The History of the Nigeria Development Forum


When we realised in 2003 that the overall political, economic and social frameworks of the past fifty years are under pressure to change, we responded to this period of change by floating the Nigeria Development Forum-NDF. NDF examines annually the most pertinent, succinct and accurate update and way forward for development in Nigeria from the independent, impartial, non-political and global viewpoint.

The Nigeria Development forum – NDF, founded in September 2003 is Nigeria’s Development Laboratory, (NDL) where Nigerians from the public and private sector meet annually to make input into Nigeria’s development programmes. It is a national project initiated by the African Centre for Resource Studies, aimed at stimulating discussions of the more compelling challenges confronting Nigeria and its development today from the international perspectives.

The 1st Nigeria Development Forum was convened in search of a vision for a shared future. It reviewed the social progress Nigeria was facing as at then, which was not envisaged at the time of our first National Development Plan in the sixties.

Participants and delegates explored opportunities for collaboration on many of the challenges, whether in the form of poverty reduction, public service delivery, public service reform, or environmental problems that could not have been foreseen at the time of our independence.

In its communiqué, the 1st NDF noted - that during the economic and oil boom exuberance of the 1970s, Nigeria paid insufficient attention to problems of poor public service delivery emerging as a result of rapid national economic expansion. That emerging economic expansion of the 70s was not matched with social and environmental responsibilities on a national scale, particularly in the areas of quality and sustainable public service delivery, with appropriate mechanism to check the poor accountability and wasteful tendencies of those entrusted with public funds.

Sadly, the 1st NDF noted, the windfall gains from Nigeria’s crude oil in the 70s, provided an impetus for a heightened public sector intervention in the development process. As a result, a public sector led development strategy replaced a private sector strategy that was enunciated in the first National Development Plan – (1960-68). The role of government in direct productive activities became more visible and the purpose of establishing the Public Enterprises changed from stimulating and accelerating economic development to deliberate heavy intervention in the development process.

Nigeria woke up in the 21st century to a debt burden, underutilised human resources, a deformed public sector, vast unemployment, concentration of our commonwealth in the hands of few, as well as massive income inequality. Ever since the establishment of the Nigeria Development Forum-NDF, it has remained a forum for constant agitation for reform. The message of the 1st NDF was that, Nigeria, despite significant progress in macro economic policy reforms, still severely lacks the fundamentals for sustained growth, social progress and poverty reduction framework, now worsened by the current global economic downturn - seven years after the first message of the NDF. We however note with satisfaction, the present Administration’s painstaking pursuit in establishing a regime of efficient service delivery, led by His Excellency, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua.

Deriving from in-depth reflections on the present state of development in Nigeria, the 1st NDF identified the following problems as critical constraints to Nigeria’s development.
1. Absence of comprehensive people oriented development database and a quality of life barometer, to provide periodically, an overview of the long and short-term implications and envisaged impact of any proposed or existing development programme, policy or agenda at all levels of governance.
2. Inadequate development indicators - information and records, particularly in manpower, energy productivity and efficiency utilization that provide a baseline assessment against, which progress towards development goals can be measured.
3. Lack of accountability, corrupt practices and wasteful tendencies of public sector administrators.
4. Increasing tendencies to view and accept mediocrity as a measure of excellence in public service delivery, civil service, governance and leadership.

Recommendations were made by the 1st NDF in 2003 as follows:
1. That as a matter of urgency, the current National Development Planning System, which is suitable for a mono-cultural economy should be revisited as Nigeria has moved into a multi-cultural and diversified economy.
2. A national hub station with a comprehensive development database should be established and made accessible to all development practitioners, the private and public sector institutions.
3. Performance should be the benchmark for advancement in public service, as an incentive against mediocrity and poor service delivery.
4. A framework for assessing and demanding for good quality public service delivery by service providers should be devised.

Each year, since its inauguration in 2003, development policy experts, technocrats, senior public sector officials, and their private sector counterparts gather at this annual meeting of the Nigeria Development Forum NDF to discuss key economic, political, social and environmental issues on the national and global agenda.

Now firmly established as the pre-eminent event where the views, perceptions and visions of Nigerians committed to improving the state of the nation are gathered, analysed, subjected to objective rigorous inquiries and fed into Nigeria’s development agenda at all levels.

Activities of the Nigeria Development Forum – NDF are held twice in a year, one in Nigeria and another outside Nigeria in fulfillment of its core objective - to expose Nigerians to global best practice.

A lot has happened at the international and national levels since the inaugural meeting of the 1st NDF in Port Harcourt in 2003. There was the UN-MDG review summit in September 2005, the UN General Assembly High-Level Dialogue on Financing for Development in June of the same year, followed immediately by the annual session of the United Nations Economic and Social Council, the G8 Summit in July and the WTO Ministerial in December 2005.

All of these events and the previous ones, no doubt shaped the choice of the forum’s themes and focus between 2003 and 2006.

The aim of the NDF is to present to key stakeholders in Nigeria’s development (governments, civil society, the private sector, researchers, academia, intergovernmental organisations, donors and Nigeria’s international development partners) with the results and findings on the current issues of concern and work on key development agenda.

Since its inauguration in 2003 in Port Harcourt, NDF has registered significant impact and rapidly gained recognition as an effective forum for informed dialogue on urgent development issues confronting Nigeria, and for seeking to influence development policy implementation priorities and strategies.

The first forum, NDF 1, in 2003, on the theme: Rebuilding Confidence in Public Service Delivery and Public Sector Management: What Options for Nigeria, And What Role for the PrivateSector? came on the hill of the current Public Sector Management and Public Service Delivery reform programmes in Nigeria.

