The Supreme court has eventually affirmed the victories of the Governors of eight states in the federation. The states include Lagos, Oyo, Ogun, Kaduna, Katsina, Nasarawa, Ebonyi and Akwa Ibom. Nigerians in these states are full of hopes that their helmsmen shall consider this an opportunity to ensure good governance, probity and accountability. In this interview, the Founder, Spiritual Head and Grand Imam of Shafaudeen-in-Islam Worldwide, Prof. Sabitu Olagoke advice the Governors to justify the confidence reposed in them by their people by ensuring good governance, probity and accountability. Excerpts :
The Supreme court has affirmed the victories of Governors in eight states of the federation. What is your advice to these Governors with specific reference to good governance, probity and accountability ?
Nigerians need to congratulate the eight Governors recently adjudged to be credible by the Supreme court, to continue to enjoy the mandate given to them by their people based on the results of the general elections.
However, this is not to say that the elections were free, fair and credible, but rather the array of contested issues were not strong enough to oust the Governors.
If it had been otherwise some states would have been in a state of grave yard silence, while others would have witnessed orgies of violence.
That an environment of peace has been able to be maintained is commendable. The Judiciary in another breadth is gradually redeeming its battered image.
For declared winners, the suggestion is that their people is ready to support them, despite the repeated threats by the opposition in a number of these states.
However, the next step for the winner Governors is to justify the confidence reposed in them by their people. To whom much is given, in this instance, the Governors must realize that very very much is expected from them.
In the light of this, the Governors must reassess the chemistry of democracy in relation to the peaceful co-existence of people with diverse backgrounds as well as in the area of achieving sustainable development which is anchored on environmental feasibility, economic viability and the social equability.
A need to re-strategize to achieve in the provision of basic amenities and functional infrastructure should be major priorities and constitute the focus and direction of governance. For example, most of the Governors are operating in an environment of sentiments and emotion revolving on religion and ethnicity as well as political party collaboration in which the osmotic pressure could drive them through the murky waters of personal affinity towards the the constituency that produced them. There is the need to advice Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo state to be above board, by objectively respecting the rule of law in governance. He should not stain his armor of credibility, that prompted eligible voters in Oyo state to shun party consideration, religious inclination and other reasons to vote enmasse for him.
In the same vein, all Governors including Mr. President are challenged, there is a need for them, most especially the triumphant eight Governors to carefully live above board to be able to offer good governance which must rest on the following criteria :
Governance should be for the promotion of a strong state rather than strong individuals. In this regard, the anti-graft commission currently in the works in Oyo state, is a step towards the right direction.
Governance must also be based on the principles of feasibility, viability and equity, for sustainable development to be realized.
Each of the Governors must realize that no matter how good they may be, they must be weary of those working with them and for them not to become frictional forces in their ways of making progress and ensuring development.
Good governance can best be achieved through effective application of corporate governance principles based on transparency and accountability. This has been the basis of profit making in the private sector without recourse to fraudulent practices.
For the right understanding of democracy, the Governors must ensure fair play and work positively with other arms of government to ensure that the rights of citizens are not trampled upon.
Finally, the Governors must ensure that probity and accountability are their watch words in the serious business of governance. They must always remember that their present positions should be seen as opportunities for them to write their names in gold on the sands of time. A good name is better than a corrupt mind and ill gotten wealth.