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Still on democracy, good governance and development

By Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa
18 July 2022   |   1:59 am
Democracy requires quality participation and therefore orientation and knowledge on the part of the followers and leaders who man the democratization process.

Democracy requires quality participation and therefore orientation and knowledge on the part of the followers and leaders who man the democratization process. This has to be carefully planned and executed in order to deliver on its purpose. It must be deliberate and aimed towards directing the leader and the led in the direction of democratic tenets. The mindset of people towards any particular concept must be developed and activated, even before they assume positions of power or authority otherwise it may prove difficult to attempt to bend the iron when it is cold. People will readily adapt when they are yet to assume the position of power.

The orientation should be undertaken by political parties in the process of leadership recruitment. For instance, induction courses or orientation programmes should be organized for those who have won primary elections, to prepare them for the contest ahead, the need for issue-based campaigns and generally to focus on peace and credible electoral process. In the same vein, the government or INEC should organize retreats and seminars for those who have won elections prior to their assumption of office. This will help set a roadmap and offer them a compass for governance. It is not proper to put a greenhorn or some novice in sensitive positions and expect that he will learn on the job.
 Equity is important in the delivery of democracy. The Courts of law are central in the delivery of equity to ensure that there is fairness in the administration of justice. Beyond the courts however, we all can apply the doctrines of equity in our daily lives, especially those who have been entrusted with positions of authority, by embracing freedom from bias or favouritism and do what is right and just to all manner of people that come our way. In the family setting, in the allocation of resources, in the distribution of power and generally in the implementation of policies and programmes, we can embrace the principles of equity. Once there is justice, the moment we practice fairness in our dealings, then there is guarantee for peace, progress and development.

This is where the idea of rotation and zoning comes to play. Surely, our forefathers must have thought ahead of us, by inserting a clause in our Constitution which ensures that there is no concentration of power, wealth and resources in any particular group of people. If we cannot develop on the principle of federal character, we can at least retain and not bastardize it.

Democracy is attractive because it promises a better life for the people. It is important that the decisions and policies of the government are effective; otherwise, the government will lose its legitimacy. The current spate of insecurity, poverty and corruption in Nigeria’s public and private sectors makes it difficult to say that democracy has translated to a better life for the Nigerian people. Indeed, the seeming failure of leadership has led some elder statesmen to suggest a kind of interim arrangement that will usher in some kind of caretaker government which will develop a roadmap for Nigeria’s future. Many people have expressed the view that our own brand of democracy bears no value for the common populace.

Elections are expensive to conduct but democracy retains a better appeal than other forms of government in terms of cost and efficiency. It is essential to the democratization process that public funds are managed and accounted for in order to achieve the greatest good for the greatest number of persons. A situation where the office of the Accountant-General of the Federation is found wanting in the management of scarce resources is saddening. The corruption that has permeated the present administration is heartbreaking, given the initial euphoria and empty boasts to fight corruption to a standstill.

A case for good governance in Nigeria
 Professor Chinua Achebe, in his work, The Trouble with Nigeria (2005), published in the African Studies Review, stated as follows:
 ‘The trouble with Nigeria is simply and squarely a failure of leadership. There is nothing wrong with the Nigerian character. There is nothing wrong with the Nigerian land or climate or water or air or anything else. The Nigerian problem is the unwillingness or inability of its leaders to rise to the responsibility, to the challenge of personal example which are the hallmarks of true leadership.’
He further denied the claims that Nigeria is a great country and remarked as follows:
 ‘Nigeria is not a great country. It is one of the most disorderly nations in the world. It is one of the most corrupt, insensitive, inefficient places under the sun. It is one of the most expensive countries and one of those that give least value for money. It is dirty, callous, noisy, ostentatious, dishonest and vulgar. In short, it is one of the most unpleasant places on earth.’
To be continued tomorrow
Adegboruwa is a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN).

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