The findings of the 1st NDF had a considerable influence on the subsequent SERVICOM Programme of the Federal Government. The second forum - NDF 2 in 2004, was held at the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies in Kuru on the theme: Public Service Delivery in Practice: Delivering Quality Service amid Altered Global Economic Conditions; How Positioned is Nigeria?

The coming into operation of the SERVICOM programme was a timely opportunity to focus on what needs to happen institutionally and at the policy level to galvanize efficient and reliable public service delivery in Nigeria. ACRS - NDF responded to this need by focusing the activities of the 2nd NDF on public service delivery. The objectives of the 2nd NDF was to energize and define steps towards accelerating efficient public service delivery, learning from global best practice.

The second NDF came after a preparatory NDF international workshop and retreat at the University of Cape Town in South Africa in April of 2004.

NDF2 made the following recommendations as part of its findings to the government of Nigeria:
1. That in the national interest, Nigeria’s development policies in the critical areas of our economy, particularly in the utilities infrastructure, oil and gas, and rail transport, should be revisited and reviewed with specific mission and vision achievable within a specific-targeted time frame.
2. That the review and redesigning of these development policies must target identified issues. AND for these policies, programmes and agenda to be effective and manageable, they must have contingency clause; must be coherent and consistent, backed by legislation.
3. That Nigeria should integrate the competencies identified in this year’s NDF into the national planning system, modeling development principles and policies with achievable outcomes.
4. That the private sector and the NGOs be given a defined role with time specific by the government in monitoring, analysing and creating access to information which, will impact directly and indirectly in transparent execution and management of government priority projects and other development agenda.

The 3rd forum, NDF 3 was held at the National Centre for Women Development in Abuja on the theme: Revitalizing the Economy vis-à-vis Development and Growth Through Second Generation Reforms, The Post 3rd NDF international retreat in Johannesburg and Pretoria in November of the same year was held on the themes: From Policy to Practice; learning from global best practice: And Sharing Strategies on Public Sector Management Development.

The overall objective of the 3rd NDF was to provide an opportunity to get to the heart of policy directions and access the prospects for growth in Nigeria’s rapidly expanding business and economic environment. The Post 3rd NDF retreat in South Africa brought together major stakeholders and experts on regional development integration from Nigeria and South Africa who discussed experiences of both countries with a view of drawing lessons for Africa; participants drew upon the rich experiences of the ongoing reform initiatives in some Africa countries and sort a practical action plans for furthering institutional development processes; and reached a consensus on practical policy and institutional measures needed to add value to the ongoing reform process in Nigeria.

The African Centre for Resource Studies organised the 4th NDF on the topic of Infrastructure and the Nigerian economy and its nexus to development. I understand that the National Planning Commission has already adopted this laudable area of work of the African Centre for Resource Studies as one of the focal areas of NEEDS II. This indeed, represents a vote of confidence in our work.

The 4th NDF process helped to develop an acceptable formula for improving the state of Nigeria’s infrastructure on Public Private Partnership principles. Its discussions and deliberations contributed in many ways to the ongoing debate on the national front, on how Nigeria can structure its institutions and organisations to support national development. The 4th NDF was a watershed and it inspired legions of other development conferences and forums, including Professor Charles Soludo’s short lived Nigeria Development Forum. NDF4 activities put Nigeria’s priority development programmes on the national and international agenda.

The communiqué that was issued at the end of the 4th NDF held in channel view hotels, Calabar, cross river state from 25th – 27th June, 2006 came in this order:-

The 4th Nigerian Development Forum (NDF) 2006, jointly organised by the “ African Centre for Resource Studies (ACRS) and National Planning Commission, in Calabar Cross River State Capital from 25th-27th June 2006 on the theme of: Infrastructure, Finance and Service Development: From Visioning to Sustainable Delivery - What model and implementation options for a Developing country?

The Forum sought to define priorities and a common agenda to further develop Nigeria’s infrastructure base at all levels, from the national, state to the local government levels and at the sectoral levels.

The Forum drew participants from the Private/Public Sector, Academia, and the Civil Society. Participants from the private sector where drawn from local, international and multi-national institutions. The Forum had a well-detailed technical session, which featured succinct discussions and brainstorming on sectoral infrastructure development needs, model and implementation options for Nigeria in particular and developing countries in general

Experts made Presentations from relevant agencies including the academia.
The following observations were made:
i. That the development of any society is greatly dependent on the quality of infrastructure of that very society.

ii. The Nigerian public, social, industrial and economic infrastructure is deplorable, thus incapable of bringing about the much-needed sustainable development.

iii. While the private sector has greater efficiency in the management of infrastructure, the public sector has greater capacity building.

In view of the above observations, the following recommendations were made:

1. That a systematic, strategic and mutual partnership of the public, private and civil society should be harnessed to serve as a catalyst for sustainable infrastructure development.

2. That the legal framework for infrastructure development on private-public partnership model should be established.
3. That the public-private partnership should incorporate civil society, data generation, information dissemination, technological capacity building and maintenance of infrastructure and its sustainability.
4. Borrowings from foreign financial institutions for infrastructural development are essential but there is need to look inward.
5. Sectoral infrastructure development and technology adopted should reflect the felt needs and aspiration of the people/society.
6. The building and development of social infrastructure such as rural water supply and sanitation should take into consideration appropriate power supply.
7. The private sector, civil society and development partners should be encouraged to actively participate in the activities of the annual NDF.
8. We hereby commend the proposed post NDF in Paris and encourage Nigerians to actively participate.

In conclusion, it is hoped that the aforementioned recommendations should be implemented.

The 5th Nigeria Development Forum – NDF 5 (15th –18th May 2007, Confluence Beach Hotel) was held in Lokoja on the Theme: Rethinking Governance, with a national discourse and sub-major theme on; Confronting Nigeria’s State of Emergency in the Power Sector. NDF5 addressed some critical national issues that would confront Nigeria’s newly elected political leaders in 2007 with their chosen advisers and technocrats, while evaluating the past and present accomplishments of government in order to shape our future.

