By David David
It is the duty of every government to promote good governance through the design, formulation and implementation of policies and programmes aimed at enhancing the wellbeing of the citizenry and promoting stability within the polity. Good governance is characterized by participation, consensus building, accountability, transparency, responsiveness, effectiveness, efficiency; must be equitable and inclusive, and follows the rule of law. Good governance ensures that social contract exists between the people and their government; encourages citizens to participate in government activities, which engenders people-oriented policies and ultimately enhancing the peoples trust in government.
Regrettably, governance in Nigeria is usually seen as a far removed affair from the citizenry. Most often those in government see themselves as over lords, rather than partners with their citizens in the governance of the polity. This has led to citizen cynicism, distrust, and apathy in what government is doing.
Good governance in the main has often remained more of an exception than the normal it ought to have been. In Akwa Ibom State, a lot of the people see government as an abstract phenomenon that they have nothing to do with.
The coming to political office as governor of Akwa Ibom State by Mr. Udom Emmanuel saw the introduction of a government that established a relationship between government and the people. He introduced policies that took a radical look at the core needs of the people and pursued them with vigour. That explains the Udom Emmanuel’s fixation in ensuring that health facilities in the state are given the needed facelift. To ensure the health of the people, he has renovated, remodeled, reequipped and restocked five General Hospitals, while five others are ongoing. Also in the health sector, he has built a world-class isolation center and rescued the multi specialty hospital from the brinks.
The governor promised employment and an enhanced economic growth. He has pursued these with every sense of responsibility leading to the establishment of several industrial outfits in the state. His attitude to public funds is a far cry from the recent past where funds are routinely frittered away with reckless abandon. To Gov. Emmanuel, good governance is about accountability and financial responsibility.
Gov. Emmanuel sees empowerment from a more sustainable approach. That accounts for the numerous people-oriented investments he has made in the agricultural sector, where massive investments have been made in the training and funding of youths, women and farmers, to ensure food sufficiency and gainful employment in that sector.
The payment of salaries to civil servants is easily taken for granted because Akwa Ibom State under Gov. Emmanuel is not in the mould of some states where salaries and allowances are luxuries. Good governance is more a government with compassion for the people. It is that compassion that makes the governor sensitive to anything that has to do with the welfare and well being of the people of the state.
Good governance is about consensus building. Gov. Emmanuel has run a government that prides itself in listening to all shades of opinions before major decisions are taken. This has led to a very stable polity and a politically peaceful state.
The equitable distribution of social amenities is another hallmark of the Emmanuel administration. Roads, hospitals, schools and other facilities are located with the sole consideration of reaching all strata of the Akwa Ibom community.
The provision of peace and security are basic governmental responsibilities. Gov. Udom Emmanuel has pursued both with uncommon zeal. Today, this administration can boast of making the State one of the most peaceful and secure states in Nigeria, all thanks to the peaceful disposition of the governor and his zero tolerance to all forms of violence. His crusading anti cultism activism is paying off as those involved are now realizing that cultism is no longer a paying venture.
Though the education sector is not yet what the people pray for, the Udom Emmanuel has done so much in that sector, but his efforts pale in the face of the terrible rot that has over time existed in that sector. Several schools across the state have been renovated and equipped with very many still crying for attention.
The Udom Emmanuel administration has worked with the youths, elders, religious leaders, traditional leaders and critical stakeholder in the formulation and implementation of state policies. This has helped in cementing government and community relationship, ensuring that programmes and policies of government become owned by the communities, thus ensuring stability.
Gov. Emmanuel has shown courage in carrying on with projects and programmes that he is convinced would add value to the state. One of such projects is the establishment of the state owned airline, Ibom Air. Despite the cynicism that initially greeted the project, the governor went ahead and established the airline. Today, he has been vindicated as the airline is currently the toast of the Nigerian aviation industry. Another is the 21 story intelligent building, which the governor insists would attract International Oil Companies to locate their head offices in the state. Both projects are definitely thriving, giving vent to the governors futuristic tendencies.
With his ability to maintain a close government/citizens participatory governance relationship, high sense of accountability, responsibility, inclusive and equitable governance style, Gov. Udom Emmanuel has shown that good governance is still very possible and attainable.
. -David is a social affairs commentator