Obasanjo, Donli, Amadi, George stress need for good governance

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has stressed the need for good governance in Nigeria as without good governance, a society cannot develop and its people cannot reach their full potentials nor arrive safely at its destination.

Obasanjo observed that at this critical juncture of the country’s national development and national life, there is need to ensure that the people have the right perspective and are able to make the right decisions as a people on where they want to go and how they want to get there.

The former President gave this indication while presenting a keynote address titled; ‘Governance, Accountability and Democracy Delivering’ at the Justice Oputa Annual Conference with the theme: Governance, Law and Development held at Transcorp Hilton, Abuja.

He viewed governance as, “the process that supports the exercise of legitimate authority in the provision of effective leadership in the management of men and resources that is accountable towards the achievement of set objectives of the state or the greater good of all”.

Obasanjo maintained that, there is an international consensus on the need to promote good governance as a foundation for development, adding that, the challenge facing all society is to strengthen institutions, processes and mechanisms that enable full participation of citizens in setting an agenda for sustainable development.

Patricia Donli, Member Board of ActionAid International explained that governance to the man on the street is having access to the dividends of democracy, putting food on the table, access to quality education, employment for their children who have graduated, not having their wives die from childbirth, good roads and other infrastructure, feeling the impact of Government; noting however that what is typical of our democracy is a democracy of the next election where politicians campaign and will not be seen until the next election.

Donli asserted that democracy is about meeting the needs of the people and asked for the development of citizen’s charter that is context specific to the various communities or states that the people can hold the government accountable, saying the charter will serve as a tool for the people in the communities to hold their leaders accountable.

She further explained that the communities and electorates do not realize the kind of powers they have, to ensure that good governance is engendered, to ensure that there is regular interface between them and their representatives as well as powers to ensure that if the right thing is not done, to recall those that have been elected to represent them.

Sam Amadi, National Electricity Regulatory Commission while stating that good governance is about efficiency, planning, investing resources in targeted areas, said the over $400 billion spent so far in Nigeria has not gone to targeted investment, saying transparency, freedom of information, procurement and fiscal transparency is very critical.

Amadi noted that there are two levels to look at good governance and one is instrumental values which is what good governance gives, and the second is intrinsic, noting that good governance is inherently a good thing and also instrumental.

 

James Kwen, Abuja

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