At the end of the meeting of the 5th NDF, the following communiqué and statements were issued in this order:

We, participants at this 5th Nigeria Development Forum – NDF, meeting under the auspices of the African Centre for Resources Studies from the 15th to 18th May 2007, in Lokoja:

Of the NDF Objectives and

• Of the low rate of Industrial activities in Nigeria and the need to diversify and strengthen the power sector so as to reposition Nigeria’s economy in the next eight years of political governance.

• Of the need to overcome the obstacles of full-implementation of the Federal Character mandate in appointments and the need to extend the federal character in the private sector.
• Of the extreme poverty, low employment opportunities and productivity in Nigeria as a result of inadequate supply of electricity.

• The three tiers of governments, NGO’s, the private sector, individually and collectively to work towards effective implementation of the federal character in Nigeria, integration and harmonization of federal character principles in appointments, without compromising merits, qualifications and competence within the principle of equal opportunity for all with clearly defined guidelines and assigned roles in a country as diverse as Nigeria.
• The major stakeholders and providers of electricity to create platforms of consultations and dissemination of information for energy consumer education on the state of our energy.
• The creation of strong linkages between the government and the stakeholders to ensure the maintenance and free flow of electricity from the point of generation to the end users.
• The government to continue to play a significant role in power transmission.
• The government and the stakeholders to seek for alternative sources of financing energy projects, particularly from the capital market and ensure investor protection.

• The institutions of governance to vigorously strengthen their knowledge base to enable them acquire international knowledge for local use.

• Nigeria to pursue the path of peace as a prerequisite for national development.

• Nigeria and the entire institutions of governance to work towards achieving a level of equilibrium between the dictates of security, good governance and human rights and freedom, which is the cornerstone of our societal development.

• Increase the present generation of 3000 mega watts of electricity to 15,000 by 2015.

Singed and affirmed by WE, the participants at this 5th meeting of the Nigeria Development Forum-NDF.Given on this 18th day of May 2007, in Lokoja, Nigeria.

His Excellency, Chief Philip Salan, JP, the Deputy Governor of Kogi State, representing the His Excellency, Alhaji Ibrahim Idris, Executive Governor of Kogi State; declared the 5th NDF open; the Honourable Minster of State for Energy, Alhaji Ahmed Abdulhamid (represented) was a guest speaker, whereas the Keynote address was delivered by His Lordship, Hon. Justice, Idris Legbo Kutigi, CON, Chief Justice of Nigeria represented by the Chief Judge of Kogi State; while His Excellency, Ambassador Thomas I. Aguiyi Ironsi, Honourable Minister of Defence delivered the 2007 NDF5 closing speech.

The Post 5th Nigeria Development Forum was held as a combined event with the 2nd Africa’s Presidential Strategic Leadership and Governance Retreat at the Institute of Governance and Public Management-IGPM, University of Warwick in the UK. The Presidential Strategic Leadership and Governance Retreat (PSLG) was established in Paris on the 25th of October 2006 to give African Leaders the opportunity to learn from the global best practice and the old democracies of Europe.


2003, 1st Nigeria Development Forum – NDF 15th – 20th September 2003,
Cultural Centre, Port Harcourt.

A. Rebuilding Confidence in Public Service Delivery and Public Sector Management
1. Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, Hon. Minister FCT represented by Mr. Osoba.
2. Col. Bala Mande, Hon. Minister of Environment represented by Mr. Oguejiofor Ikechukwu
3. Mallam Isa Yuguda, Hon. Minister of Aviation
4. Dr. Mrs. Dora Akunyili, DG/CEO, NAFDAC represented by Dr. Shehu A. Misau
5. Hajia Amuna Lawal Ali Permanent Secretary Federal Ministry of Commerce
6. Professor B. A. Salim, Registrar/CEO, JAMB
7. Mr. Eddie Iroh, DG/CEO Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria
8. Dr. Barr. M.S.A Ebimoghan, Head of Service, Bayelsa State

B. Public Sector Management and Development Goals – Nigeria in perspective
His Excellency, Chief James Ibori, Governor Delta State, NDF1 Guest of Honour
C. The Media and National Development
Mr. Smart Adeyemi, National President of the Nigerian Union of Journalists

2004 2nd Nigeria Development Forum NDF – 28th June to 3rd July 2004, National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, NIPSS Kuru-Jos

1. Dr. Ibrahim Mantu, Deputy Senate President personally presented a paper on: Public Policy and National Development: The evolving Role of the National Assembly in addressing the burning questions of our time. Senator Mantu was subsequently inducted into the ACRS Academy of Fellows the same day.
2. Professor Turner I. Isoun, Honourable Minister of Science and Technology, presented a paper through his representative, The Hon. Minister was also admitted the same day into the ACRS Academy of Fellows. His paper was on: The Shape of the Future of Public Service Delivery in Nigeria as the world becomes increasingly integrated by Technology and Communications. This formed part of His acceptance speech of the ACRS Fellowship.
3. Mr. Liyel Imoke through the NEPA COO, Engr. G. O. P. Osakwe, presented a paper on: Efficient Costing of Services in the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry: Transferring Pricing.
4. Col. Bala Manda for the second time presented a paper at the NDF meetings through his representative on: Re-Engineering Public Service Delivery in Nigeria for Contemporary and future challenges.
5. Engr. Mustafa Bello, the Executive Secretary, Nigeria Investment Promotion Commission presented a paper on: Encouraging greater private sector participation and investment in public service delivery infrastructure financing, through his representative, Reuben I. Kifasi.

