I am working to make sure we don’t only protect the environment, we also improve governance.” Wangari Maathai
The problem of good governance and development in Nigeria are mainly poverty, unemployment and vulnerability. These result to providing an entry to religious crisis and corruption, and promote ineffective governance.
How can we ameliorate these conditions? How can all sectors in Nigeria contribute to national development? How can it strengthen social stability through improved social services, support transparent and accountable governance? Promote a more market-led economy? How can it enhance Nigeria’s capacity as a responsible regional and trade partner?
Seeking accurate answers to the above questions points us to the current efforts of the Nigerian Government- National Economic and Empowerment Strategy, the Seven-Point Agenda, and Vision 20:2020 etc.
GOVERNANCE ISSUE IN NIGERIA
Good governance as expressed through factors like reliability, predictability and accountability is increasingly seen as a key factor in ensuring national prosperity. However, many aspects of the relationship between good governance and national prosperity are still poorly understood and may indeed vary across countries.
Recent economic and social developments have increased attention given to the role that good governance plays in achieving social and economic development.
Since the return to civilian dispensation in 1999, strident efforts have been made to chart the right part for the country to attain greatness. This was consolidated upon by the late President Yar’Adua’s administration, which prompted him to launch the Vision 2020 initiative. The quality of the debate on “Good Governance” has improved tremendously, while lawmakers are also paying greater attention to issues affecting national development.
It is in this contest that one has to take a look at the activities of the group called ‘The Initiatives’ in the House of Representatives. This group came into being in 2007, immediately after the inauguration of the present National Assembly to bring into front burner issues that affect policy implementation. The group is made up of young, dynamic, visionary, forward looking and nationalistic lawmakers who seek a change in the polity. In fact, one of its main objectives is to ensure the enthronement of good governance in Nigeria through legislations that are people oriented.
Good government depends on an ability to exercise power, and to make good decisions over time, across a spectrum of economic, social, environmental and other areas. This is linked with the government’s capacity for knowledge, mediation, resource allocation, implementation and maintenance of key relationships.
SOLUTIONS TO GOOD GOVERNANCE IN NIGERIA
Systems of governance affect the performance of the state in executing its core functions and through this, the performance of countries in meeting their major economic and social goals.
- Nigeria Governments should create the conditions for functioning of markets, operation of private firms, strength of civil society, and welfare of communities and individuals.
- The quality of governance should be recognized as fundamental rights in ensuring the quality of life of citizens.
- Good governance should be important as a determinant of the sustainability and strength of democracies.
Finally, the symptoms and consequences of bad governance are corruption, injustices, inequity, integration crisis, ethno-religious feuds and a host of others. Among these, however, in the matter of governance the most critical issues of morality are the issues of corruption. Corruption has generated unimaginable level of poverty. This has further destroyed good governance. Poverty of the vast majority of the population make it nearly impossible for them to see their problems clearly, let alone think of their solution. It makes them vulnerable and easy to manipulate. Poverty is also a weapon in the hands of the political elite for further manipulation and exploitation; it is further perpetuated to maintain the grips of the political elites on the society.
Therefore, to promote good governance sound anti-corruption policies devoid of rhetoric must be put in place. In addition, the legislature and the judicial arm must be functional and alive to their responsibilities, since a healthy and sound judiciary and legislature are sine qua non for good and democratic governance.
Image via The Sunday Times