Nigeria

Isaac Adewole

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K
Focus Area(s)
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1
Critical Tasks
Country of Reform
Interviewers
Leon Schreiber
Name
Isaac Adewole
Interviewee's Position
Former Prime Minister of Health, Nigeria
Language
Emglish
Nationality of Interviewee
Nigerian
Town/City
Abuja
Country
Date of Interview
Reform Profile
No
Abstract

In his interview with ISS, Issac Adewole discusses his term as Nigeria’s health minister (November 2015-May 2019), especially his role in the Basic Health Care Provision Fund. He explains how his ministry worked with others to create a transparent financial management system. He also discusses how the project was implemented throughout Nigeria and the challenges of designing a program involving many central government and state agencies in Nigeria’s federal system of government.

Profile

Dr. Isaac Adewole is a professor of gynecology and obstetrics at the University of Ibadan and the former minister of health of Nigeria. He served as part of the Cabinet of President Muhammadu Buhari from 2015 to 2019. As minister of health, he took a leading role in the implementation of the Basic Health Care Provision Fund. Prior to his appointment, he served as vice chancellor of the University of Ibadan.

Kayode Idowu

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Focus Area(s)
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3
Country of Reform
Interviewers
Gabriel Kuris and Rahmane Idrissa
Name
Kayode Idowu
Interviewee's Position
Chief Press Secretary
Interviewee's Organization
Attahiru Jega
Country
Date of Interview
Reform Profile
No
Abstract

In this interview, Kayode Idowu describes his role as Chief Press Secretary for Attahiru Jega, chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). He explains the transparency and accountability that Jega has brought to INEC through changes such as maintaining open, honest communication with the media and taking responsibility for problems as they arise. For instance, Idowu recounts the delay in the April 2ndelections, explaining that INEC chose to postpone elections rather than use non-official result sheets that were not secure.  He also comments on how the rise of social media has changed media relations, making both INEC and the conventional media more accountable. Idowu discusses his experiences handling the public relations surrounding election violence, distinguishing the security aspects from the electoral aspects of the issue. In response to election violence, INEC initiated cooperative efforts with security agencies; Idowu describes this process as well as INEC’s communication and cooperation with other groups, including Parties, civil society, and the State Electoral Committees. Throughout the interview, Idowu explains how his background in print media helps him understand and relate to the media with whom he works. 

Profile

At the time of this interview Kayode Idowu was serving as the Chief Press Secretary to Attahiru Jega, the chairman of the commission. Jega recruited Idowu in July of 2010 from his post as deputy editor of The Nation. Idowu previously served as editor of the SaturdayPunch, deputy editor of the SaturdayThis Day, and chief sub editor ofThe Guardian. He is also a former Saturday editor of the now-defunct The Comet.

 

Muhammed Lawal Uwais

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Ref Batch Number
11
Country of Reform
Interviewers
Itumeleng Makgetla
Name
Muhammed Lawal Uwais
Interviewee's Position
Former Chief Justice and Chairman of the Electoral Reforms Committee
Interviewee's Organization
Nigeria
Language
English
Nationality of Interviewee
Nigerian
Town/City
Abuja
Country
Date of Interview
Reform Profile
Yes
Abstract

Muhammed Lawal Uwais explains the efforts made to implement judicial reform in Nigeria when he was chief justice. He goes into detail about the funding base for the judiciary and the problems encountered at the state level in improving this funding, and its implications for judicial reform and the responsiveness of the government. He discusses the need for more judges due to increased caseloads and its budgetary needs. He also talks about judicial integrity and the need to eliminate bribery, corruption, nepotism and political interference within the judicial system. As part of the judicial reform process, he cites training in computers and efforts to computerize the court system. He explains the need for the courts to become more open to the public such as through complaint boxes and education on the role of judges within the legal system. Finally he talks about overcoming the challenges posed by people ingrained in the old system of bribery and corruption, and the methods of recruiting new talent in an effort to purge the system of those people.

Profile

Muhammed Lawal Uwais served as chief justice of Nigeria and as chairman of the Electoral Reforms Committee. His involvement in the Nigerian judicial system began in the 1960s.  He held various positions within the judicial system before becoming chief justice, such as state counsel and senior state counsel. He worked in the Court of Appeal for 16 years. He studied at the Institute of Administration, Ahmadu Bello University, and the University of London and Inn of Court, School of Law.

