Democracy and development have a symbiotic relationship in any transparent and accountable democracy in that they complement each other and a failure of the latter means a colossal failure in the achievement(s) of the government of the day at the end of its administration. Development in all its ramifications is the only dividend the masses as shareholders in the partnership business of governance take home at the end of the day since government in any democratic dispensation is for the people and by the people at least according to the views of the sixteenth president of the United States of America and the father of Modern day democracy, Abraham Lincoln. This paramount duty of government is also well entrenched in section 14(2)b of the 1999 Constitution as amended to the effect that the security and social welfare of the citizenry shall be the prime aim of government as a core element in the Fundamental Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy.
It makes a mockery of our democracy that the media, Civil Society Organizations, Non-Governmental Organizations and other concerned citizens have failed to focus on the different ways of developing and delivering the Nigeria of our dream at the expense of the major issues bedeviling us that should customarily have preoccupied their minds in setting the stage on which the growth and even development of Nigeria will stand. Even where they have tried in the recent past, it is no more than a lip service which has left the whole of us agitated.
The initiative of the Good Governance Tour as was brought to the fore by the honorable minister of Information; Labaran Maku no doubt, has been the greatest testament of the Transformational Agenda of the Goodluck Ebele Jonathan administration (GEJ). By the very act of taking up the courage to pilot the tour, shows that true to the government’s words and numerous efforts at delivering the government of our dreams albeit which many of us have before now doubted and snubbed , they have not only done but are willing to brandish to the entire citizens with whose mandates they assume the corridors of power, the many projects that have been embarked upon and are targeted to an all round development and nation building in realization of the dreams of the founding fathers of this great nation.
For the tour to have laid greater emphasis in the inspection of the critical sectors of the economy- Energy, Agriculture, Education, Transportation and Water Resources is worthy of commendation to say the least as a non-partisan approach was reached at a consensus between the Federal Executive Council and the National Economic Council that set the stone rolling for this initiative that promises to leave indelible marks in the sands of time. After the flag-off of the full template of the initiative which was coherently endorsed by the Nigerian Governance Forum, one need not be told that by this very act, they have been delivering and are willing to show to the general public what they have been doing since ascending their various government houses and are still doing and will continue to do. I just hope we are not betrayed at the end of the day. In the words of the Delta State governor, Emmanuel Uduaghan on the endorsement of the program, “it is necessary as it is founded on the basis of accountability and the entire governors irrespective of political affiliations have collectively given their nod to the immediate flag off of the program.”
To say that the National Good Governance Tour is an initiative which cannot have come have at a better time is an understatement as it has achieved more than the pioneers thought it would, when the idea was conceived and birthed, hence the need for its celebration and commendation by all and sundry. It has led to a healthy competition among the different state governors whose states have been visited so far and for those whose states are yet to be visited by the team; they cannot wait to see that certain fundamental projects are hastily completed before the visiting team arrives. It tend to remind me of those days in the secondary school when as a house captain, I had to do all my best during house inspections to see that my Hostel emerges the neatest during the weekly House Inspections especially when the hostel am saddled with is yet to be visited by the inspection team. In some states visited, it has led to the termination of many projects due to the default on the part of the contractors handling them thereby sending a warning to other contractors mishandling projects assigned to them. For me, the Town Hall meetings is the part of the tour that meets my fancy the most as it gives those masses who are able to attend, the leverage to direct questions to the visiting panel and the governors of the host state which is what government in an accountable, representative and democratic state should be like any day.
The huge visiting team that is made up of Journalists, government representatives, civil society organizations and concerned citizens of the country show that it is in no any manner an adulterated programme of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) aimed at achieving cheap popularity as is being rumored in some quarters hence, any unhealthy criticism that has met this initiative is entirely uncalled for. The likes of Wole Soyinka and the opposition parties who have called it a scam by the P.D.P as far as I know are yet to furnish any sound ratio for their sentiments.
In conclusion, the good governance tour led by the Minister of Information should be encouraged and given all the support it could get from both Citizens and opposition elements and if for any reason its embers smother it should be fanned and not allowed to extinguish. If there have been any loopholes in this particular edition, subsequent governments should take note of them and right the wrongs of this present campaign at least to ensure it is not marred by any irregularities subsequently.
This is not the time for politicians to share sentiments on issues that are key to building a better Nigeria in the nearest tomorrow. This is the time for politicians to set aside their differences and put hands together in building and delivering a Nigeria where development in all its shades will not be a matter of national dilemma again.
The writer tweets @yung_silky