The Necessity for Project Management as an Instrument for Continuing Economic Development by the new Nigerian Federal Government


By O. Chima Okereke, PhD

Herefordshire, England


The Buhari administration was sworn in on Friday, May 29th with so much good will that it is difficult to find any group, both inside and outside the country that is not wishing the government every success. The expectations are quite high and the problems to solve are reportedly various and many with differing importance. The priority on the problems changes as people and groups express their views. Corruption, poor national electricity power supply, the Boko Haram insurgency and widespread insecurity in the form of kidnapping, large youth unemployment, removal of subsidy on fuel and the poor fuel situation in the country for a large oil producing nation, unacceptable salaries of the legislators, etc. The list of problems that people suggest is long.

It is clearly the case that all these problems cannot be solved at once. In spite of this, Nigerians are extremely optimistic that the new president has come to change the status quo as he promised during the elections. He has come to deliver change. What exactly does this mean in the light of the problems listed in the foregoing paragraph?

President Buhari is very much aware of the unusual, overwhelming and extremely optimistic welcome that he has received. While he has tried to dampen down the sky-high optimism by explaining that he is not a magician, the expectations are such that it may be difficult to control. The administration will have an enormous task of managing the seemingly overblown hopes. It is also the case that various persons and groups have their ideas of what they consider the most important problem to be addressed by the new government. It could be the case that after two years of the administration without the problems being resolved, the administration could be seen as not delivering.

To illustrate, in an interview with the Nigerian Tribune published in March 24, 2015, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, one of the APC governors was complaining of the current poor power supply in the country. Whilst it is the case that the power supply is certainly poor, without being overly pessimistic, it is not feasible that within five years, the new government will have so developed the power supply in the country that there will be steady and uninterruptible power supply in every city, town and village for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days a year. It is necessary to have our feet on the ground and be realistic on what is achievable within a given time span and with limited resources.

This is where the application of the discipline of project management processes should come to the fore. Which problems should be solved first, in effect, what problems should be given priority, solved and delivered within a reasonable time of a few years? Do we have the resources to solve them? How can we find the necessary human and material resources, and the fund? What are the timelines for delivering solutions? How can these expectations be managed, in other words, how can the administration maintain the goodwill as the difficult and time constrained tasks of producing results are embarked upon? It is certainly important to try to maintain the good will because such a clement environment should help as much as possible to elicit good cooperation and a commitment to success from everyone.

Project management is defined as the application of knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to project activities in order to achieve the desired goals and meet project requirements. In effect, it could be defined as an instrument for translating strategic decisions made in national executive meetings or company boardrooms into real-life products which are solutions to national problems or meet the needs of customers. In the subsequent paragraphs, the application of project management as an instrument that could be used to deliver continual economic development by the government will be briefly investigated.

The topics to be covered include the following:

  1. The use of project management to prioritise our problems
  2. An analysis of one of the problems in order to determine the requirements of resources and processes for achieving them
  3. Concluding remarks in which many plans are not achieved because of the absence of the discipline and processes of PM to ensure that what is planned is achievable and executed.


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About the Author



O. Chima Okereke, PhD, PMP

Herefordshire, UK

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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 Dr. Okereke, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at http://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/dr-o-chima-okereke/