Giving back to Nigeria: the opportunity scope for Politicians and retired Public Servants (ex-Diplomats, ex-Civil Servants, ex-Military, ex-Law Enforcement and ex-Intelligence Officers, etc.)

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The opportunity to serve Nigeria in any capacity of consequential decision-making would ordinarily bring benefits to the individual. When the right individual (competence, values, respect and love for fellow Nigerians and Nigeria), is given the opportunity to serve, a combination of competence and dedication to responsibility can bring immense positive impact.

Through your career in public service, you also acquire invaluable experience. This should contribute to expanding and deepening Nigeria’s knowledge and information bank for us to continuously refer to and draw from. Also, this presents new opportunities to politicians and retired public servants to remain actively involved in influencing and developing our communities, state and country.

This is the understanding in the famous words of John F. Kennedy. In his Inaugural Address delivered on the 20th of January 1961, after being sworn in as the 35th president of the United States of America, he said: “ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country”.

Those very words echo the missing link in Nigeria’s experiment. A Nigeria so uniting, so attracting and so important to every Nigerian to contribute our very best to safeguard and to make better. Those words offer thoughts that should be so profound to all Nigerians. Especially, to those Nigerians for whom Nigeria has already done so much. Nigerians who have occupied elected [high] offices and those who have been appointed and have served in senior positions of decision-making.

So, instead of just retiring into [or continuing] the politics as usual, in vicious cycles, why not give back to Nigeria and Nigerians in more important ways that you can. Investing your experience and resources in making Nigeria work better. Why not consider the following opportunities depending on your knowledge, expertise and experience, to impact Nigeria?

  • Senior fellow in any of our universities

This would provide opportunity to reflexively use your demonstrable experience to improve learning and shape understanding of undergraduate and postgraduate students. Helping them to align their thinking to solving Nigeria’s complex problems. This would also be an opportunity to mentor, provide leadership training and reinforce national values. You would be helping to mould Nigeria’s future leaders. This can be your most important contribution to nation building yet.

  • Establishment of your own Research Institute or Centre (as a standalone or affiliated to one of our universities)

This would be the opportunity to facilitate and participate in the design and conduct of important research for improved understand of the challenges that we face. To generate strong evidence from local data to interrogate existing policies and to inform culturally appropriate solutions. This would help to pull in research grants; provide opportunity to many young Nigerian Public Policy researchers; expand and deepen the evidence base; nurture a culture of intellectual debates on policy options; and contribute to nation building. It could provide greater fulfilment to researchers and sponsors.

  • Presidential Library

For a former President, a Presidential Library and Museum in your name, can be a trove of vital information on the politics and policies of your administration, to explain to Nigerians and the world, the contextual issues and the nuances, that are often missing in the conversations. It could serve as a place for mentoring, leadership training and research. It can also link other libraries in Nigeria and abroad. It should enable access to important academic resources and services. This can be a national treasure.

  • Foundation

This would be a charitable organisation which may have a singular or multiple area(s) of focus. The Foundation could partner and seek support from development partners to invest in early education and teaching, women and adolescent health, the needs of the elderly and veterans, etc. The opportunity for impact is huge.

  • Hosting or regular guest on TV and/or Radio Programme

When the content and presentation is apolitical, this can be a great platform to share experience and perspectives on social issues, economic policy, foreign policy, security, public sector transformation and other interconnected issues that continue to challenge us.

  • Newspaper columnists and blogs (can be online e.g. linked to a personal website, and can be animated)

This can be a massive opportunity to share your experience and perspectives, contrasting current with alternative policies, based on evidence. Such evidence may be from local data and/or data from other climes that are comparable to Nigeria. This can be a source for credible information that strengthens Nigerians and our community systems. When most Nigerians have accurate information that they need, they can demand better performance from Public Servants. Our elections would matter more. Our communities would be much better. Our democracy would be stronger. Your articles, blogs and animations can truly help to catalyse a better Nigeria for your children and grand-children. This would be the greatest gift of all. A peaceful and inspiring country where Nigerians can express themselves to their full potential and be happy. What better way of retiring to national service!

This is just a reminder of the various ways that you can continue to be relevant to nation building in and out of government. If you have given thoughtful consideration to our suggestions and unsure about how to start, please contact us. We will be happy to assist you to design a programme into which you can invest your time, experience and resources to optimise your impact. If you do not fall into this category, please share this article with dad, mum, uncle, aunt, cousin and elder citizens that you might know, to benefit them and to build our country.

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ANN Strategy and Public Enlightenment Unit 

Good governance │ Uniting Nigerians │ Investing in Nigerians │ Building Nigeria

Article by David Kieghe