Why Projects Fail or Succeed – A Project Management Preview of the Nigerian General Elections 2015


By O. Chima Okereke, PhD

Hereford, England

Nigeria has planned to conduct general elections, in February 2015, comprising the presidential election, governorship elections, senatorial elections, elections to the House of Representatives and State House of Assembly. The event, General Elections 2015, constitutes a major project with defined objectives, specified dates for execution and allocated budget. Given the many challenges that impact on the country such as insecurity and destruction of lives and properties by the Boko Haram, problems in the economy, corruption, underdeveloped infrastructure, political instability fuelled by the dubious utterances and questionable activities of some top politicians, etc., it is little wonder that all Nigerians should be praying that the project will succeed.

Normally, a project is successful if it is completed on time, within budget and most importantly achieves its objectives. The success of the Nigerian General Election project transcends such factors as time and cost to issues of scope and quality. The focus on scope in this case is on the achievement of the project’s objectives. Success is not and cannot be limited to the physical execution of the process of an election and the declaration of one of the contestants as a winner. No, it is what happens during and after the elections that will determine the success of the project. For example in the presidential election, one would suggest that it is not just that the current president, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, wins the election and continues in office or that his opponent, Major General Muhammadu Buhari, wins and comes into office.

This is not correct; success in the project should be the establishment and sustenance of a government that, among other things, will engender peace and harmony in the country. It is relevant to underscore the point that elections are not just conducted at intervals in order to conform to agreed time table. It should be more important than a routine adherence to a plan. Rather, a national general election should be seen as a tool for national political, social and economic development. It should provide an opportunity for national reassessment. It should give the people the freedom hopefully, to elect a government of persons with ideas and commitment that will help the nation make progress in its areas of deficiencies. In particular for our country Nigeria, such a government should fulfil major critical success factors that address the various challenges which impact on the stability, integrity, political and economic development of the Nigerian nation. In line with this reasoning, it is relevant to suggest and examine the Critical Success Factors for the General Election 2015. These are factors that should be achieved for success of the elections.

Critical Success Factors for the General Election 2015

The suggested conditions for success in the General Elections could be summarised as the achievement of the following:


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About the Author

o-chima-okereke-bioO. Chima Okereke, PhD, PMPflag-nigeria

Herefordshire, UK

Dr. O. Chima Okereke, Ph.D., MBA, PMP is the Managing Director and CEO of Total Technology Consultants, Ltd., a project management consulting company working in West Africa and the UK. He is a multidisciplinary project management professional, with over 25 years’ experience in in oil and gas, steel and power generation industries. Before embarking on a career in consulting, he worked for thirteen years in industry rising to the position of a chief engineer with specialisation in industrial controls and instrumentation, electronics, electrical engineering and automation. During those 13 years, he worked on every aspect of projects of new industrial plants including design, construction and installation, commissioning, and engineering operation and maintenance in process industries. Chima sponsored and founded the potential chapter of the Project Management Institute (PMI®) in Port Harcourt, Nigeria, acting as president from 2004 to 2010.

Dr. Okereke has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Lagos, and a PhD and Masters in Business Administration (MBA) degree from the University of Bradford in the UK. He also has a PMP® certification from the Project Management Institute (PMI®) which he passed at first attempt. He has been a registered engineer with COREN in Nigeria since 1983. For many years, Total Technology has been a partner for Oracle Primavera Global Business Unit, a representative in Nigeria of Oracle University for training in Primavera project management courses, and a Gold Level member of Oracle Partner Network (OPN). In the UK, the company is also a member of the Herefordshire and Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce. He is a registered consultant with several UN agencies. More information can be found at http://www.totaltechnologyconsultants.org/.

Chima is the publisher of Project Management Business Digest, a blog aimed at helping organizations use project management for business success. Dr. Okereke is also an international advisor for PM World. He can be contacted at [email protected]  or [email protected].

To view other works by Mr. Okereke, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at http://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/dr-o-chima-okereke/