Minister urges professionals to get involved in politics

Professionals in the country have been urged to get actively involved in the political process that brings about government.

The Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Mr. Festus Keyamo, made the call while speaking at the 10th annual summit of the Association of Professional Bodies (APBN).

The minister, who bemoaned the lack of involvement of professionals in the political process, said it has robbed the country of the opportunity of their expertise in policy formation and implementation.

He said it is imperative that for national development to be orderly, progressive and qualitative professionals must be deployed to do what they do best especially as it concerns, programmes and projects of government.

The minister said under normal circumstances, government should employ the services of professionals to put together policies that will solve our problems and develop programmes and projects to bring the policies to life.

Keyamo, who was represented by his Special Assistant, Niyi Fatogun, said sadly, due to political interest and corruption, non professionals are deployed to handle government policies which usually lead to some of them failing.

He said: “In the real world, due to competing interest and the phenomenon called political patronage and perhaps corruption, non professionals are sometimes deployed to execute programmes and projects derived from well articulated policies. As a result, we have seen very good policies fail. Policies that work excellently in other climes.”

He also asked professionals in the country to position themselves strategically so as to make it easy to be called upon by the political class in their choice of leadership.

“For decades, we have heard professionals say the political process is too dirty for them. Yes, one can imagine in those days when a top notch professional will have to go to Ibadan to play the Amala and Gbegiri politics and get the blessings of the strongman of Molete in order to become an active asset in nation building. Most of us know what that blessing sometimes entails and are not ready to undergo it. It sounds ‘gross’ to put it in a common slang.

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“However, we must also realise that the policies and laws that drive our professional lives and make the society a better place for us and our profession is made by the politician who participates in the political process.

“The advantages to the country are also limitless. For one, the country gets at least two or more for the price of one, an administrator and a professional. It also means the professionalism deployed will make sure that the country gets value for its money. Policies formulated using professionals and programmes developed to bring those policies to life are better understood and better implemented. Professionalism in service will be the norm and so on and so forth,” he said.

Earlier, the President of the APBN, Mr. Akinloye Olufemi Oyegbola, said the level of development of any nation depicts the extent to which her professionals have been challenged in innovation, capability and capacity.

According to him, “We, in the APBN still believe that it is the professionals of a country that will develop it. It is in furtherance of this belief that we use the Summit of Professionals as one of the avenues for advocacy on the inherent responsibilities of professionals to the nation and our readiness to collaborate with governments at the three tiers in a well-coordinated manner for the much needed sustainable development.”

He expressed optimism that the annual Summit of Professionals and other advocacy instruments being deployed by APBN will pave the way for optimum utilization of the enormous potentials of the local professionals for a rapid growth.

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He said it is common knowledge that the country is passing through trying times, especially insecurity and the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the APBN President, while it may not be fair to assume that any well-meaning government will not be working towards stemming the challenges, the effect is taking too long to be felt by the citizenry.

He said: “The summit avails the professionals of our country especially those of the thirty foremost professional associations, which are members of the APBN, to come together to do an objective assessment of the state of affairs in the country from their own perspectives and deliberate on what needs to be done to take it to the next level.”

In his paper presentation, a security analyst, Senator Iroegbu, said the role of professionals is critical for national security, peace and development of any country including Nigeria.

According to him, what has set apart US, developed countries and emerging powers, especially China, is the greater use to put their security and defence professionals into Think-tank.

He said professionals in the security and defence sector could be utilised to bring the needed reforms in the sector, adding that they usually put round pegs in a round hole.

He said most of the inventions and innovations being used today in the military and civil space are championed by security professionals, but lamented that this important element of the society, which ought to be the engine for economic growth and development, security, peace and stability of Nigeria have not been fully engaged or involved.

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