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Indices Of Good Governance In Nigeria: Delta State In Focus

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By Richardson Ogwezzy

In every country, state, or institution, the level of governance has always been a thing of concern to the people. Bearing in mind that the extent of governance determines the state of the welfare of the citizens in a given state, which nobody will want to treat with levity. Governance in any state or country is the manner in which materials and human resources are managed for the collective good of the people by those entrusted with the responsibility of running the affairs of state. If the governance does not augur well for the citizens, it is called bad governance, but if it augurs well it is termed good governance.

In Nigeria as a polity, governance is expected to be provided by the political office holders such as President, Governors, Local Government Area Chairmen and so on. The question that keeps on bothering many Nigerians in recent times is the use of the term ‘’good governance’’ in reference to the performance of politicians elected into various offices. For instance, a state or country where the government embarks on lopsided and uneven provision of infrastructure cannot be said to have good governance except they are evenly distributed.

In measuring qualities of governance, there are indices that function as determinants which are the rating scales that range from, Very Good, Good, Fairly Good and Bad. When you obtain scores from this scale on averaging it, if it is either any of the good, it is called good governance. If bad, then we can refer to it as bad governance. This is the idea of good governance. We can recall from our experience in our primary school, when given a test that ranges from one to ten a student that scores between one to four marks cannot be scored good except he scores above five marks or thereabout. That is why in every political administration, for a politician to have good governance, he must score credibly well in other items on qualities of good of governance.

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There are principles for good governance such as accountability, transparency, collective participation of stakeholders, responding to issues and emergencies, dynamism, predictability, equitable distribution of developmental projects and programmes  etc The principles of good governance serve as a guide to evaluate or measure the qualities of governance. There are principally two ways of measuring the qualities of governance to ascertain whether it is either good or bad. It measures political office holders’ performance during office and after elapse of tenure of office.

While in office, political office holders can be assessed using a number of indices. The campaign promises are always the first point of call in measuring the qualities of governance. This is because they are primarily voted into offices because of their campaign promises. By promises, I mean party ideology and manifestoes inclusive. Delta State for example has a blueprint for easy assessment of the campaign promises of the present administration. The governor calls it S.M.A.R.T Agenda (a.k.a Okowa’s Agenda).
S stands for Strategic Wealth Creation Projects and Provision of Jobs for Deltans, M stands for Meaningful  Peace Building platforms aimed at political and social Harmony, A stands for Agricultural Reforms and Accelerated Industrializations, R stands for Relevant Health and Education Policies and while T stands for Transformed Environment through Urban Renewal.
Based on the blueprint conceived by Sen.(Dr) Ifeanyi Okowa, anyone can easily evaluate his governance

The level of provision of infrastructural development is another way of measuring the extent in which the political office holder is performing. The manner in which the infrastructural projects are evenly distributed must be taken into cognizance. This aspect of infrastructural development is where Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa made an indelible mark. While other governors were consolidating on provision of infrastructural projects from the former governors, Sen. (Dr.) Ifeanyi Okowa is concentrating on the construction on virgin roads, bridges, drainages and other infrastructural facilities. Some of his masterpieces are in Asaba. Today, Asaba is wearing a new look as a state capital.

The relative peace in the state or country is another way to determine the quality of governance. Though of a truth, there is no absolute peace anywhere in the world but the president and the governors are responsible for the safety, peaceful co-existence and harmonious living of the members of the society. The peaceful co-existence within the political parties must be taken into consideration. Questions needed to be asked here are: is there cordial relationship among party members or between one political party and another that brings healthy relationship among members of the political class? In Nigeria today, many cities, towns and communities are being destroyed due to political, ethnic, religious and politically motivated crises. Political factions have led to poor relationship between many people in the country. Though nobody can actually predict peaceful situation in any state, but at the moment in Delta State, there is relative political unity and peace across existing parties in the state. It is observed that political office holders in PDP, APC and other parties strive to strengthen their party, develop the state to bring about purposeful representation and to boost their political image in order to give room for re-election. The situation where a political party is antagonizing the other is relatively minimal.  Just like other states of the federation whereby federal ministers picked from certain states are not at peace with the governors of the states or senators or vice versa either of the same party or rival one. At this point, one should commend the various political leaders in Delta State for the maturity in politics for showing exemplary commitment to ensuring peaceful co-existence in spite of various political parties with various interests and aspirations.

