Sunday, 13 December 2015

HOW BUHARI SHOULD REINSTATE PUBLIC TRUST IN GOVERNANCE

President Muhammadu Buhari
Governance, in the context of nation-states, is the act of allocating and administering public resources ef­ficiently and equitably in a manner that evokes public trust and confidence in in­stitutions of state and the individuals who run the affairs of state. Construed in this fashion, the impression is created that where there is no efficient and equitable management of resources, the running of the affairs of state could not be regarded as governance. This query compels the writers to speak of good or bad governance, real or mediocre governance.

By governance, therefore, we mean real governance—the act of exercising author­ity appropriately and allocating resources effectively to achieve the objectives of the state, which is to promote public interest and guarantee public safety and the collec­tive welfare of the citizenry.

Now, in a country where fundamental­ist insurgency, ethnic divisiveness, daily looting of public treasury, and resource protective militancy are gaining more at­tention than infrastructure provisioning and service delivery to the people, and thus making real governance an uphill task for state actors, how can the trust and confidence of the people be restored? How can public trust and confidence in the af­fairs of state be re-kindled?

The youth—the active population of the country—are not gainfully and con­structively engaged. A seven-month old government should, by now, commenced concrete and visible action in the direc­tion of profitable change by way of gain­ful employment programs nation-wide. That is not happening yet. As oil revenue is dwindling, investment in agriculture is being daily verbalized and touted as a long neglected sector for economic diver­sification.

Unfortunately, without good, motorable road and rail infrastructure criss-crossing the major zones of the coun­try, investment in agriculture cannot be encouraged and accelerated. Those who are going to invest in agriculture will need to move freely from the cities to the rural communities and vice-versa. They need good road and rail transport system to do that. There appears not to be a visible ac­tivity in that arena.

Massive road and rail construction will provide immediate employment for the idle youths, now being lured, for want of jobs, into militancy, insurgency, kidnap­ping, and armed robbery. Well-constructed roads, rail- tracks and train wagons will make investment in agriculture attractive for urban dwellers who need to travel and convey materials—agricultural inputs and outputs—frequently.

Regular, uninterrupted electric power supply nation-wide will also boost agri­cultural investment and productivity. You need storage facilities for a good number of agricultural raw-materials. These raw-materials also need to be processed into finished products with shelf life to make investment in agriculture profitable for investors. Efficient power supply is indis­pensible for this to happen. The last gov­ernment had provided the foundation for power, agriculture and rail infrastructure.

All that is required is for the Buhari government to build on the foundation already laid. Where political contractors had failed in the past government to de­liver road infrastructure as desired and required, the new Buhari government should assign tested professional road builders to commence work immediately on the Shagamu-Ore Expressway, the La­gos-Ibadan Expressway, and several other roads in the eastern and northern parts of the country in a similar state of disrepair.

It does not speak well of the new govern­ment that all we see after seven months of ascension to power is power tussle within and between political parties; power tussle within and between the legislature and the executive arm of government. At this rate, it is difficult to fathom when the gov­ernment in power intends to set the ball of service delivery to the people rolling. Delay is dangerous considering the tempo of youth restiveness, armed robbery and kidnapping going on nationwide.

We think that the Federal Government should commence activities in road and rail construction, and the strengthening of security in all the 36 states of the coun­try to effectively check armed robbery and kidnapping. Otherwise people will migrate to the cities in large numbers, and abandon the rural communities. Security, road and electricity are indispensable even for investment in agriculture to pro­duce the desired effect.

Getting down to work and avoiding and abandoning corrupt elements, rather than continue to trade blames with the opposition and mere detractors, will send the right signals that the dispensation means business. And the Nigerian people will notice that politicking is over for Mr. President who is now poised for real gov­ernance, for effective service delivery to people who trusted his change mantra with confidence that he will perform cred­itably and admirably.

Every Nigerian citizen, including Mr. President, should borrow a leaf from what the Tanzanian President, Mr. Mugulufi, has been doing since he assumed office. That is how not to squander the good will of a change mantra that brought an em­battled President to power. That is indeed how to restore public trust and confidence in the business of governance in a country that had been plagued, for a long time, by corruption, impunity and mediocrity. (National Mirror)