6. Dr. Jerry S. Abba of the Nigeria Export-Import Bank presented a paper on: NEXIMBANK and the development of Capital Market instruments to finance public service delivery infrastructure.
7. Dr. Babangida Aliyu, Permanent Secretary, National Planning Commission, presented a summary report and paper on the Lessons and outcomes of the Pre-NDF2 international Retreat Held at the University of Cape Town in April 2004.

Many other papers were presented from NIPSS and other organizations. His Excellency, Maj. Gen, Chris Ali, the then Sole Administrator of Plateau State represented by the suspended Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice, Mr. Yusuf Pam, declared the 2nd NDF open, with a speech on Peace and National Development. His outstanding speech was reported on the front page of Guardian Newspaper of Wednesday, June 30, 2004.

2005 3rd Nigeria Development Forum NDF – 26th June – 2nd July 2005, National Centre for Women Development, Abuja

1. Dr. Oby Ezekwesili, Then Senior Special Assistant to the President on Budget Matters, (Budget Monitoring and price Intelligence Unit of the Presidency, presented a paper on: The ABC of the Contract Policy.
2. Baba M. Gimba, MD/CEO of National Economic Reconstruction Fund (NERFUND) presented a paper on: Change Management
3. The Chief Registrar of the Supreme Court of Nigeria presented a paper on: Towards strengthening of the Nigeria’s Criminal Law and Justice System: Judiciary’s Agenda for the Next five years. Mr. Dele Peters esq. Represented the Chief Registrar.
4. Mr. Usman Jimoh a director from the Code of Conduct Bureau presented a paper on: Corruption and Good Governance: Nigeria in perspective

Since the emphasis on the 3rd meeting of the Nigeria Development Forum was on proposing strategies for achieving “people centred development”, the concluding and the major paper was presented by Dr. Tegegework Getti, Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Programme – UNDP on: Making Reform Work and People Centred: Borrowing from the Global Best Practices – the UNDP experiences. The Chairman of the Niger Delta Development Commission, His Excellency, Ambassador Sam Edem, presented the concluding paper at the 3rd meeting of the Nigeria development Forum- NDF 2005. Presentations where then taken from the private sector and the academia.

2006 4th Nigeria Development Forum NDF – 25th – 27th June 2006, Channel View Hotel, Calabar. Convened in collaboration with the National Planning Commission

The 4th NDF was designed to be private sector led with inputs from the public sector; as such the African Development Bank and the Diamond Bank were specifically invited to present key papers and lead discussions on infrastructure financing and development in Nigeria. Dr. Sipho S. Moyo, country economist of the African Development Bank presented a paper on: Infrastructure and the African Economy Diamond Bank presented an overview on infrastructure financing from the bank’s perspective.

Professor S. C. Achinewhu, Vice Chancellor of the Rivers State University of Science and Technology, represented by Dr. M. J. Emeji, presented a paper on the Globalisation and the challenges for infrastructural Development. Arc. K. K. Tumba of the Adamawa State University also presented an overview of infrastructure development and financing from the University’s perspectives. Dr. Adeboyejo A. T. representing the Vice Chancellor of the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology made presentations.

Some key government officials who presented various papers or whose papers were presented at the 4th NDF include: Dr. J.A Ali, Director General/CEO, Nigerian Building, and Road Research Institute. Paper: Financing Nigeria’s road and building infrastructure: the Public –Private Partnership alternatives. Professor (Engr.) A. P. Onwualu, Director General/CEO, Raw Materials, Research and Development Council (RMRDC). Paper: Translating Research Findings into Industrial Infrastructure: The PP prospects and raw materials Research and Development Council framework. Chief L. E. Akeh, Director General/CEO, Nigerian Meteorological Agency. Professor E. A. Adeboye, the Director General/CEO of the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure also presented a paper. Dr. Oby Ezekwsili, Hon. Minister of Solid Minerals Development, represented by Engr. Adeniran Ajibade, presented the lead paper of the 4th Nigeria Development Forum –NDF, while Dr. Osita Ogbu presented the opening speech through the representative of the National Planning Commission at the forum.


The global transition of the 21st century poses serious challenges to Africa; a major challenge that confronts Africa in this transition period is that of building a collaborative and collective development framework to confront our common development problems. Developing Africa will therefore require an unprecedented level of cooperation at all levels; The NDF annual retreats in other countries seeks, among other aims, to build partnership, develop normative standards, define broad objectives for institutional cooperation, and ways of integrating best practice and sharing of development implementation processes between cross border institutions. These international retreats are held regularly and are coordinated from major cities across the globe.

Proceedings of the 2nd NDF preparatory retreat
6th-11th April 2004, University of Cape Town, South Africa.

At the pre-2nd NDF international retreat in April 2004, at the University of Cape Town, South Africa, speakers and experts from the Development Bank of Southern Africa, (DBSA) Bruce Berry,Professor Edith Vries from the Independent Development Trust (IDT), Mr. Mashwahle J. Diphofa from the Ministry of Public Service and Administration, Advocate Dirk Brand, Dr. Harold Wesso and Dr. Ivan Meyer all from the Western Cape provincial government, Dr. Wallace Mgoqi, city Manger of Cape Town and L. L. Matyolo Secretary to the National Council of Provinces of South Africa presented in-depth papers describing how various arms of government, development institutions in Southern Africa and the private sector are addressing various aspects of public service reform and service delivery, infrastructure financing and development in Southern Africa.

