June 12, 2009

Bad leadership hinders MDGs, health sector, says Cleric

By Chinyere Amalu

ABUJA—The inability of Nigerian Government to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGS), especially in health sector by 2015, has been attributed to poor leadership and uncoordinated systems in the country.

Also with the end of Enabling HIV/AIDS, TB and Social Sector Environment (ENHANSE) and Community Participation for Action in the Social Sector (COMPASS) five years project in Nigeria, the Federal Government is faced with the challenge of continuity
in offering quality health care to the citizens, especially those at the grassroots.

In his presentation “Call to Acton” at the Joint-End-of-Projects Dissemination of ENHANSE and (COMPASS) yesterday in Abuja, Rev. Fr. George Ehusani said Nigeria government is operating in a system where there is no system in place.

According to him, if Nigeria wants sustainable health polices, it can incorporate methods used by the two organisations to already exiting structures on ground, adding that the call for extension of ENHANSE and COMPASS projects in Nigeria by various government institutions is an indictment to the present administration.

“We are operating in a system where institutions are built on laws that are not obeyed. What we have in this country is a system where institution doesn’t work, where there is no system in place, where one person comes and starts a programme and when he leaves the system collapses.

“Look at the whole areas of first ladies and their various projects; there is no continuity in their programmes. So there is no system in place. Like I said the various polices that ENHANS and COMPASS helped to develop, are polices that should have been developed by the ministry of National planning.

“What I am saying is that rather than asking for the extension of their programmes, we should copy from them and establish our own system. The missing link is the corruption in our system; they are not able to be so corrupt in implementing U.S.A projects because there are lots of sanctions in place. The truth is that we have leadership problem in this system”, added Rev. Ehusani.

In his remark, Chief of Party ENHANSE, Dr. Jerome Mafeni, said that for Nigeria to tackle the MDGs effectively and to achieve success “we have to really target the bulk of our national resources and efforts at the base of the economy. But the reality is that the system we currently operate for governance in Nigeria is the system where the bulk of all the resources are concentrated at the apex”.

He added, “And the idea is that the apex has more capacity to control and coordinate, and so those resources suppose to filter round the apex down to the community. This is the paradigm that we have been operating for several decades and it is not working.

“And those are the challenges we are having with the MDGs, and until we change the system and begin to redirect the bulk of our national development resources directly to where they will make most impact we will continue to have the challenges”.