2) Character & Values in the Public Sector & Governance
3) Fostering Citizen-Government Collaboration
4) Legislative Oversight & Social Auditing
5) Effective Governance & Funding Mechanism in Nigeria
6) Recruitment into Public Office & Remuneration
7) Freedom of Information & The Media

I was in the studio to discuss Pillar number 2: Character & values in the public sector. I made it clear that in an environment where you watch your superiors cart away looted funds, it is very difficult to preach about good character and values in the public sector. It is good on paper, but in reality some things need to change. The lowliest worker should be entitled to a living wage. A situation where it has taken so long to review and actually pay the minimum wage from N18,000 to N30,000 is unacceptable. The workers know what legislators and other highly placed government officials earn. In my opinion, the salary of the highest paid worker in any establishment should not be more than ten times that of the janitor.

Besides, the selection process into the political class should be overhauled, starting from transparency in Political Party Primaries. There should always be credible elections, where violence is unheard of and the vote of the average citizen counts. There should be no discrimination on the basis of gender or any other consideration. Politics determines the economy. When political decisions do not positively affect the lives of the people, then the economy follows suite.

For us to restore values into the public service, a national re-orientation needs to occur. The National Orientation Agency has a huge role to play in this regard. The family, also has a role to play in this regard. Most lifetime values are picked up from the home. The schools need to teach morals via civic education, so that by the time the individual becomes a Public Officer, he/she is appalled by corruption and similar negative behaviour.

Two principles that need to be upheld for the Public Officer to deliver the greatest good to the greatest number are:

*'Do no harm' which implies that you do not leave the situation worse than you met it.
*The principle of 'Pareto Optimality' says every intervention should  improve the life of at least one citizen in that community. Related qualities for the Public Officer are trustworthiness, respect, responsibility. fairness. caring/empathy and citizenship/patriotism.

A major aspect of character is the temperament of the individual. There are four major temperaments:

1) Sanguine - Enthusiastic, active and sociable.
2) Choleric - Short-tempered, fast and irritable.
3) Melancholic - Analytical, wise and quiet.
4) Phlegmatic - Relaxed and peaceful.

Different Public Officers have at least one or more of these four types of temperament. The temperament could affect his/her character and by extension values in the course of his/her work. On the whole, we should remember what Montague said: 'It is not human nature, but human nurture that is the cause of human aggression'. My opinion is different from Montague's. I believe both the nature and nurturing of the individual affect behaviour. Hence the nature and nurture of the average Public Officer would determine his/her character and values.

                                   Photo above: Publicity poster for the Lead Radio Show

May we have more men and women whose nature and nurture engrain in their DNA the positive attributes that would make them effective, efficient, empathic, emotionally intelligent, incorruptible, diligent, patriotic, selfless and indeed believe in a higher being. However, I have a critical observation that could improve future editions of  The LEAD Radio Show. Special guests like me should be allotted more time to speak. That is why we are labelled 'Special Guests'. Since the 'Analyst' is a member of staff of SCDDD, he should just listen and go and do the required analysis in the office. That's my token two kobo.

Kudos to SCDDD for this wonderful initiative. The discourse continues every Wednesday at 4pm on Liberty Radio 103.3FM...

15th March 2022

The Validation Workshop for the LEAD Project desk review was held in Abuja on the 15th of March, 2022. Five groups discussed the desk reviewed national documents. The documents are: The National Political Reforms Conference Main Report 2005 & The National Conference 2014 Main Report. The documents were to distill 'common actionable recommendations or plans towards attaining genuine national reconciliation, healing, cohesion and revival' of our country, Nigeria.


                                                   Dr. Dayo Oluyemi-Kusa @ the workshop

The five groups discussed the following themes:

*National Development
*National Security
*Electoral Reform
*Fight Against Corruption

I believe what each group came up with useful suggestions that could guide SCDDD's 'Council of the Wise' as regards their interventions when they tour various parts of Nigeria to engender reconciliation and peaceful co-existence...  

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