Post 3rd NDF International retreat
14th – 20th November 2005, Johannesburg and Pretoria

The 2005 Post 3rd NDF international retreat in South Africa was organised on the theme- From Policy to Practice: Learning from the global Best Practices – The Southern African Experiences. Interactive sessions were held at two different cities - Johannesburg and Pretoria. The post 3rd NDF was designed as a working study tour of institutions in these two cities. The first session was held at the Mayor’s chambers, City of Johannesburg on the 15th of November 2005. On the 16th of November 2005, the second and third sessions were held at the Development Bank of Southern Africa, with Dr. Piet Vijeon presiding. He chaired the second session also. An executive manager of the bank, Mr. Lewis Musasike, presented a welcome address at 09H00-10. The first paper was on: The role of Development Finance Institutions and the case of DBSA. Mr. Oupa Mokuena presented the second paper on: Translating Strategic Directives into development programme.

Whereas Mr. Wasnaar Hlabangwane presented a paper on: The DBSA Development Fund and Ron Rees presented the last paper on: Coping with the risk of new development programme. The 3rd session saw presentations from the Municipal Infrastructure and Investment Unit (MIIU) and sasol. Mr. Dirk Brand, the Director of International Relations of the Western Cape Provincial Government chaired the session.

Post 3rd NDF at the South African Management Development Institute, Pretoria

Between 17th and 18th November 2005, the delegates from Nigeria were moved to Pretoria, where the 4th session took place at the South African Management Development Institute (SAMDI). The following programme was scheduled and attended by the Nigerian delegations to the 4th session of the post 4th NDF at SAMDI:

Venue: Room 922, Batho Pele House, samdi.
Theme for the 4th session: Sharing Strategies on Public Sector Management Development. Facilitator: Ms. Maggie Tsholetsame.

Opening Speech by the Deputy Director General of the Organisational Development and Training Services (OD&TS) Branch of samdi, Mr. Mmutlana. The speech was on: The overview and mandate of samdi and how the OD&TS supports samdi to achieve its objectives.
Discussions and questions followed.

At 09H35, the Business Relations Management Branch presented their paper on: How the branch assists delivery units by Mr. Mike Welman. This was followed by the presentation of the overview and mandate of the Nigeria Development Forum, which Chris A. O. Onwuka, the ACRS President presented. The discussions and questions followed. 10h15-10h30: Tea break.

10h30-10h50 presentations were made on: How samdi incorporate quality in its training programmes by Dr. Shirley Mahlase, the Corporate Resource Management Training (CRMT) on: Public Sector Human Resource Development by Mr. Dennis Malekele. Ms. Samantha Yeowart presented a special programme of samdi called Rutanang Ma Africa. This was followed by another question and answer session. Mr. David McThomas presented a paper on: the Role of Corporate Services of samdi. After a long session on questions and answers, the delegates retired for a lunch break, sponsored and provided by the South African Management Development Institute – samdi.

On resumption, Ms. Tshidi Masutha presented the first paper on: Change Management and Service Delivery Improvement (CM&SDI) in public Sector Human Resource Development, while Ms Lydia Radebe of the International Relations section made presentations on the overview of the section’s activities and mandate. Mr. Arnold Raaths presented the last paper on MLD and how it assists to develop the skills of Public Service Managers, which was followed by another interactive question and answer sessions. Before the close of the session, Chris A. O. Onwuka, ACRS president responded to all the presentations while Maggie Tsholetsane gave the closing remarks and vote of thanks.

Post-4th NDF International Retreat and the 1st PSLG, UNESCO Annex, 1 rue miollis, Paris – 24th – 26th October 2006 and UNESCO Headquarters, 11th – 13th December 2006.

In order to broaden the reach and programmes of the Nigeria Development Forum -NDF, its activities in Europe in 2006 was combined with a larger continental event of the ACRS – ‘Presidential Strategic Leadership and Governance Retreat’ (PSLG Europe). The Post 5th NDF in October 2007 was also combined with the 2nd PSLG, which took place at the University of Warwick from the 15th –19th October 2007.

The Nigeria Development Forum-NDF as conceived by the African Centre for Resource Studies, after due consultations and extensive research, is impartial, independent, not-for-profit, non-political and non-governmental. It is a national partnership of leaders from government, business, media and the academia committed to improving the state of the nation and modeled after some of the world’s greatest forums and summits, including the World Economic Forum, the ASEAN Economic Summit etc.

In 2008, the annual Nigeria Development Forum, took a new dimension, it was organised on the theme: Public Sector Financial Leadership: Strategy, Accountability and Performance. It reflected and drew lessons from corporate governance and examined in-depth, the cost of governance in Nigeria from the global view point. It provided a rare opportunity for public sector Chief Financial Officers and Administrators to re-examine their roles in a rapidly changing environment, spurred on by globalisation and new technology.

The key message of the NDF6 is that - The world of work is changing, to survive, leaders and organisations need to thrive on change and abhour order and ‘business as usual’. NDF6 showed the participants the true meaning of excellence and how excellent leaders and organisations can adapt, influence, transform and serve the public.

Public sector financial leadership is changing and Nigeria is changing too, NDF6 noted. The CFOs who participated were ready to take on their new rights and responsibilities to face unprecedented change that requires new perspectives and a broader approach, which calls for increased accountability and transparency.

