By Raymond Oise-Oghaede
The various inauguration ceremonies held across different states on 29th of May marked the commencement of another phase of governance in the affected states. While some witnessed the coming-in of an entirely new administration, some others witnessed the second term (continuity) of the subsisting administrations. In the same vein, some states also witnessed change in batons from one party to another. All the same, those events have kicked started the journeys of four years according to the constitutional provisions of our country. Therefore, I am using this medium to congratulate all the governors and deputies on their successful inaugurations and taking over of the mantle of governance. I pray that the Almighty God will guide and protect them to making their tenures worthwhile and memorable in the history of their respective states. It is in line with my best wishes for them that I am inclined to take further steps to offer them some important tips that will be crucial in ensuring the smooth and effective discharge/performance of their duties/functions.
Firstly and foremostly, you must realize the fact that by that act of inauguration, you have been inducted to be the representatives of the people, by the people and, for the people; and, not for particular political party(ies) or selected individuals or group of people. You are no longer representatives of specific wards, constituencies, local governments or divisions of your state; but that of the entirety of the state. This implies that you have ceased to be at the beck and call of your god father(s)/mentor(s); but, you are to be responsive to the basic needs of the electorates. Therefore, your loyalty should be to the state and the people and not to leaders of your political party, selected elders, traditional or religious rulers and institutions.
Haven imbibed the above realities; you must be prepared to make positive impacts in the lives of the people by your resolve to leaving enduring legacies in your state. You must be able to rise above board and shake off the burden of failures or shortcomings of your predecessor (for the first termers) and make deft moves to put your state on the parts of progress. In this regard, the most important thing to do is to adopt the RAY`s THEORY FOR GOOD GOVERNANCE. In this case, you need to do a holistic REVIEW of the performance of your predecessor or your first term (as the case may be) to enable you lay solid and objective foundation for the new tenure; Thereafter, you should comprehensively APPRAISED the assets and liabilities of your state vis-à-vis the functional budget in place. Thereafter, you must be determined not to YIELD to pressures and antics of detractors and sycophants in your quests to doing the needful and moving the state forward. This is to be closely followed by the SWOT ANALYSIS in which you are expected to work on the STRENGTH of your state to maximize returns; identify the WEAKNESS of your predecessors (for first termers) and or of your first term (for second termers) and devise means of improving or turning them around positively. You are also to identify the OPPORTUNITIES inherent in your state and optimize same to providing the basic needs of the people and making them enjoy the dividends of democracy. Also, the THREATS that could hinder you from performing your functions/duties towards meeting set goals and targets should be identified and avoided or eliminated.
In furtherance to the above, governors should have it at the back of their minds that each state has its peculiarities; and, that it will be wrong and reckless for a state with high potential in agriculture to adopt the programs and set targets of another state with high potential in industrialization and still expect to achieve the same results. It will not be surprising if such state waste all the accruing resources and revenues to pursuing unrealistic programs that will not impact positively on the fortune and progress of the state. Therefore, it would be expedient to identify the peculiar needs of your domain and prioritize their accomplishments on a scale of preference.
Also, it will be in the interest of any governor that is determined to succeed to look beyond political or sentimental considerations in assembling a team of qualified, capable, patriotic and willing persons to join in the project of moving their state forward. Any government that is formed on the basis of sentiments will not be able to move outside the box to accomplishing the desired results. Such administration will find it very difficult if not impossible to shake off parochial and unobjective considerations in place of objectivism and result oriented decisiveness. When all policies and actions are tied to satisfying a clique or cabal by doing their biddings rather than being resolute and clinging to taking decisions for the overall interests of the masses; those same sets of people will be the first to condemn and crucify you when things go awry. With this in mind, it will be very crucial to appoint and put the right people in the right positions without fear or favour. Do not imbibe the idea of putting `square pegs in round holes` in the quest to satisfying `elders/leaders of your party`. Do not appoint a medical doctor as the Commissioner for Works and Housing while also appointing a Civil Engineer, Architect or Estate Surveyor as Commissioner for Health because they are the anointed or chosen candidates of your party or mentor.
In addition to the above, governors should also device means of reaching out to the people at the grassroots. The fact that the federal government has opted to be paying allocations directly to Local Government Councils is instructive. In the recent pasts, most governors abandoned the interior parts of their states while concentrating developments in the capital city and other selected areas to give people the impression that they are `working` when in the true sense of it, 80% of the interiors are in states of decay. Some of them did not even know the deplorable conditions of those abandoned areas until when they embarked on electioneering campaigns to seek for second term votes. Dishearteningly, they are always quick to forget those areas and the people immediately they secured the desperately sought-after `2nd term`. If you are one of such governors, this is the time to retrace your steps by `putting-in` all efforts possible towards ensuring that you do the needful and make the people to enjoy the dividends of democracy. Make your government to be felt at the Local Government Areas in collaboration with their respective Chairmen. Endeavour to tour the nook and cranny of your state to afford you first hand information which are necessary to guide you in prioritizing your goals and objectives. It will enable you to know the true state of affairs in every areas of your state and also make it difficult, if not impossible to be derailed by the `cooked information` of `parasitic sycophants` who are always milling around every government in power. You may wish to also constitute committees of `SECRET OBSERVERS/INFORMANTS` (under the RAY`s Theory) who will be on monitoring assignments from one location to the others; or from one Ministry/Agency/Parastatal to the others; to make necessary findings for your perusal and considerations. This will make people to sit up and take up their responsibilities seriously because of the awareness that they are under watch by unknown agents of government.
Finally and most importantly, all state governors should join hands together and assist one another and the federal government to fighting the security challenges in the country. The Governors Forum should not be seen as an avenue for frolicking and engaging in trivialities; rather, it should be for telling yourselves the truth and working in collaboration to finding lasting solutions to the country`s common problems and challenges. As the popular saying goes “when two brothers engage in serious discussions and come out smiling; it means that they did not tell themselves the truth; but, when they come out frowning; it means they have sincerely told one another the truth”. Thus, you are expected to deliberate on issues of national concerns with patriotic zeal and commitments. If there is need to criticize one another or any constituted authority(ies) and or even the federal government, do so objectively and patriotically with the aim of proffering workable solutions. Always endeavour to do the needful rather than staying away or keeping mum for fear of the unexpected by taking decisive and justified stand on issues. You should inculcate the option of standing on path of honour for the sake of good governance and not for the satisfaction of the directives or personal interests of leaders or elders of your political, tribal and religious affiliations. So whether you are from the North, East, South or West; or whether you are Muslim, Christian, Traditionalist or others; or whether you are APC, PDP, APGA or others; it does not matter; the most important thing is that you all are the same. Therefore, the forum should be seen as an embodiment of patriotic men of honour who should be prepared to call a spade a spade without fear or favour. The forum should put machineries in place to securing their common borders; by so doing, the perpetrators of those heinous crimes will be boxed-in and crushed, while those outside the territories will be repelled or prevented from gaining access into the country.
If the above tips are put into working considerations, it will lead to overwhelming developments across all parts of our nation.
Please note that the above recommendations are without prejudice to all subsisting suits at the various Election Petition Tribunals.
We are waiting and watching.
Oise-Oghaede is a public policy analyst/commentator. He sent in this piece from Surelere, Lagos State. You can reach him at 08023116867 and 08099405562.