The government of the United Kingdom has said on Monday that it is difficult to entrench development in a country like Nigeria, if the hindrances posed by some civil servants and government officials are left unchecked by the federal administration.
UK High Commissioner, Catriona Laing disclosed this during Nigeria’s Mid-Term Ministerial Performance Retreat, while sharing lessons about how UK former prime minister, Tony Blair was able to deliver on his campaign promises.
Among other things, Laing explained that it was possible for a person to satisfy his or her personal interest as against the corporate goal of an administration or nation, thereby frustrating the implementation of democratic principles.
While not elaborating on what those barriers are, Laing said that the Nigerian government, like Blair, should tackle the excesses of anyone whose interest conflicts with the general well-being of Nigerians, be they civil servant or government officials.
“My third lesson seems to be one of the real barriers to delivery. Where are those blockages, I’m afraid we have to confront it when those barriers are the interest of politicians, bureaucrats, the culture of the civil service; it happens everywhere.
We boxed into this at Tony Blair’s delivery unit, you have to tackle it head on, they are to the heart of the barriers. So I would encourage you to be bold on them,” she said.
She further urged the current administration of President Muhammadu Buhari to be accountable to Nigerians.
“Nigerian people are the bedrock of your democracy and democracy is not just about elections, it is about accountability to the people,” she said.
She lauded the government for the retreat but advised that whatever strategy is being adopted, translating it into delivery is where the bulk of the work lies.
Laing added that “the UK believes in Nigeria and her potential.”
The retreat is geared towards reviewing the implementation of President Buhari’s agenda.