The School of Politics, Policy and Governance (SPPG) is no doubt changing the course of leadership in Nigeria and Africa as a whole by grooming disruptive leaders.
SPPG is an unconventional school of the research-anchored #FixPolitics initiative that is designed to transform the quality of political and public leadership in Nigeria and the rest of Africa. The innovative leadership school is invested in developing a massive pipeline of value-based and disruptive thinking political-class equipped with the requisite knowledge, skills, and mindset to solve complex leadership problems to reposition Africa in the 21st Century.
Undoubtedly the world suffers from the rapid emergence of a complex myriad of political, social and economic problems that require a leadership revolution to solve. The “normal” that societies once knew no longer exists with global risks like health pandemics, financial and economic crises, climate change, political upheavals within and between countries and on the other hand the opportunities of revolutionary technologies and innovations. The rapidly materializing and future risks and opportunities instruct a sharper focus on political and public leadership.
Nowhere is 21st Century quality leadership most relevant than Africa and best exemplified by the SPPG which commenced in Nigeria in 2020 with an Africa-wide focus that starts by establishing the School in Senegal in 2023 as well as 6 other countries afterwards. The 10-month long multidisciplinary and unconventional curriculum spans topics on politics, ethical leadership, strategic management, gender, equity and social inclusion, economics and economic policy, human capital development, technology and development, trade, sectoral issues for accelerating development, environment and climate change, security, transparency, accountability, good governance, and institution’s building.
The SPPG has a strong tradition of evidence-based governance which is rooted in the findings of the #FixPolitics research by Dr Obiageli Ezekwesili as Richard von Weicker Fellow at the Robert Bosch Academy. Empirically, the study concluded that the dismal performance of public leadership in Africa is the primary cause of the classic “paradox of plenty” whereby the continent with abundance of natural and human resources is also the poorest, lagging behind other regions on every measurable indicator of human and economic development.
The Berlin based Academy published the findings of Ezekwesili’s research that “politics in Nigeria and other African countries are in serious need of fundamental structural and systemic change through innovative measures to correct the poor quality of governance that has been delivered over several decades since the countries became independent”. The research further states that “for Africa to take full advantage of the efficiencies and huge opportunities of the 21st Century technological revolution to speed up the development ladder, tackle mass poverty, and catch up with other prosperous regions of the world, the politics must be corrected”.
Ezekwesili’s research also established that there exists an entrenched political culture which mirrors the traits of monopolists whereby politicians’ public servants in Africa tend to inherently subvert the public good by elevating personal and parochial interests above the collective well-being of citizens without fear of consequences. This distortion of public leadership is at the center of the underperformance of Africa on all global development rankings of governance. In other words, “Africa’s governance is bad because the politics which fundamentally distorts incentives is bad”.
In 2020, a “community of practice” made up of over 100 ethical and mission-driven Nigerians from a diversity of professional endeavors, political persuasions, regions and religions were invited by the researcher to help execute the findings and solutions proposed by the research. The solutions which are framed as a Triangular Pillars of Democracy supported the grouping of the Work Study Groups – WSG- into 1, 2 and 3 with the members taking responsibility to execute the triad of corrective solutions proposed by the research.
Since 2020, the #FixPolitics Work Study Groups 1, 2 and 3 have continued to deliver the research solutions systematically and simultaneously across 3 thematic pillars:
Emerge an enlightened and empowered electorate with increased influence to determine political outcomes in elections and good governance subsequently.
Establish a public leadership laboratory to raise a new values-based, competent and capable genre of political and public class through a world-class leadership development system and;
Lead sustained public campaign to reform the regulatory context of politics including the constitutional, electoral and institutional environment.
In what Ezekwesili refers to as the cycle of research- ideation-design-execution, the SPPG, School of Politics, Policy and Governance was founded as the core vehicle for the #FixPolitics solution that raises a new political and public leadership class to mark a disruption- that is, a radical departure from the perverted status quo. The curriculum and related programs of the SPPG were empirically generated and designed to teach and reverse the current distorted political culture by filling the gaps in character, competence and capacity learning of public Nigeria’s and ultimately the rest of Africa’s public leadership. The SPPG the goal of transforming politics in Nigeria and the rest of Africa, by building a massive base and pipeline of a new value-based and disruptive thinking political class with the requisite knowledge and skills to lead effectively.
Since the inception of the SPPG it has graduated 160 disruptive-thinking leaders with character, competence and capacity as the Pioneer Class of 2021. It will on 8 October, 2022, graduate 133 leaders in the Class of 2022. Further compelling admiration is the rapid realization of the SPPG’s unique culture of “from-idea -to-execution” that was recently factually exemplified by the five SPPG students who won their primary elections across various political parties to emerge as candidates in the 2023 elections.
With these developments, analysts are starting to predict that the mission of the SPPG will be a major game-change in the democracy, politics, governance and development of Nigeria and Africa at large. As the SPPG organically grows the graduating size of the class of the new political class of disruptive-thinking leaders who serve for the common good of citizens to 500 annually, there will come a time when the values and ideals of School’s leadership preparation model becomes permanently embedded in the nations and Africa’s politics. Perhaps it is time to dare to hope that we are finally on the path that can solve our legendary leadership crisis with the lasting benefit of achieving economic development for all citizens.