Full Audio File Size
89.8MB
Full Audio Title
Muhammed Lawal Uwais-Full Interview

Ade Ipaye

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6
Country of Reform
Interviewers
Graeme Blair
Name
Ade Ipaye
Interviewee's Position
Special Adviser
Interviewee's Organization
Taxation and Revenue
Language
English
Nationality of Interviewee
Nigerian
Town/City
Lagos
Country
Date of Interview
Reform Profile
No
Abstract

Ade Ipaye explains the key reforms that he implemented in the Lagos state tax agency in Nigeria. In response to the agency’s inefficiency, Governor Bola Tinubu established an autonomous Lagos Internal Revenue Service. Ipaye discusses how a strict code of ethics and capacity-building programs improved the staff’s accountability and efficiency. In addition, he explains the role of performance bonuses in motivating the staff. He also elaborates on how an automated tax system helped curb corruption and prevent revenue leakage. He discusses the significance of tax campaigns that involved meetings with self-employed professionals and members of the informal sector to encourage them to pay taxes for development purposes, and as a part of their constitutional, religious and moral obligation.    

Profile

At the time of this interview, Ade Ipaye was the special adviser for taxation and revenue in Lagos, Nigeria. He previously worked as a legal practitioner and was senior lecturer in the department of commercial and industrial law and sub-dean of law at the University of Lagos. In 2001, he joined the Lagos state government, serving in the legal division before his appointment to the position he held in 2009.

Full Audio File Size
63 MB
Full Audio Title
Ade Ipaye - Full Interview

Babatunde Fashola

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12
Country of Reform
Interviewers
Graeme Blair
Name
Babatunde Fashola
Interviewee's Position
Governor
Interviewee's Organization
State of Lagos, Nigeria
Language
English
Nationality of Interviewee
Nigerian
Town/City
Lagos
Country
Date of Interview
Reform Profile
Yes
Abstract

Babatunde Fashola describes an overhaul of the tax collection system in Lagos that successfully increased revenue for the state and indirectly financed various other reforms.  He secured public support for the overhaul after revealing the corruption in the previous tax agency through an orchestrated, public sting operation, which revealed that corrupt officials sold fraudulent tax documents on the street. He replaced the old tax agency with a smaller internal revenue service staffed by no-contract employees governed by performance incentives rather than state civil-service workers. The new service better enforced existing tax requirements and expanded the taxpayer base by introducing a simplified, single-page tax form for informal businesses.  

Case Study:  Remaking a Neglected Megacity: A Civic Transformation in Lagos State, 1999-2012

Profile

At the time of this interview, Babatunde Fashola was the governor of the Nigerian state of Lagos.  He previously served on the Lagos State Executive Council, State Security Council, Treasury Board, and as chief of staff for the former governor of Lagos.  He received a law degree from the University of Benin, after which he worked at a private Nigerian law firm for more than decade, dealing with mergers and acquisitions, intellectual property and commercial law.

Full Audio File Size
72 MB
Full Audio Title
Babatunde Fashola - Full Interview

Bola Tinubu

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Focus Area(s)
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13
Country of Reform
Interviewers
Graeme Blair
Name
Bola Tinubu
Interviewee's Position
Former Governor
Interviewee's Organization
State of Lagos, Nigeria
Language
English
Nationality of Interviewee
Nigerian
Town/City
Lagos
Country
Date of Interview
Reform Profile
Yes
Abstract
Bola Tinubu, former governor of the state of Lagos in Nigeria, reflects on his administration’s successes in reforming the civil service, reducing corruption, and improving state infrastructure.  He details the process he went through to reform the state government, from the waste management system to financial mismanagement within the public sector.  Tinubu lays out the steps he took to improve incentives for civil servants, including salary increases, improving quality and hygiene of working environments, and teaching investment principles and how to work toward home ownership.  His payroll-system reforms removed thousands of ghost workers from the system.  Tinubu explains how he applied principles he learned in the corporate world to the public sector reform effort.  Tinubu also details the steps he took in removing endemic corruption in the public sector, which included eliminating cash payments to the government.  He discusses how he brought back expatriates to improve the hospitals and transportation system.  He also touches on the difficulties in working with a federal government that sometimes undermined reform efforts.
 
