Nigeria must be rescued from bad governance – Fayemi
Harvard – The Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, has called on Nigerians to utilize the ongoing broad-based coalitions and platforms to rescue the country from the prevailing bad governance being witnessed at the federal level.
The coalitions and platforms, according to him, are beyond parties and personalities but all-embracing enough to those who subscribe to the core values of integrity, honesty and dedication to the transformation of Nigeria.
He expressed dismay that Nigeria is still afflicted by bad governance, illiteracy, injustice, inequity, incompetence, want and misery despite earning over 400 billion dollars from oil sale alone over the last five decades.
Fayemi stated this in a paper he delivered as the visiting lecturer for the monthly ‘Nigeria in the World Series’ at the Weatherhead Centre for International Affairs, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachussettes, United States of America Tuesday night.
The lecture which was entitled: “From the Barricades of Resistance to the Verandah of Power: Personal Reflections on Democracy, Governance and State Reconstruction in Nigeria”, had in attendance distinguished Nigerian academics, students and faculty of Harvard University, diplomats including former US Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Walter Carrington; political scientists and policy makers.
Fayemi disclosed he is joining hands with other politicians of like minds with the determination of building a strong opposition platform which can wrest power from the ruling party at the centre.
The Governor canvassed a strong resistance to the reactionary elements reminiscent of the long and tortuous struggle in Ekiti State which led to the restoration of the people’s mandate that brought a new lease of life to the Land of Honour on October 15th, 2010.
“If free and competitive elections can be pressed towards the service of the consolidation of a small elite, even an autocracy, such as in Tanzania, it is easy to imagine what then happens when elections are not even free, fair or competitive. In such contexts, we will be in the zone which some African scholars have described as one of the “abrogation of the electorates.” He said.
He stressed that the chronic nature of poverty in Nigeria has a link to historical and continuing mismanagement of resources, persistent and institutional uncertainty, weak rule of law, decrepit and absent infrastructure, weak institutions of state and monumental corruption.
Fayemi reasoned that this is also responsible for the insecurity the country is presently experiencing.
The governor expressed satisfaction that the eight-point agenda of his administration has helped transform the state in the areas of governance, infrastructure, agriculture, health care services, education and human capital development, tourism development, industrial development and gender equity and empowerment.
He noted that the transformation witnessed so far in Ekiti has received a global acclaim from many international development agencies and development partners based on verifiable indices of development.
Saying that a lot of misinformation about African nations are being spread by a number of researchers and journalists, Governor Fayemi said it was high time scholars and development experts began to look beyond the national government and focus on activities at other levels of government in order to get a more accurate picture of development.
The Governor said: “It is quite fashionable in both lay and academic literature to emphasise how and why Africa is not being governed well. Much of the evidence adduced in the literature is, no doubt, not only true, but also troubling.
“As a civil society activist, scholar and even dissident for many years, I am aware of both the structural and agential bases of the dark prognosis on political power and what passes for government in Africa. Nigeria is one of the starkest examples of the consequences of how bad leadership can complicate colonially-induced structural fatalities. However, I will like to conclude by making two important points.
“One, in the theorizing democracy in Africa and in analysing the challenges of democracy and state-reconstruction in post-Cold War Africa, it is important that scholars and development experts begin to look beyond the macro-state, that is the national-state, in understanding the processes of delivering good governance at the micro-state, that is, sub-national level. Perhaps all the received cynical theories of African political pathologies can lend themselves to some instruction concerning a well-articulated agenda for development based on good governance which are often under the radar of a paradigm that perpetually expects basket cases to emerge from Africa.”
“However, having said that, let me now flip the picture. And this brings me to my second concluding point. What many of the dark prognosis about Africa say is largely true at the national level. However, in our bid to federalise good governance in Nigeria, our party and political associates are working hard to ensure that we build a strong opposition platform which can wrest power from the ruling party at the centre, so that we can begin the process of humanising the totality of the Nigerian space.
“For us in Ekiti State, as well as in the other states governed by my party, what is left is to federalise good governance in Nigeria; to ensure that if infant and maternal mortality rates are reduced in Ekiti and Osun States in the south-west, they must also be reduced in Sokoto and Zamfara States in the north-west of Nigeria. This is important because we are not only co-citizens, we also share a common humanity with all our compatriots in every part of Nigeria. The realisation of this shared citizenship as well as humanity makes it insufficient for us to ensure good governance in Ekiti State and not care about Jigawa and Yobe or Borno and Akwa Ibom States.
“This is the new phase of resistance that people like us who were formerly at the barricades have embraced. Indeed, it is the new barricade; the barricade against bad governance, ignorance, illiteracy, injustice, inequity, incompetent leadership, want and misery in a nation which has earned over $400 billion over the last five decades from oil sale alone.
“In the face of the daunting odds that our compatriots face all over Nigeria, people like me cannot restrict the struggle for good governance to my state only. Therefore, I cannot abandon the zone of resistance, even while being in the veranda of power. With seventy per cent of Nigerians living below poverty line, the reality of the poverty trap is an unacceptable paradox when measured against the country’s wealth. It is akin to what the notable political scientist, Terry Lynn Karl once referred to as the “paradox of plenty”.
“There is an urgent need to build coalitions and platforms in the public sphere that are beyond parties and personalities, but all embracing enough to those who subscribe to the core values of integrity, honesty and dedication to the transformation of Nigeria….In my view, the problem is still about the nature and character of the Nigerian state, and it is not one that election can resolve, no matter how regular, well organized and untainted they may be. It is clear to most people in Nigeria, including the political leadership, that the question of the national structure is the central issue that will not go away in Nigeria’s quest for democratic development and effective governance.
“I will remain at the barricades, even in the veranda of power, to ensure that this quest is satisfied, not only in Ekiti State, and in the south-west region, but all over Nigeria.”, he concluded.