Participants recognised that corporate community and indeed, policy and decision makers will inevitably take on more responsibilities in the equitable management of the national economy, particularly public funds and social resources. In a more reflective mood and spirit of cooperation, participants for the first time made declarations and commitment to good governance. This declaration is hereby published in full as it was made:
We, the participants to the annual Nigeria Development Forum -NDF held our sixth meeting in Jos, Plateau State, Nigeria from the 6th –12th July 2008 at the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, under the theme of "Public Sector Financial Leadership: Strategy, Accountability and performance ", we discussed a wide variety of critical national economic issues and reconfirmed our shared vision and responsibility for achieving balanced and sustainable growth in Nigeria as follows:

1. We, the Leaders, Public Sector Administrators, Local Government Executives and Legislators, Bankers and Chief Financial Officers in Nigeria, met together here in Jos for the 6th Nigeria Development Forum-NDF6, under the auspices of the African Centre for Resource Studies –ACRS, in the eight year of the last decade of the 21st century. We reflected upon the challenges faced and progress made since the first NDF in September 2003 in working toward building the technical capacity of public sector administrators and prosperity throughout the nation, and we discussed the role the Public Sector Chief Financial Officers and other actors in public governance should play as Nigeria becomes more and more integrated into the global economy.
2. During this first decade of the 21st century, Nigeria has achieved a relative level of development, driving these developments has been the NDF propagation of those basic principles and values consistently advocated by the participants -democracy, the market economy, social progress, sustainable development and respect for human rights. Yet we are keenly aware that even now in public governance, corruption continues to undermine our social progress and economic growth.
3. As we come to the end of the 6th meeting of the Nigeria Development Forum – NDF6, we will continue to exercise leadership and responsibility in addressing these persistent problems and squarely face new challenges as they arise. We must tackle the root causes of corruption in management of public funds and common resources. We must bravely seize the opportunities created by new technologies in such areas as Information and Communications Technology (ICT) in improving the efficiency of public governance. We must acknowledge the concerns associated with good governance, while continuing to be innovative in order to maximise the benefits of good governance for all. In all our endeavours, we must build on our basic principles and values as the foundations for a brighter Nigeria in this 21st century.
4. In a world of ever-intensifying call for good governance, whose challenges are becoming increasingly complex, the NDF participants must reach out to embrace the core values and ethics inherent in good governance. We hope that our discussions in Jos provide a positive contribution to the nation’s development goals, more so now that we are expected to articulate a vision that will guide the public sector Chief Financial Officers and other professionals in the public sector as we rise to the challenges ahead. To that end, we will continue to work for a strengthened, effective and efficient public sector and remain convinced that reforms of the public sector financial management are indispensable.

We, the participants to the 6th NDF have agreed and declared in this communiqué as follows:
1. To give special attention to three issues bordering on public sector finances – accountability, transparency, and performance, as a spur to growth.
2. To work together to ensure that the principles and core value of good public governance are in line with the targets set by the present government - to bring Nigeria within the 20th most industrialised economies of the world; giving due consideration to the progress of public financial management reforms and the need to ensure that the benefits are targeted to assist in managing Nigeria’s resources.
3. We will promote more responsible financial best practice to ensure that Nigeria will not again be burdened by unsupportable corruption. As we reaffirm our commitment to good public sector governance and to contribute directly to economic growth.
4. That Financial crime, including money laundering, poses a serious threat to our economy and society. We hereby further declare our commitment to take all necessary national and personal action to effectively combat financial crime, in line with international standards and our nation’s aspiration.
5. We stress the need for transparency in government in this regard, and call for the effective implementation of Nigeria’s Anti-Corruption measures and legislation.
6. We reaffirm the need for effective co-operation among competent authorities and for measures to be taken in co-operation with civil society to combat the ills of the past.
7. We recognise the need for the public sector CFOs to be effective in delivering these objectives and believe that high standards of governance and internal management are critical.
8. It is our shared view that more innovative approaches and renewed commitments are needed to cope with issues bordering on public sector governance and its finance sector, in view of the slow progress toward alleviating poverty and achieving the development goals of UN Millennium Declaration. Within this context, we agree upon the strategic importance for the public sector CFOs to reinvigorate their fundamental missions and roles in meeting new challenges in an economy that holds so much hope for its people.
9. We reaffirm the complementary roles that the public sector CFOs is called to play, and recognise that promoting macroeconomic and financial stability and development continue to be of critical importance. Likewise, we believe there is a need to ensure effective pursuit of, and tangible progress towards these objectives to further strengthen efficient management of our financial and other resources.
This declaration is made this 10th Day of July 2008, by we, the participants to the 6th meeting of the Nigeria Development Forum-NDF6.
Further to this declaration, different syndicate groups issued strong communiqué, which was hamonised into these headings as follows:
1. That in the areas of budgetary management, constitutional provision for annual accounts should be published within six months
2. That the National Assembly should enact laws that will empower the office of the Auditor General for the Federation to sanction defaulting government agencies over untimely submission of their annual account reports to the OAuGF as well as stipulate a period (first quarter of the preceding year) within which every report must be submitted AND the OAuGF should be empowered by law to audit parastatals
3. That the anti-corruption organs like the EFCC, ICPC should be truly independent, adequately funded with enhanced manpower, human capital and new specialist technologies appropriate for their operations
4. Intensive capacity building of the public sector CFOs on a periodic basis, proficiency and independence will improve their performance and bring them at par with their contemporaries in the private sector
5. That there is the need to review the public sector remunerations and social security system to discourage corruption
6. That there is every need for the speedy consideration for the passage of the Freedom of Information Bill to encourage transparency
Key Speakers at the NDF6
Dr. Shamsudeen Usman, Hon. Minister of Finance, Ibrahim Hassan Dankwanbo, OON, Accountant General of the Federation, Venerable (Professor), Akinyemiju Akindoyeni, OFR, mni, Director General of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, Hajia Farida Waziri, Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mr. O. R. Ojenavi, Auditor General for the Federation, M. S. C Aviomoh, Executive Director, Finance and Accounts, African Petroleum PLC, Demola Adeyemi, Chief Financial Officer, Guaranty Trust Bank PLC
Chris A. O. Onwuka, ACRS President and Mrs. Akpala Eunice Ngozi, Guest Lecturer whose presentation was on: The Environmental Governance.

