Many of us would testify that at some point in our academic lives, the motivation to pass an exam or study hard was inspired by the threats of punishments  by teachers. However, it is known that such threats became counterproductive as students adopted fake styles of learning (e.g. memorizing or cramming) in a desperate attempt to meet the ultimatums set by the teachers. This fact may bring humorous memories, but it is unfortunate that policies enacted by some ruling bodies today in Nigeria use forceful intimidating methods like our teachers used back in the days, here are some examples :

  • CBN’s withdrawal limit policy, to promote electronic banking: deadline fixed for June 2012.
  • CBN’s ultimatum for banks to create a department for Agriculture by December 2011 or face sanctions.
  • NCC’s instruction to all mobile-phone owners to register their lines before September 2011 or be disconnected.


Although the intended outcome of these deadlines is for the benefit of the public, the means by which these laws are to be put into effect are faulty.

Similar to the teacher’s illustration above, using forceful and intimidating means to achieve a goal only brings counterproductive results; thus, stakeholders affected by these deadlines will only adopt quick-fix methods to hastily meet these targets set by these ruling bodies, this will mean the new services offered by the affected stakeholders would be mediocre and even doomed to fail in the future as they are rushed and done out of compulsion.

The best way for ruling bodies to enact laws is to create an avenue where the stakeholders to be affected will naturally grow into what is expected…e.g.

  • Instead of forcing banks to promote e-banking through the withdrawal limit deadline, ruling bodies should create incentives for e-banking; in this way banks would willingly venture into e-banking to exploit the benefits.
  • Same should go for the agricultural deadline and the mobile-phone registration; laws should be designed to make stakeholders comply willingly, not to be compelled.

The bottom-line is that government and law-making bodies should use other means of passing laws to the general public because forceful compliance never brings desired results.


By Aghogho Sam-Umurhurhu


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