Profile
Bola Tinubu served as governor of the state of Lagos from 1999 to 2007, during which he initiated reforms that improved the efficiency of the civil service and improved infrastructure.  He served from 1992 to 1993 as a senator until the end of the Nigerian Third Republic.  Prior to entering politics he worked in the private sector for companies including Arthur Andersen and Deloitte, Haskins, & Sells.  He was also an executive of Mobil Oil Nigeria.  After Tinubu left politics, he became active in negotiations to unite Nigeria’s opposition parties and in pushing for electoral reforms.   He earned a bachelor’s degree from Chicago State University in business administration in 1979.  He holds the tribal aristocratic title of asiwaju, given to him by the Oba of Lagos, who holds a ceremonial position as traditional leader of the state of Lagos.
Full Audio File Size
71 MB
Full Audio Title
Bola Tinubu - Full Interview

Ahmed Makarfi

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Ref Batch Number
8
Country of Reform
Interviewers
Itumeleng Makgetla
Name
Ahmed Makarfi
Interviewee's Position
Senator and Chairman
Interviewee's Organization
Kaduna North
Language
English
Nationality of Interviewee
Nigerian
Town/City
Abuja
Country
Date of Interview
Reform Profile
No
Abstract
Senator Ahmed Makarfi of Kaduna North in Nigeria recounts his experiences using reform to diffuse clashes that took place over the implementation of Sharia law in 2000. He discusses the process of mediating issues in mixed Christian and Muslim communities, particularly clearing up misconceptions in Christian communities about whether such laws would apply to them. He also addresses the implementation of a system to officially recognize the traditional leaders of communities within Kaduna North and to facilitate cooperation between traditional leaders and local and state government. Makarfi also offers insights into the judicial and legal reforms that led to a tripartite legal system comprising common law, Sharia law, and customary law for specific communities.  He then discusses the capacity building problems facing Nigeria and what reforms were undertaken to address these gaps. Finally, Makarfi focuses on his belief in inclusiveness, openness of government and accessibility as a key part of both conflict resolution and service delivery.    
Profile
At the time of this interview, Ahmed Makarfi was serving as senator for Kaduna North, Kaduna State, Nigeria, as a member of the People’s Democratic Part (PDP). Makarfi has been involved in Nigerian politics for over 15 years and served as governor of Kaduna State for two four-year terms starting in 1999. He has also served on the Kaduna State Executive Council as State Commissioner for Finance and Economic Planning, and on the board of Trustees at the Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution. Makarfi also has a bachelors in accounts and a masters of science degree in accounts and finance.
Full Audio File Size
97 MB
Full Audio Title
Senator Ahmed Makarfi Interview

Dapo Olorunyomi

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9
Country of Reform
Interviewers
Itumeleng Makgetla
Name
Dapo Olorunyomi
Interviewee's Position
Chief of Staff
Interviewee's Organization
Nigeria's Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)
Language
English
Nationality of Interviewee
Nigerian
Town/City
Abuja
Country
Date of Interview
Reform Profile
No
Abstract
Dapo Olorunyomi discusses his work as chief of staff for Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). He details the evolution of the EFCC’s work with different segments of Nigerian society and focuses on the role of community and media outreach in the EFCC’s anticorruption work. Olorunyomi particularly focuses on the role of religious groups and leaders in supporting anti-corruption efforts, as well as engaging public figures and celebrities to endorse the commission’s work. He also discusses strategies for working with local government officials. Olorunyomi also touches on staff training and retention issues, the political tensions that were sparked when the commission targeted politicians, and the necessity of looking beyond Nigeria’s borders for inspiration and lessons.
 
Profile
At the time of this interview, Dapo Olorunyomi was the enterprise editor at Next Newspapers and executive director of the Wole Soyinka Center for Investigative Journalism. He served as chief of staff of Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission from 2005 until he left the EFCC after Chairman Nuhu Ribadu’s dismissal in 2008. He also worked on Ribadu’s 2011 presidential campaign.  Olorunyomi worked as a journalist and human rights activist in Nigeria during the military regime of Sani Abacha before moving to the United States, where he worked as the Nigeria Project Director for Freedom House. He returned to Nigeria in 2005 in order to work for the EFCC.  He has won numerous awards for his work in journalism, including the PEN Freedom to Write Award in 1996 and the International Editors Award in 1995.
Full Audio File Size
76 MB
Full Audio Title
Dapo Olorunyomi Interview