Over two hundred and fifty delegates participated and made commitments to the NDF 6 Declaration.
From the 2nd-9th November 2008, the Post 6th NDF International retreat took place at the Institute of Social Studies-ISS and The Hague Academy of Local Governance, all in the Netherlands, on the theme: Impacting Change in Public Sector Governance. Speakers were drawn from three countries- The Netherlands, France and Switzerland. Among the notable speakers were: Professor Chicot EBOUE, Professor of Economics, Vice Chancellor of the University of Nancy, France. He is also the Head of the Centre for Research on Finance. Professor Amos David, Professor of Economic Intelligence and Director of Research on Computer Education at the University of Nancy, France. Mr. Jean Gaillard, Senior Manager Compliance, Fribourg, Switzerland also presented paper.
There was a study session at The Hague Academy of Local Governance and The Hague Municipality. Case studies of Local Governance in the Netherlands with emphasis on citizen’s participation, service provision, monitoring, local government projects, economic development, public/private partnership building, structure and financing of Dutch social infrastructure were all evaluated and presented by the speakers.
There was also a special session on conceptual issues in social expenditure and financing of social infrastructure. What lessons for Nigeria? During this session, lectures were also given by the Head of Finance of the Municipality of The Hague and the Director of the department of social services. On Friday the 7th of November 2008, there was a visit by participants to the electricity company Essent at Geertruidenberg for first hand observation of electricity production, interactions and discussions with the company’s executives.
Her Excellency, Dr. (Mrs.) N. N. Akanbi, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to the Royal Kingdom of the Netherlands made the opening statement at the 6th NDF in The Hague.
The post 6th NDF retreat reflected on the lessons in Europe, where rapid socio economic reforms of the past one hundred years were accompanied by significant change. How can this be replicated in Nigeria? This question has remained as unanswered as ever as we prepare for the 7th meeting of the Nigeria Development Forum-NDF7 in 2009.

Six years after the first NDF in 2003, Nigerians gathered again in greater number and intensity for the 7th NDF in Jos Plateau State in 2009 for the 7th session of the NDF. The conceptual breakthrough of the first NDF as a development laboratory, threw more light on Nigeria’s development, its challenges, constraints and opportunities on a broader scale. Never again will the question of development be discussed in isolation without integrating it with socio-economic problems confronting Nigeria.

The 7th meeting of the Nigeria development Forum was designed to offer a chance to restore the momentum created by NDF1 in 2003. NDF7 addressed two thematic areas in two parallel Congresses – Congress on Energy Security and Funding and Congress of Public Sector Chief Financial Officers, Administrators and Planners. The Public Sector CEOs met on the 24th of July 2009 in a special Congress to receive the reports and findings of NDF7. NDF7 was organized in collaboration with the Energy Commission of Nigeria – ECN.
From 2003 to date, we have never lost focus of the primary aim of this annual meeting - To assess, track the performance and progress of public institutions, governments, governors, leaders, and policy and decision makers. But assessing a nation’s performance is clearly not enough; credible mechanisms are needed to ensure that public institutions, policy and decision makers remain on track in implementing development policies and agenda. NDF will continue to add its voice to these needs in order to stem policy reversals and thus accelerate development as we prepare for the 8th session of the Nigeria Development Forum – NDF8.
Summary report of the NDF7 findings
19th -25TH July 2009
National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies-NIPSS, Jos
The seventh session of the Nigeria Development Forum-NDF7 plenary was tasked with reviewing the extent to which priority development programmes of Nigeria in two thematic areas – The Energy Sector and the Finance sector have been actualized so far. And to also make recommendations that will enhance transparency and efficiency in public sector finance and the optimum development and use of our energy resources.
The mandate of the NDF7 participants was not to make detailed technical recommendations, but to provide direction for policy measures to be pursued further by appropriate authorities with a set of recommendations for timely, coordinated policy action.
Given the breadth of its mandate, the NDF7 participants identified some priorities to focus on, which are reflected in their communiqué and recommendations for further reform presented throughout the duration of the forum.
Participants were subjected to objective rigorous exercise to obtain their views on these priority areas and to provide information on measures to be taken to implement the NDF7 recommended Action Plan. The participants worked through two parallel congresses combined with one joint hamonisation meeting.
As mandated in the forum’s programme, the participants relied to a large extent on existing plan of action of the federal government as contained in various documents such as the 7 Point Agenda, the NEEDS, The NEPAD as well as others contained in International bodies associated with the work of the African Centre for Resource Studies and the development programme of Nigeria. The NDF7 Working Group and their participation were of tremendous value in reaching our conclusions.
This Summary Report is structured around the areas for reform identified at the two parallel Congresses of the NDF7- the Energy Congress and the Public Sector Finance Congress. It provides to some context, on the need for reform in these areas, summarises progress to date against items from some of Nigeria’s development plans. The NDF7 recommendations and communiqué for further action go beyond the time line of the vision 2020 by broadening their discussions on key economic and good governance policy issues that would bring about systemically significant change and promote co-operation to achieve stable and sustainable national economic growth.
They welcomed the call for improvement in the national economic conditions amidst growing world economic downturn. They reaffirmed the importance of continued progress by Nigerian Political leaders and policy makers toward attaining the desired good governance status and service delivery that would bring broad-based benefits to the national economy. They discussed the role and objectives of the NDF7, and ways to address the main vulnerabilities currently facing the Nigerian economic, development, social and political systems. They recognised that sound national economic policies matched with good leadership are central to building a strong viable economy that is less prone to crises and would fit into the global best practice.
They noted the importance of strengthening national political system and the need for voluntary abandonment of the old ways. At a more reflective moment during their discussions, they came to the conclusion that conscious effort should be made to depart from the old order and business as usual. They encouraged steps to strengthen effective management of resources at all levels, including the energy resources and that greater attention should be paid to developing alternative renewable energy with mini-hydro and micro-power plant technology to bring development to the grassroots.
They recognised that unsustainable institutional reform is a critical source of vulnerability, and that a consistent adherence to rule of law and good governance is essential.
They discussed comprehensively, a range of possible national policy responses to the challenges of globalization, leadership. They were able to exchange views on the primacy of good governance in the finance sector. They strongly believed that this would help to reduce the level of uncertainties in national strategic development plans.
They welcomed the important work that has been done by the African Centre for Resource Studies and called for the establishment of strong institutional structure and standards in key areas, including data dissemination, and energy education.
They agreed that widespread adaptation of renewable energy resources would contribute to prosperous rural economy and sustainable development. To demonstrate seriousness in this area, participants agreed that it is necessary to undertake national survey/study on the cost efficiency and suitability of various sources of renewable energy resources, mini-hydro and micro-power plant technology for Nigeria by ACRS, co-organizers of the NDF7.
This is considered a major fall out and outcome of NDF7. The survey/study would help mobilise support for measures to strengthen the use of these green technologies for national development – the participants agreed.
In the resolve of the two parallel Congresses, participants reiterated their collective determination to contribute to the achievement of balanced and sustainable development in Nigeria through their individual and collective action.