The pace of development, security situation, people’s opinion and feelings about governance, the judicious management of funds that accrues to the state or generated by the state, must be taken into consideration.  How emergent cases such as Covid 19 and wild fire outbreak are handled should also be looked into.

The indices for measuring qualities of governance after the elapse of tenure of office are: the willingness of the governor to remain in his party after his tenure, because one reason for defecting from one party to another is fear of probe. The pattern in Nigeria is that if one ex-governor has issue with money laundering or illegally acquires state properties for instance, the tendency to defect to the ruling party for refuge as an antidote to probe. This has made the fight against corruption in Nigeria to lack objectivity and credibility. And finally, if he is not able to successfully hand over to the candidate of his party.

Take for instance, the unparalleled establishment of three State Universities in the state by Sen.(Dr) Ifeanyi Okowa, is responding to the people’s needs and aspirations for good quality and accessible education and job creation which form part of his S.M.A.R.T Agenda. The even distribution of the universities is to strike a balance of tertiary institutions across the state which is in line with the principles of transparency and equitability. The ability of the universities to meet the demands of the current economic trends is dynamism. The fact that the institutions will be beneficial to the state is predictable. Since the government has shouldered the responsibility for the establishment, that is accountability. Also, public hearing was organized for the establishment of the universities and a bill was passed by the State House of Assembly for the establishment. That is participation of stakeholders. This is the way the principles of good governance evaluate and measure quality of governance to determine if governance is good or bad. The greater the number of principles of good governance applied in evaluating the quality of governance the higher the level of good governance. A close observation to Sen. (Dr.) Ifeanyi Okowa’s provision of infrastructural projects and his developmental strides in the state, shows that the application of the principles of good governance has always been his watchword.

In a similar vein, if the president of Nigeria, having seen that youths’ unemployment is a problem, decides to give all Nigerian youths employment, without giving consideration to other aspects of human lives, that alone cannot make his administration a good one. A country like Nigeria cannot score well on security when it is infested with widespread insecurity. Nigeria cannot score well on aspect of road construction when they spend out of our scarce resources to provide railway for Republic of Niger when major federal roads have remained death traps for decades? On the aspect of youths’ empowerment the present federal government administration could be highly commended for initiating the N-Power programme. This is because the programme has high degree of principles of good governance. If Nigeria has been using the principles of good governance in assessing the quality of governance you will agree with me that the level of the development will be higher than what we see. This assessment goes a long way to determining whether a candidate or political party is to be re-elected or not.

In Delta State, the manner in which few persons evaluate governance show some degrees of biasness. For example, if a governor is not from your senatorial district, Local Government Area or ward, there will hardly be anything good in his administration. Moreso, if the governor is not from your political party or faction, nothing good will be heard or seen about him. In most cases, some of these critics must have made appeals from the governor like request for appointments, contracts, money to solve some pressing needs and the governors did not act fast to their aids it will be calculated as a failure on the part of the governor. In most cases, those of his contestants that lost in election will engage the services of critics to make sarcastic statements about the governor. It is a fact, that there is no excellence in governance, neither is there any saint as far as governance is concerned. Let me ask. In our homes, with husband, wife or wives and children can we boast of effecting good governance?

*These are prejudicial assessment of the governor. It is high time Deltans thought of the way forward for the sake of posterity. Unfounded, unguided, derogatory and acidic criticism will never profit us. It will pay us better if we encourage and give maximum support to enable the governor to actualize his S.MA.R.T Agenda. Delta State needs more infrastructural developments, youths are in dire needs of job opportunities/employments and empowerment programmes, basic amenities, recreational facilities, facility upgrade and so on. These are the more reasons why Deltans should pray and give the governor an unalloyed support in order for him to perform maximally.*

It will be wise for Sen. (Dr.) Ifeanyi Okowa to be evaluated based on the principles of good governance as it relates to qualities of governance to ascertain the degree of his governance, either good or bad and you will observe that His Excellency Sen. (Dr,) Ifeanyi Okowa’s performance is an epitome of good governance.

*Richardson Ogwezzy is a teacher and a PG research student of Delta State University, Abraka*

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