By Kingsley Adegboye
Members of Association of Professional Bodies of Nigeria APBN, who converged on Lagos last week for their 38th Annual General Meeting/Public Lecture, were tasked on reconstructing and revitalising all sectors of the nation by participating in governance.
Speaking on “Professionalism, Democracy and Good Governance in Nigeria”, the Guest Speaker, Prof. Iyiola Oni, former Dean, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Lagos, Akoka, Yaba said
“Professional organizations as part of the civil society must be alive to the responsibility of instilling and maintaining professional values among its members. Professionals should be involved in the governance of the country to reconstruct and revitalize all sectors of the country.
“Democracy which is government by the people, can only be sustained through inclusivity and broad participation of professionals at various sectors
Good governance for Nigeria should be a process of measuring how public institutions manage public resources and affairs.
“Professionals in governments must be ready to meet the needs of the masses. All sets of requirement for good governance must conform to the government goals sustained by professional heading various sectors. Professionals must ensure and maintain the bureaucracy’s autonomy. There should be more autonomy because the professional bureaucrats are able to conduct things well without being instructed with a lot of details”.
Prof. Oni who disclosed that governance will always be a perpetual topic until it is addressed, said the task of any society is to reconstruct and revitalize itself, build its own capabilities, educate, organize and mobilize the citizens to consolidate democratic space.
Pointing out that democracy requires a lot of work and effort to be sustained, the guest speaker noted that the concept of good governance was addressed by the World Bank in four areas: the management of the public administration, responsibility and accountability in the public sector, legal framework conditions, and the transparency of public activities.
According to him, the importance of good governance comes from its relationship with the development of a country and the reduction of poverty, insisting that good governance is a pre-requisite for successful development which every country craves for.
“Democratic administrations should ensure good governance in Nigeria. Nigeria’s democracy can only be strengthened through a revolutionized political system, better quality political parties, a stronger electoral management body and well-resourced judiciary. Nigeria’s democracy needs to serve the rights, aspirations, and potential of its citizens for a good, dignified and fulfilled life.
“Democracy remains the only system of government which can offer the hope of reconciling the extraordinary plurality of religions, ethnicities, and political traditions of its large population. The Nigerian society is stratified into the governed and the government, with each group having significant roles to play in engendering the county’s development
“Good Governance emphasizes transparency, accountability, responsiveness, rule of law, equity, effectiveness, inclusiveness, efficiency, among others, on the part of the government. On the basis of the indices of liberal democracy, Nigeria’s democratic scorecard is abysmal. Acts of corruption such as monetary and practices antithetical to standards of professional conducts abound across the wide spectrum of workers and employers”.
Decrying dearth of professionalism in the country, the former Unilag Dean of Faculty of Sccial Sciences said the “Dearth of professionalism in Nigeria has contributed in no small measure to the defective nature of governance. This has pervaded the polity. The deepest root of development failure is lack of good governance which is the inability or unwillingness to apply public resources effectively to generate public goods.
“These include physical infrastructures – roads, bridges, potable water, telecommunications, public transport to mention but a few. Development requires appropriate government policies and Institutions that improve human capital, foster social trust and thereby stimulate production and exchange”.