The public sector financial leaders and public administrators participating also debated on the economic implications of budget discipline with other key economic goals and agreed that the public sector practitioners would also play an important role in this area. Participants agreed that sound fiscal policies are essential for supporting strong and equitable growth and development. They agreed that fiscal discipline would drive economic and social development by providing the capacity to fund the provision of economic and social infrastructure necessary to aid growth and development at the same time reduce poverty.

Key Guests of the NDF7 include: Dr. (Mrs.) Sarah Alade, Deputy Governor – Economic Policy, Central Bank of Nigeria, Professor A. S. Sambo, Director General/CEO, Energy Commission of Nigeria, Professor Ahmed Danfulani, Director General, National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies. Dr. Alhassan Bako Zaku, Hon. Minister of Science and Technology who chaired the opening session and recognition ceremonies, while His Excellency, Jonah Jang, Executive Governor of Plateau State declared it open.

Post NDF7 international retreat at the National School of Government
11 Belgrave Road London, 17th – 26th October 2009.

To continue with the momentum, we have created with our international retreats in other countries, the post 7th NDF International retreat was held at the UK National School of Government, from the 17th – 26th of October 2009.

Before this, we had our 3rd Presidential Strategic Leadership and Governance Retreat at the London School of Economics - LSE, from the 7th – 13th June 2009.

While at the LSE, we reflected on Leadership and Governance in the context of public service; on the challenges of the current global economic crisis, poverty, peace and security, and the implications of these challenges to the basic human development and governance. Participants and speakers examined in details the implications of government failures or successes in addressing good governance issues; they identified common traits and differences in views and implementation of good governance code and how they impact on economic and social development. Speakers included Professor Patrick Oseloka Ezepue, a Visiting Professor of Stochastic Modelling in Finance, Insurance, Economics, Banking & Business (FIEBB), and the Research Lead in Business Intelligence and Quantitative modelling at the Culture, Communications and Computing Research Institute (C3RI), Sheffield Hallam University (SHU), United Kingdom. Dr. Temi Abimbola, Associate Professor at the University of Warwick, United Kingdom.

We returned to the UK on the 17th of October 2009 for the Post 7th Nigeria Development Forum-NDF7 International Retreat. It was a rare opportunity for participants to follow up on the activities of the annual NDF project.

Post NDF7 international retreat was envisaged to lead to the development of sounder public policies/ legislation and set standards on which participants can achieve their institutional goals. It was the ultimate platform from which participants were be able to learn the current leading practice and thinking in public administration with emphasis on public sector financial governance, development planning and public/private partnership module. Participants were able to explore, throughout the duration of the retreat, the leading research and work of our key speakers for the benefit of their organisations back home.

Post NDF7 was for organizations in Nigeria seeking to develop the capacity and provide their key executives in this period of world economic crisis with the knowledge needed to improve organisational performance. This was achieved through the fusion of two outstanding intellectual traditions of the African Centre for Resource Studies ACRS– the detailed presentation of contemporary international issues with the best thinking in governance and leadership practice.

The 8th Nigeria Development Forum – NDF8
21ST – 26TH June 2010
Nigerian Institute of International Affairs, Victoria Island, Lagos

The promises of the seventh International retreat of the NDF
As we prepare for the seventh international retreat of the Nigeria Development Forum, we would reflect on the realities of today’s world and its challenges of the current global economic crisis.

A new dimension is added to the annual NDF retreat – A comparative lesson on public sector financial leadership to deepen the cause of development and good governance. NDF7 retreat would bring together directors, their deputies and assistants in charge of Public sector financial management, Development Planners at all levels, Public Expenditure Directors and their Executives, Deputy Directors in charge of budgets, accounts and audits, Budget Managers and other Public Administrators with common vision and aspiration to move their institutions forward.

The 2009 papers, speeches, addresses, lectures, contributions etc will be centred on the themes of the NDF7, from economic governance, energy, public finance, public/private partnership, globalisation to financial leadership and human development. All these pose challenges to Nigeria and her leaders, her economy and sovereignty as economies of countries becomes increasingly integrated into the global economic crisis.

The seventh NDF retreat, coming at this period of global economic crisis will provide participants with an insight into this paradigm shift; on how their institutions and government can counter its dangerous effect.

How can Nigerian policy makers/executors, legislators and financial leaders plan, design and administer a responsive economic and financial framework with sustainable institutions to enhance government capacity to consolidate the efficiency gains from good governance?

We would like you to reflect on this as you prepare for the post seventh international retreat of the Nigeria Development Forum.

We look forward to your participation.

Chris A. O. Onwuka




Nigeria Development Forum



Pre - 11th Nigeria Development


ACRS Conferences