Reflecting on good governance
By Charles Chikezie
Can good governance, like beauty, just be said to be in the eye of the beholder? Or put differently can it be likened to a good product that an Igbo adage says ‘advertises’ itself? Beauty is the reflection of exquisite niceness, the overwhelming dominance of attraction or appeal arising from what is seen and cherished of a person, thing or situation. It derives from a feature which could be a nature-given endowment or an acquired or made-up status. In either case, beauty must be nurtured, maintained and even showcased, to remain meaningful.
Every one cherishes a thing of beauty and never wishes it to go bad. That is why there is repugnance and livid expression of discontent when such negativity happens, and scorn towards anyone who has wilfully let the thing of beauty to degenerate and decay. That scenario could be said to be the case with Nigeria in the not distant past when public institutions, infrastructure and utilities, by collective commission and omission were left to breakdown and even decay.
The resultant effect was apathy, cynicism, recession of civilised behaviour, dipping national consciousness, detachment from those in authority and growing social and political rebellious spirit. It was thus ironical that Nigeria with its vast human and natural resources, and easily one of the nations of the world with the greatest potentials for growth and economic well-being, found itself besieged on all sides with a multitude of challenges.
Let us not forget that ‘beautiful Nigeria’ was besotted of everyone. With a large and active population of very warm and friendly people, and with expansive business and investment opportunities, it was common place to see Nigerians go about their pursuits all over the world with their heads raised high. Our economy was strong and we could spend, so the process of obtaining visas to other lands was an easy take unlike today when we are subjected to every kind of indignity seeking visas.
Apparently piqued by what we have gone through over the years, and realising that ‘those we started the race with have left us behind’, Nigerians soberly look in the direction of Malaysia, India, Brazil, South Africa etc. and lament how far they have gone while we totter. Lamentation, though, cannot be the answer but would instead compound the woes.
Incidentally Nigeria has now come to the realisation that we must move forward. Our inherent beauty is not lost but has carelessly been left unattended. Our endowments are obvious, our abilities abound, and our renowned resilient spirit is our strength. The key to restoration of the nostalgic ‘good old days’ is to yield to the full imperatives of transformation that President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration is canvassing and which we have now embraced.
The evidence of Transformation should reflect in our positive mannerisms, changed attitude to work, inter personal relationships, ethical business conduct, high level integrity, unquestionable commitment, unalloyed patriotism and national consciousness, amongst other visible and intangible virtues. In that way we will become once more a people with high self-worth and the cossetted beautiful bride, well received and respected wherever she appears.
Of all considerations, good governance is the most potent ingredient for achieving civil contentment and having a peaceful polity that sees itself as partner in progress with government. It will throw up real ‘servant leaders’ as well asinspire accelerated national development, bolstered image and tremendous goodwill at home and abroad. The climate of good governance will lead to sustainable attraction of foreign investment, wealth creation and value addition to the lives of the people.
Good Governance will be the panacea to the challenges we have faced and the key to a resurgent or renascent Nigerian nation that we will all be proud of: land of peace, great potentials and equal opportunities, the giant of Africa and a respected major player in world affairs.
Nigeria’s leaders of today realise the imperatives for good governance as a culture that will sustain our development, peace at home and stature in the comity of nations. They are learning to be accountable to the people to whom they must report back on their stewardship. That is the point that the National Good Governance Tour drives in.
Charles Chikezie is the Director, Public Communication, Federal Ministry of Information.