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Re: Governance & accountability

By Helen Ovbiagele, Woman Editor
It’s thumbs-down for governance in this country, especially if you’re talking of accountability.

What politicians promise us is never what we get, and we’re always too timid to remind them when they’re not performing, that they had promised us this and that.
Isn’t it ridiculous that after several ministers and high government officials have gone on inspection of our federal roads, the media still has a lot to write on the deteriorating state of these roads?

Any effort the government has made in the last ten years to make our interstate roads motorable has been very feeble.

They award contractors the job of repairing, and for a week or two there’s a flurry of activities on that road.  Later, you find idle road repair equipment by the roadside, with the work far from being completed.  Decay begins to set in, and the road is worse than ever before.

Right now, the Benin/Lagos road has become so bad that travellers take almost a whole day to do a journey that is meant to last just three hours.  Vehicles break down, not to mention lives that are lost due to accidents as vehicles try to avoid death-trap pot-holes.

Eager to find a passable place on the road, motorists drive up the wrong way and ram into one another, or overturn into the river or forest.  What about all those promises ministers and government officials made about completely rehabilitating that road?

Many readers are disappointed by the pace of development in this country despite promises by each successive government to make our lot better.

“”Madam Helen, don’t mention accountability by politicians or government official at any level of governance in this country.  At the moment, they’ve all suspended work in order to pursue their political ambition.

In countries where accountability is taken seriously, the rulers and the politicians don’t give any attention to the elections until it’s almost time to go to the polls.

That’s not the case with us.   Those seeking to be elected are not asking themselves first if they have anything to offer us, and if they can deliver.  They just want to win at elections.

If you ask me, I would say we should suspend civilian rule. – James, Lagos.’”

“”Sister Helen, I too watched that Ophrah Winfrey programme in which Laura Bush confirmed that the President of the United States pays for the food he consumes at the White House.  I remember wondering then if our politicians would ever do that in this country.

In fact, who would dare ask them to come settle their debts?  Aren’t they all freeloaders from  top to  bottom?  There are very few people of honour here.  Once anyone is in power, the person immediately seeks to place himself or herself above the law.

We have to be re-educated on the issue of integrity and honour in this country.  When you’‘re elected into or  placed in a position to serve the nation, you’re there for the nation, not for yourself. – Angela, Lekki, Lagos.”“

“”Madam, I don’t think the crop of rulers that find their way into power in our country at present  would have the discipline to follow laid-down rules like in the western countries, especially the U.S.A. where citizens know their rights, and are able  and encouraged, to exercise their rights.

However, one shouldn’t lay all the blame for lack of integrity and accountability on our rulers.  This is because they come from the system.  That is, a system that doesn’t celebrate honest hard labour, but edifies corruption and thievery.

I’m of the much older generation and I believe that the decadence in the society is because discipline in the home is no longer there.  Many of these people in power were born after independence, and even in some cases, their parents were young children at independence, so, the good old values on which the wheel of society ran smoothly, has never been part of their lives.

If you weren’‘t raised to be honest, you can’t be honest when you become a leader. – Elder Segun, Ondo.”“

“”Madam Ovbiagele, do you think we know what it is to be accountable in this country?  Accountability comes from a desire to be honest.  If you’re not honest you cannot feel the need to respect rules and order; to the extent that you’d not abuse your office. You would think that the higher you are in the society, the more above the law you are.

In countries running true democracy, the reverse is the case.   If you’re required as a ruler or high government official to pay for your food and drinks, accommodation and transport, whatever the  occasion you, do so graciously.

You don’t say your level at your place of work, or in the country,  is above obeying that order, and then try to set up rules for yourself which would mean flouting laid-down rules.

If you take money for a trip, retire it when you return.  Don’t say you’re the overall boss and not accountable to anyone.   If the boss is fraudulent, even in a small way, he/she is exposed to blackmail from the subordinates who would want to emulate the boss, and even surpass his/her efforts.  Such a boss would lose a grip on discipline as he/she couldn’t call his cheating and thieving subordinates  to order. – Madam Rita, Calabar.’”

We thank all those readers who wrote in via text messages, e-mails and telephone calls, to give their views.  The reaction was overwhelming, but we regret we’re not able to publish every response.


Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.