Phillips Consulting (PCL.), Nigeria’s foremost business and management consulting firm, used the monthly breakfast meeting of the Nigerian-South African Chamber of commerce (NSACC) as a platform to announce the birth of a strong alliance/partnership between Lagos and Ogun State Government. The Governors of both States fleshed out the modalities of the agreement and committed to formalising the agreement in a few days.
Phillips Consulting. (PCL). is proudly indigenous management, business and digital technology consulting firm with over 27 years’ experience in helping to build sustainable businesses and governments delivery units across Nigeria and Africa. Phillips Consulting. (PCL.) has supported several private and public organisations including the Lagos and Ogun State Government with the implementation of several initiatives and projects.
In Nigeria, there have not been many strategic partnerships both in the private and public space, so as a result, we rather have several small siloed businesses and short-lived enterprises. However, the current challenges in the business community have created the imperative for collaboration and partnerships in the private and public sectors.
The partnership is an age-long concept that has yielded tremendous benefits to the business community. Today, the concept of partnership has grown to include and benefit not just private businesses but also public enterprises and government alike.
The most important factor for consideration in every partnership engagement is to leverage each other’s area(s) of comparative advantage, identify joint opportunities and common threats and design strategies to harness or mitigate against them.
This Lagos/Ogun Partnership Alliance (LOPA) model is the first of its kind in Nigeria. For such a model to succeed, the following are key steps to facilitating such a collaborative partnership;
ü Vision: it is important for each State to have a clear vision prior to the initiation of the partnership. The planned partnership must align with the vision of the collaborating States.
ü Assessment: each collaborating State must conduct an internal and external assessment of its operating environment to ascertain if it supports the partnership and design ways it intends to benefit from and contribute to the partnership. In the case of Lagos and Ogun State, the joint need for economic prosperity, job creation, ease of transportation, political stability, the security of lives and property, and infrastructural development has motivated and facilitated LOPA.
ü Leadership: for collaboration between States to be successful, there must be commitment and leadership from the top. This will ensure the elimination of unnecessary bureaucracy, corruption and red tapes. The LOPA in this regard is a good model because the Governors of these States have delegated the chairing, management and the delivery of the agreement to the Deputy Governors who report directly to their principals for accountability.
ü Formalisation: there is a need to ensure that all arrangement is well documented, agreed to and endorsed by all parties. This will give legal backing to the agreement and minimise or eliminate political interference with the provisions of the agreement post any administration.
ü Barriers to success: For the LOPA, a number of challenges have been identified such as overbearing control of critical policy by the Federal Government (States being almost powerless to fully determine their future), border management issues, poor infrastructure in border towns, flooding, inadequate data on residents and migrants, and insecurity. Although there are plans to mitigate these identified challenges, it is pertinent to note that these issues have to be monitored as they unfold to be able to continuously improve on all proposed solutions.
ü Execution: While the execution of LOPA is still yet ahead, it is hoped that the implementation will meet expectation as Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu pointed Q1, 2023 as the date for assessment of execution. Prince Dapo Abiodun also mentioned the use of a Government Delivery Unit (GDU) to execute all projects. While the GDU manages the Project Management Office (PMO), projects in each sector are managed by a sector-specific project management team. For instance, projects in the education sector are managed by the Education Delivery Unit (EDU); supervised by the GDU.
ü Legislation: To facilitate the LOPA, Dr Prince Dapo Abiodun has ensured the passage of the Ogun Investment Agency Bill that will facilitate investment into Ogun state and contribute to the “ease of doing business” in the State.
ü Modeling and Mentorship: A shared objective of Ogun and Lagos State is to enhance the quality of primary education. In this regard, Edo State has been identified as a success story to learn from. Interestingly, the Governors of the two States have contacted their counterpart in Edo State to mirror his model.