The Nigerian society is under-going a rapid transition in addition to the inevitable and unusually gradual transformation processes that affect all social systems, the institutions economic, political, legal etc. of the Nigerian society, are being deliberately and hurriedly reformed to avoid the pitfalls of the past new decision programes are established and new strategic adopted all in an effort to achieve a social order.
One of the on-going strategies to do this is the reform introduced into the public sector by the office of the chief of General Staff (CGS) making the local government an effective third tier of the government. Usually, such reforms tend to point to one form of organizational crisis or another crisis were refers to an usual situation the outcome of which is uncertain or capable of generating conflict. With regards to the Nigerian public sector, it arises out of the inherent disposition of the system to distort the political and administrative processes by its decisions or operations. It also arises from situational uncertainties and inadequacies of an organization.
There could be power tussle, inadequate funds or time to execute all envisaged projects. Psychological disorientation of the populace / employee and its rejection of the reform. There could be also either a lack of understanding of the full implication of established programmes or a deliberate clinging to politics established primarily to protect institutionalized class relations. Any such crisis is capable of distorting the achievement of the desired objectives of the public sector. Part of the process of ensuring success in the achievement of goals of these public sector organization is to understand the dynamics of such crisis and apply appropriate remedies, provided that thee change motivators are genuine and determined.
It is a known fact that the understanding of the dynamics of crisis is lacking in the public sector of the Nigerian economy it is equally true that the Chief Executive and administrators in the public sector are involved in the management of crisis rather than in crisis management. From the foregoing, it is seen that there is no effective tool for crisis management in the Nigerian public sector because of its large size. It is pertinent that an organization within this sector is used as a reference point in order to limit the wideness of this study. The Enugu North Local Government (ENLG) has been chosen for proper representation of the public sector organization in the economy.
In this thesis, we intend to identify a few crisis situation that could hit ENLG and through the research, rank them in the order of their probability of occurring. I will then use the crisis with the highest probability, to develop a crisis management tool for organizations within the public sector of the Nigerian economy.
REVIEW ON RELATED LITERATURE
It is pertinent to note also that a few authors have written on local government administration in Nigeria. Fortunately, these authors have all in one way or the other emphasized instability in the local government system; even the local government reform stressed it. To us instability is a corollary of crisis. We shall then proceed to examine what these authors and the reforms had to say about instability and local government administration. Thereafter, we shall look at various seminar papers presented by experts on crisis management in various organizations and institutions.
Since Nigeria attained independence in 1960 from Britain, several attempts have been made to reorganize or reform the local government system in the country. One hallmark of such reforms proceeding that of 1976 was that each region or state carried out the reorganization its local government system in the way it deemed fit since local government because a regional subject under the 1951 Nigeria constitution. It was therefore not possible to talk of on single system of local government reform prevailing in the country.
The 1976 local government reform broke with the past practice by attempting to evolve for the country a uniform system of local government with minor variations. A major aim of their reform was to stabilize and rationalize government at the local level. In the guideline, federal government emphasizes that responsibilities should be clearly defined and that local government should have adequate financial resources to meet their obligations which are mainly to stimulate developments at the grass root .
According to Egonwam, although the 1976 local government reforms in Nigeria aimed at decentralizing more power to local bodies, the implementation of the reform, tended to foster centralization of power and authority. To him, this meant that the strategies of implementation chosen could be significantly responsible for centralization as they were influenced by both political and administrative processes lending to unanticipated policy outcome of creating ineffective local government with adequate functions,revenue skilled
Another area of instability in the public sector with reference to the local governments is its inadequate financial base. In Nigeria the 1979 constitution of the federal republic accepted local government as a third tier of government like in most countries of the world, local government in Nigeria have five (5) easily discernible sources of revenue open to them. These includes: grants, local tax rate or property tax, fees and charges and loans.
The 1990 federal government revenue allocation formula stipulates that local government are entitled to fifteen percent (15%) of revenue accruable to the federal government and another fifteen (15%) of the internally generated revenue of the state government.
Of course these are in addition to finance from traditional internal sources – local revenue. However, the amount internally generated by each of the local government councils is usually very small. These local government are therefore in a situation where they depend almost entirely on the federal and state governments for funds for the performance of their statutory functions.
In his book local government finance in Nigeria, Bello Imam contended that a “function of this paternalism is the financial uncertainty and instability of local government in the country”.
Finally, the local government must endeavor to live within their means because they are infra-sovereign political entities.
Enworom, writing on management of industrial crisis said “it may be necessary sometimes to try to incorporate cultural tradition into the management of industrial crisis rather than adopting the Bismarkian consent that is not the vote of the majority, but by iron and blood that difficult matters are decided” At one time, an ex-chancellor, supposed to be the father of the so called German economic miracle, declared “that the economy determines the fate of man”. Unionist could but agree, but argued that if the economy is man’s fate, it is man’s democratic right to participate directly in deciding his fate. This reminds us that participative management and good communication between employers and employees will definitely minimize conflicts and create a better forum for quick and timely grievance settlement. In summarizing his paper Enworom advised that prevention is better than cure. He maintained that “it is better to present grievances from arising than to solve them once they have arisen”. This advice from Enworom obviously advocates crisis management which is bone of this study rather than management of crisis.
Inyang Eteng, of the university of port Harcourt writing on crisis management in Nigeria university raise the following thought provoking questions:
(i)Why does the crisis in Nigeria universities seem to defy solution?
(ii)Why is it that orgies of restriction, dismissals, forced retirements, harassments, detentions and campus massacres, security surveillance, etc all of which have been tried by the state and various governments in office; unable to resolve the crisis once and for all.
(iii)Why have the universities themselves failed to address the issue. With all the faculties of behavioural sciences available at their disposal?
(iv)Why in particular, does the nation seem completely brow-beaten by this crisis?
To him, Eteng opines that “answers to these questions is that the crisis has generally been misconstrued and ill defined, with the result that is wrong and inefficacious policies and programmes which compound the crisis have been formulated and implemented”. This answer brings us to the need for crisis capability audit in every organization.
In his paper presented to FRCN, Rex Ugorji says however for the crisis capability audit to be performed it should answer those questions relating to that organizations ability to deal with sudden disruption.
These questions will include:
(i)How well will it manage crisis if one arises?
(ii)To what extent can an organization detect crisis at the early stage?
(iii)To what degree will it benefit from a crisis after it has passed?
To achieve positive results as regards the questions above a crisis team becomes imperative. This team should be composed of people who are specially suited to getting things done. To Ugorji, they should frequently contact be in closed proximity and work well together (ie group cohesion). Each member should be prepared to forego his normal routine and outside interests during a crisis and all should be very well compensated.
Training of the crisis team is of paramount importance as raw-talent will not suffice. Since there are no formal training centres to teach these skill in the country, it will be necessary that each organization design its own programmes. If for nothing else, the team should be intimately familiar with the crisis.
Crisis periods in organization should not be a time to apportion blames to organizations members. It is time for self examination. In support of Ugorji’s view Ezeilo of university of Nigeria, Nsukka, in her paper on family crisis, says “It is also important to accept that each member of the family has contributed in one way or another to the crisis”. The step in any crisis situation therefore, is the awareness of such crisis, acceptance of the fact that the organization is in crisis and self examination by members of the organization.