Dora Akunyili

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1
Country of Reform
Interviewers
Itumeleng Makgetla
Name
Dora Akunyili
Interviewee's Position
Director General
Interviewee's Organization
National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, Nigeria
Language
English
Nationality of Interviewee
Nigeria
Town/City
Abuja
Country
Date of Interview
Reform Profile
Yes
Abstract

Dora Akunyili describes the eight years she spent serving as the director general (DG) of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC). Recounting the circumstances of her appointment, Akunyili highlights the tensions surrounding her ascension to the position. From there, she identifies the major challenges she encountered in trying to fulfill her responsibilities as DG, emphasizing the corruption and conflicts of interest that can impede any attempt to address food and drug related problems. She further talks of the many threats to her personal safety and family she faced in the course of her work, and goes on to provide information about the destruction of NAFDAC facilities by those she was targeting. Akunyili describes how, by gradually winning the bolstering confidence and trust of both the Nigerian people and government, creating extensive awareness about drug counterfeiting, and pursuing the counterfeiters with an unwavering dedication to the cause, she and her colleagues significantly reduced the problems of drug and food control that had had significant repercussions in Nigeria. Akunyili stresses the importance of never compromising one's ideals and "selling out" to the very people one is looking to put behind bars, and concludes by emphasizing the importance of dedicated and honest leadership in the success of any effective institutional reform.

Profile

At the time of this interview, Dora Nkem Akunyili was the minister of the Federal Ministry of Information and Communication in Nigeria. She was appointed to this position in December 2008. Prior to this appointment, she was the director general of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) for nearly eight years, taking office in April 2001. As director general, Akunyili was an integral part of the campaign that worked tirelessly and with significant success for the eradication of counterfeit drugs and unsafe food in Nigeria. A pharmacist before becoming a governmental administrator, Akunyili was a senior lecturer and a consultant pharmacologist in the College of Medicine at the University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN) until her appointment as director general. She was also the zonal secretary of Petroleum Special Trust Fund (PTF) for four years. She has received international recognition and numerous accolades for her work in pharmacology, public health, and human rights, including a Grassroots Human Rights Campaigner Award by International Service in 2005.

Full Audio File Size
28 MB
Full Audio Title
Dora Akunyili - Full Interview

Obadiah Mailafia

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Focus Area(s)
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7
Critical Tasks
Country of Reform
Interviewers
Itumeleng Makgetla
Name
Obadiah Mailafia
Interviewee's Position
Director
Interviewee's Organization
Center for Policy and Economic Research
Language
English
Nationality of Interviewee
Nigerian
Town/City
Abuja
Country
Date of Interview
Reform Profile
Yes
Abstract

Obadiah Mailafia recounts his experiences as the deputy governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, where he was responsible for monetary policy, statistics, economic analysis and relations with regional and international institutions.  His governorship came at a time of financial flux in the country, and Mailafia participated and led a number of progressive reforms.  The three that he emphasizes were the consolidation of the banking system, the establishment of a policy support instrument in conjunction with the International Monetary Fund, and the negotiations with the Paris Club for debt relief.  These reforms, in particular the consolidation and overhaul of the banking system, met strong and sometimes violent resistance, but reformers attempted to maintain public support by maintaining openness and transparency, engaging with the press along the way.  The reform was nonetheless slow and was susceptible to cults of personality, corruption and changes in government that left efforts vulnerable to backfire or failure.  Mailafia also identifies areas of the Nigerian civil service that require training and capacity building, particularly information technology and statistics services as well as leadership training.  He credits much of the central bank's success to the open and team-like community he cultivated with his employees, whom he describes as the brightest in the civil service.

Profile

At the time of this interview, Obadiah Mailafia was the director of the Center for Policy and Economic Research, a Nigerian macroeconomics and public policy think tank that he founded.  Mailafia studied economics at the Institut International d’Administration Publique (of l’École Nationale d’Administration) in France, and went on to earn his doctorate in economic development and international relations at Oriel College of Oxford.  He taught at the American University of London and at Regent’s Business School before he joined the African Development Bank, first in Côte d’Ivoire and then Tunisia.  He received the Mamoun Beheiry Award for distinguished service to the ADB Group.  In 2005, Mailafia was invited back to his native Nigeria to serve as the deputy governor of the central bank, a post that he held until 2007.  He was briefly a senior policy adviser to the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria with the rank of Minister of State.  After this interview, Mailafia was appointed chief of staff at the Secretariat of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States in Brussels.

Full Audio File Size
66 MB
Full Audio Title
Obadiah Mailafia Interview