By Prince Charles Dickson PhD
Again Mr. President last week told our service chiefs to tackle banditry and insurgency, like really they needed telling (sic)?. After the futility of disconnecting citizens in many parts of Zamfara and Kaduna states, mobile network services were restored, no one has counted the loss, indeed no one will. If you think that the Abuja-Kaduna highway is a Golgotha, then ask the family of the Divisional Police Officer who’s family has been contacted by kidnappers in Edo, and he’s not the first that has been kidnapped, in fact in recent past, a police officer was kidnapped, we needed hunters to the rescue.
I laughed as one of the army chiefs, told his men to kill bandits and present him with their corpse, I am sure the reporters must have been at it again, as at the same time a court somewhere was finally declaring the ‘men in the bush’ terrorists. Like we needed a court declaration to know the truth.
I can go on, and on ranting, in Nigeria, it has become one day, one drama. However methinks that the issue is one of a nation that has continued to lie to herself about herself. Even with all the conversation around restructuring, and the secessionists, and devolution of powers advocate, one thing is absent at all levels, and it is “good governance”.
I have in the past echoed the need for GG. I believe that good governance is the only guarantee to peace, progress, stability, free, fair and credible elections, in fact I view it as the only passport to delivering the dividends of democracy not dialogue.
For the power, telecom, the manufacturing sectors, education and largely for the nation to work, we need good governance, in order to maximise our potential, improve the general welfare of the Nigerian people and even development in geo-political terms, there must be good governance.
It is the absence of GG that is responsible for the irresponsibility of the fuel subsidy regime, a scam that benefits a class that is not ready to bid it farewell for the betterment of society, and wants to replace it with the “yahoo-yahoo” of N5K for 40M poorest of the poor. A leadership across board that denied her people packs of noodles, a people that scammed her children of food for schools that were shut during the lockdown.
The lack of GG is better understood when we ask, who has an accurate database of the 40M, in a nation that is not “accurate” about anything. In fact do we have a base, or do we even have data? We have a government but sadly nothing with the semblance of good governance?
Like the late Okadigbo puts it, asked to define good most Nigerians will waffle and babble. Most of our leaders that pride themselves as operating under the parameters of good governance cannot explain how.
What we have in our democracy is a battery of contradictory description or proposition as to what good governance is, as a matter of fact the term good is difficult to define and in the essential contexts of the Nigerian condition yet to be attained and no amount of talk will do us the desired good.
Before I go far, defining good in relation to governance has often been a difficult task, to categorize it for decision makers and policy executors, so we say in political science that good is that to which everything tends, and in that regard indefinable and a naturalistic fallacy.
In the Nigerian context, our situational ethics sets the tone to the effect that we have relative dysfunctionality, what is good in one place may be bad in the other, there must be a given situation, time and space. There are dichotomies of good in Nigeria! The act and art of good governance in and for Nigeria, past, present and future is idle, not lending itself to any objective and precise analysis.
Until good governance is viewed as the process of decision-making and the process by which decisions are implemented (or not implemented). We are still far off simply because the way and manner public institutions conduct public affairs, manage public resources, are corrupt, and without due regard for the rule of law, the realisms and truisms of Nigerians as a people and a nation.
We lack good governance because despite political activity under the guise of democracy we are yet to find the balance; we still operate a political economy of state robbery, rather than popular democracy, it is a national malaise not a group or ethnic or class matter.
Good governance within the confines of a popular democracy should be anchored on two things, one, a constitution suited to the special needs and circumstances of Nigeria as multi-dimensional ethno-socio and econo-political structure: and two a leadership suited not only to the exigent needs of Nigeria as an unlawfully under-developed but also to the smooth operation of the same constitution.
We should stop glossing and know that by and large good governance require no ordinary type of leadership; tolerance; breadth of outlook, intellectual comprehension; hard work; selfless devotion; statesmanship; a burning sense of mission are some of the virtues that are necessary to make a success of leading this nation. It is not a turn by turn approach, and in good governance, sharing of political power can NEVER and will NEVER be a criterion.
Unfortunately past administrations have lacked these virtues or at best have possessed one at the expense of the other and as such led them to groping in the dark on how to deliver good governance.
We have refused to cultivate a regime of leadership that has shown a knack to develop a mental magnitude, as clear as our problems are, there seems a lack of ability in appreciating and grasping the salient details as well as most of the temporal and practical implications, of a given situation or problem, and in our own case the problem is a lack of good governance.
In my honest thinking while we keep debating on the morals or otherwise of a system of governance, and how we need to co-exist, the fact of the matter rather will be because the Fundamental Objectives and Directive Principles for which government exists remain non-justiciable; thereby the issues of good governance remain platitudinous rather than obligatory on our leaders.
So instead of providing good governance, the problem of political in-direction will continue, and indeed we will talk but achieve little.
A continued economic morass in the polity, an inability to have an ideological notion of destiny. An absence of a coherent body of thoughts; a lack of heroes, nobody to look up to, all our dialogue will exist only in a vacuum.
Good governance may be difficult to achieve in its totality, but for Nigeria to grow, for popular democracy to be entrenched we should work on; fair legal frameworks that are enforced impartially. Full protection of human rights, particularly those of minorities.
It also requires a long-term perspective for sustainable human development and how to achieve the goals of such development. Ensuring that all members of the society feel that they have a stake in it and do not feel excluded from the mainstream. This requires all groups, and especially the most vulnerable to have opportunities to maintain or improve their well being.
Processes and institutions produce results that meet the needs of society while making the best use of resources at their disposal. It also means sustainable use of natural resources and the protection of the environment.
Governmental institutions as well as the private sector and civil society organizations must be accountable to the public and to their institutional stakeholders.
In general, organizations and institutions are accountable to those who will be affected by decisions or actions. The only minus and indeed the major constraint is that all that I have enumerated as a recipe for good governance is what we lack, in all best intents and to all purposes that are good, no matter for how long we talk, if it is not about ‘good’ we will be wasting time.
The small monkey completely shaves its head and breaks the razor; it thinks that its hair will not grow out again. All talk and actions whether APC,PDP, DPC not centered on good governance, all levels without good governance, the hair will grow again, it’s only a matter of time, do we want good governance, do we want to address the fact of the matter or just talk–only time will tell.
Contact the writer: firstname.lastname@example.org