BY IBRAHIM ABDULLAHI,
Good Governance has been a compound word used to describe a good government that delivers on the mandate of the people in terms of meeting their needs. In spite the increasing sufferings of the masses in Nigeria, politicians in the helms of affairs have done little in meeting the yearnings and aspirations of the people. The reasons for this are many.
One of them is the mindset of our politicians in acquiring illicit wealth. The second reason is the poverty-stricken lives of the electorates which usually make then to fall flat for any politician in their environment who give them peanuts to vote for them during elections. During elections, money is shared to some electorates. This makes them to forget the type of Government they want, rather they simply collect money from supporters of candidates. The third reason in my view is that the Executive Arm of Government that supposed to champion the cause of good government, is usually carried-away by the euphoria of success by forgetting some critical aspects of good governance which include bringing-down the cost of governance and implementing the much-talked-about making political offices less attractive; so as to have people of fine character, vast knowledge and above all patriotic zeal to serve the people to serve the people credittably from Local Governments to Federal Level so as to achieve better results.
The political trajectory of our new President in Nigeria – Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu as Lagos State Governor between 1999 and 2007 and his charismatic political leadership to date, are enough to convince Doubting Thomases of his ability to lead Nigeria to the promised land. This could be achieved if conducive atmosphere prevails in the Country.
The recently concluded Executive Retreat for Top Political Functionaries of the new Administration gives a ‘ray of hope’ for better deals for Nigerians on their investment in Tinubu’s Government.
President Tinubu’s Address at the Opening and Closing Sessions of the Retreat is very much assuring as Key Performance Indications (KPI) are to be used to determine the retention or exit of Political Office Holders; unlike the Immediate-Past Administration where the President ‘hired but could not fire’. This was the albatross of Buhari Administration which made people to score his administration very low.
For example, several loans were taken without much to show for their utilisation in 8 years of the past administration. Agriculture was at the lowest ebb in spite of money pumped into it. Investments drive was poor due to insecurity pervading several locations and many Chief Executives exercised too much powers that they did not possess. A case in point is that of Former CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele who did not stop at that but jumped into politics while in office without any repercussion including going-on to court to assert ‘his right’ to participate in politics.
Nigerians have the responsibility to support Tunubu’s Administration and his Renewed- Hope Agenda bearing in mind his 8-Points Agenda which are:
(I) Food Sufficiency
(iii) Poverty Eradication
(iv) Job Creation
(v) Access to Capital
(vi) Rule of Law
(vii) Fighting Corruption and
(viii) Uniting Nigerian People
To attain better heights in good governance in my view, Federal and State Governments must priotise and pursue holistically the followings:
(1) FIGHTING CORRUPTION
Fighting of corruption in all ramifications including amendments to certain portions of amended Nigeria’s Constitution and Administration of Criminal Justice (ACJ).
One of the aspects of our laws to 8be amended is to ensure that not all economic crimes are bailable as well as Plea Bargaining that need be removed from our Laws. We need to bench-mark bailable economic crimes by ensuring that any economic crime beyond N50 Million should no longer be bailable. This is because offenders steal or misappriate humongus amount of money believing that whatever happens, he would be granted bail and opt for Plea Bargaining and only about 30% of the loot would be paid and he or she would set free. This is where we losing a lot of our hard-earned revenues.
If our laws are amended as recommended, it would scare looters and we would retain our revenue. The draw-backs of Plea Bargaining is that criminals/offenders hide under it to commit high profile economic crimes and return certain percentage that is not up to 40 to set themselves free. This means that Plea Bargaining has been aiding corruption and looting of Nigeria’s Treasury.
In Nigeria today, looting is longer in hundreds, thousands, millions but in billions. We must amend our ACJ to curb economic crimes.
(2). REDUCTION OF POLITICAL PAY-PACKAGE
Also, in Nigeria today, politics is now business and no lobger service to the people. This is because whether you serve in the Executive or Legislature, the pay packages are humongus. As a result, some businessmen and women have left their business to join politics as it produces more money better than their businesses. Severance packages are also given, while those in the Executives takes pensions for life for serving for only 8 years whereas public servants who served for 35 years are being owed pensions and gratuities.
Unless we make political offices unattractive economically, good citizens with better ideas and character cannot join and better governance would continue to elude us.
May I seize this opportunity to appeal to our Legislators that whenever this matter is proposed, they should kindly support the idea out of patriotism.
(3) ABOLITION OF SIEC
The process of electing LG Functionaries that is provided for in the amended Nigerian Constitution is by the States Independent Electoral Commission (SIEC). This process has been abused as State Governments have been using the opportunity to impose their candidates on the people as opposing political parties to that of the State Governments usually robbed of their victories.
For LG Elections to be free, fair and transparent, SIECs must be removed from our Constitution with its responsibilities transferred to INEC for responsible and credible elections to take place.
The issue of much-publicised LG Autonomy will continue to be a mirage under the present system.
It is heartening that the issue of power generation and distribution is being tackled by this Administration. It should also be considered to encourage each State in Nigeria to generate and distribute their electricity in-order to enhance industrialization and creation of jobs.
Lack immediate alternative to fuel such as gas has increased the pressure for fuel distribution and consumption. With technology advancement, shifting to gas has been long-over-due. We also need to clear the mess of non-performance of our public Refineries. FG must therefore priotise promotion of public and private Refinerues to meet our immediate needs in-order to force down prices of fuel and reduce cost of goods and services.
GOOD GOVERNANCE APPROACH
For Tinubu Administration to make positive impact on the people, the President should carry the people along in whatever steps he is taking to better their lots.
His new policies on fighting corruption and economic crimes, making political offices unattractive, enhancement of electoral prices and transparency as well as others need be done through Executive Bills to the Legislature and National Broadcasts to the citizens periodically as soon as he forwarded such Bills to the legislature so as to carry the people along with him.
If this is done, people’s reaction would be positive and those who. Might want to oppose the Bill ls would face ‘the wrath of the people’.
Finally, for the betterment of the Society, let us rally-round President Bola Tinubu for good governance to emerge and sustained in Nigeria
Ibrahim Abdullahi is a Fellow of Chartered Institute of Personnel Management of Nigeria (CIPM), Human Resource Management Consultant & Public Affairs Analyst.