Why do Projects fail? The Nigerian Government insensitivity to project Failure



By Eyitayo Ogunmola



Nigerian projects have been experiencing failure throughout the country’s period of democratic exposure and something needs to be done about this mishap. One would argue that the military era gave no better options and environment for projects success; yet, it’s very difficult to agree that project failure is the democratic dispensation and the 21st century when different countries are adopting best practices to improve the chance of project delivery towards meeting the social demands.

The country invests millions of dollars to projects, brings on board the services of international expatriates using local resources to meet the compelling demands of these projects, yet we have experienced over 80% project failure within the framework of governmental systems. Well, as a project management professional, I would bring to readers some perspective and key reasons why Nigerian projects fail.

One major recent project that comes to mind is the CCTV project; a part of the N76 billion National Public Security Communications Systems Project (NPSCSP), which was conceptualised by the President Umaru Yar’Adua administration to provide a multimedia communication system for the police and other security agencies in the country to fight off growing criminal activities in the country. Based on project functional and delivery evaluation, one would simply call this project a failure considering its inability to meet its business needs and demand.

From the October 1, 2010 Independence Day bombing to the June 16, 2011 Police headquarters bombing, and then the August 26, 2011 bombing of the United Nations headquarters, the CCTV cameras have not been used adequately to stop crime. Not even with the most recent bombing of Nyanya Bus Park has anything changed. It’s simply a question of management integrity- what happened to the project and what led to the failure of this Project?

In project management context, a project fails not only when the project delivery refuses to meet the use or the needs of the project or when the project’s product refuses to satisfy the end user, but when the project is not accomplished within the allowed time frame, project budget, scope defined for the project and even when the outcome of the project is rejected by the stakeholder.

Another very recent Project failure is the inability of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to meet the structured scheduled for the distribution of the Permanent Voters Cards to Nigeria. It was the third phase of distribution of PVC and thirteen states of the 36 states were designed to be involved in the exercise, which began on Friday, 7th November and ended on Sunday, 9th November 2014. The state government of Lagos had earlier declared public holiday for this exercise, yet the commission didn’t work on the day the people were eased from work. That is an absolute demonstration of Project failure.


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About the Author


Eyitayo Ogunmola, PMP

Project Team lead, PM Hub Nigeria

Lagos, Nigeria




Eyitayo Ogunmola is the Founder and the Project Team Lead of PM Hub Nigeria, a human capital development brand focused on Project Management, Lean VI Sigma and Corporate Leadership training and enterprise solution deployment. Eyitayo’s experience in the field of Project Management spans across various field with latest hands on a United States Government sponsored project in Lagos, Nigeria. He has special Interest in Governance and Human Capital Development. He is a Carrington fellow of the United States Consulate, Lagos and also a Consultant on Lean Enterprising. Eyitayo is a certified PMP Project Manager, a Green belt Lean VI Sigma Professional. He is also a Project Management Training Consultant to Chartered Institute of Project Management, Ghana.

Eyitayo just concluded business education from Columbus Business School. He is the Project Coordinator for ProMaCoN, an organization committed to institutionalizing project Management in Africa. He worked with a team of international participants in the just concluded IPMA Young Crew global e-collaboration Competition (a congregation of 64 young project managers from around the world) where his team came 2nd runner up. He is a trainer for Acceltage Consulting, Oak Interlinks among other project management consulting companies. He leads the faculty of project management of the College of Supply Chain and Material Warehousing Management.  He is the Co-founder of TIENigeria.org and also a youth leader award winner with Crans Montana.

Eyitayo can be contacted at [email protected]