By Yaya Ademola
GOVERNANCE is defined as the “structures and processes that are designed to ensure accountability, transparency, responsiveness, Rule of Law, stability, equity and inclusiveness, empowerment and broad-based participation.” It is “the exercise of power or authority by political leaders for the wellbeing of their country’s citizens or subjects.”
It has to do with how government decision-making affects people. It is most about proper utilisation of society resources for the better living for the people; it is about exercise of power by political leaders for the wellbeing of the citizens.
According to Wikipedia, “Governance has been defined as the rules of the political system to solve conflicts between actors and adopt decision.” It has also been used to describe the “proper functioning of institutions and their acceptance by the public.”
Government, however, is the exercise of political authority over the actions, affairs, etc. of a political unit, people etc. as well as the performance of certain functions for this unit or body. Simply put, it is the rule of society by a few people.
Nigeria has been very blessed with everything needed to be a great nation in Africa and the World. Apart from the immeasurable fertile land that can grow variety of cash and food crops at a mechanised level, its weather is so clement that rain falls at its own time, sun shines at its own period. There are no problems of natural disasters like Earthquake, Hurricane Katrina, Tsunami, Tornadoes, Tropical Storms, etc., except the ones manufactured by us like flooding mostly caused by indiscipline blockade of waterways by refuse dumps.
We are so blessed that we have reserves of so many mineral wealth that we don’t know what to do with them. For instance, Nigeria has reserves of 42billion barrels bitumen with which 43 industrial chemicals, including crude petroleum could be attained; and research has demonstrated that they are suitable for road construction.
In addition, we also have large deposit of limestone in Cross River, Ebonyi, Abia, Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Bauchi, Balyesa, Benue, Borno, Edo, Enugu, Imo, Ogun, Ondo and Sokoto states and gypsum for road construction. Meanwhile, we spend so much to import bitumen for road construction despite that we have one of the largest deposit of bitumen and natural sand in the world domiciled in Lagos, Ogun, Ondo and Edo states.
We have large coal reserves with low sulphur content estimated to be at least 2billion metric tonnes. This coal is suitable for coke production for Iron and Steel Rolling Mills. Nigeria has the 7th largest of natural gas reserves in the world with an estimated 182TCF (Trillion Cubic Feet). We all know very much about our crude oil. Nigeria holds 37,070,000,000 barrels of proven oil reserves as at 2016, ranking as the 10th in the world.
Although, crude oil sales account for 85% of Nigeria foreign exchange earnings, we rely on what Shell Petroleum, Exxon Mobil, Chevron Corporation and Statoil say they explore as we have no technical knowhow to explore and exploit our oil by ourselves. Moreover, we give out on a daily basis more than 6,000 products derived from oil and gas like petrochemical feedstock, waxes, lubricating oils, asphalt etc. as we could no longer refine but rely on importation of refined oil. This is equivalent to handing out hundreds of thousands jobs to citizens of other countries where we import refined oil. Interestingly, while other countries of the world are setting deadline for ending use of fossil fuel for alternative energy, we are still very busy building and commissioning fossil fuel stations where we dispense our imported fuel for sales!
After the First Republic and to some limited level, Second Republic, governance has given birth to government. The contemporary ruling elite have compromised the system to the extent that virtually nothing works again. Life in Nigeria has become “who you know” and not “what you know.” Production and productivity have been thrown into the background.
Everybody looks for money by all means without commensurate work or services rendered why government shy away from its responsibilities in all areas of life with the ruling elite stealing money meant for development of the society.
There are reports of 34 Nigerian ex-governors owning 71 choice assets, 13 Ministers owning 26 properties bought with looted funds in Dubai. Merit has been relegated to the background for other consideration. Cumulative of all these wasted opportunities to turn around our situation for better and continuous wastefulness by the ruling elite have brought us to where we are today. In this month of April alone, it has been killings in Ekiti, Oyo, Zamfara, etc.; attacks and breaking of Correctional Centres and release of inmates; attacks of policemen and police command headquarters; kidnapping of University students and killing of five of them to pressure for ransom; attacks and killings in IDPs camp; hoisting of Boko Haram flag on our soil, etc. The level of anarchy and insecurity is so huge that nobody is safe any longer with the capacity to overrun Abuja, the seat of power, to the extent that the President has sought United States’ help in tackling the problem.
We must all cooperate together to getting out of this mess. Having survived this quagmire however, we cannot return to business as usual. The old system is senile and stale; it cannot move us forward again. The mass majority of the people who are the poor should buckle up and down and be prepared to mobilise and struggle to get their own true representatives with progressive orientation in government for good governance in a new and better Nigeria where decent living and working condition will ensue for the majority.