Reflex Eco Group – Nigeria news
by Victor Emejuiwe (Local journalist)
This Blog is sponsored by http://www.reflexecogroup.com
A tour around the states in Nigeria gives an insight about the level of poverty and deprivation suffered by great percentage of Nigerians. Apart from the capital cities, which was built over the years and the commercial nerves centers of the states, there are hardly any other form of developments in other part of the states. To worsen this scenario, the governors have totally neglected the local governments yet the local government funds have become gridlocked in the hands of the governors. The impudence of this governors has brought amongst others; a resultant effect of poverty in the rural areas, poor standards of living , poor standard of education with learning facilities, poor health care services, while subsistence farming has becomes the only recourse for survival.
The frail looks of elderly men and women, palpable sight of young men with no hope for the morrow, and the malnourished children parading their localities gives a clear evidence of abundant poverty and neglect in the states. This situation has left the youths in most states with no other option than to migrate to urban centers in search of greener pasture. It is also most unfortunate that the urban centers have become over populated with no jobs to offer to the youths. For the elderlies in the rural areas, the success of their dependents determines their survival in which case, they have no choice than to live with the burden of ill health amidst engraved sufferings.
This discomfiting scenario has ignited my curiosity to ask the question; what are the state governors doing in their states? I only know of less than three performing governors, but to the rest, they are comfortable with their lordship position, bearing the adjectival posture of “His Excellency” leaving their subjects as hungry puppets who dare not raise a voice against their government. Yes, the citizens of a state can only vituperate against oppressive governance outside the confines of their state, simple because he, who dares to speak against his Excellency, is embarking on a suicide mission.
I beg your pardon, Mr. Governors, this is not the type of democracy we craved for. Recall, most of the fore runners loosed their lives or at least shared spaces with armed robbers in prison, in view that, there would be a better tomorrow. The practice of most state governors has upturned democracy into monocracy with the adoption of class system of governance. This system of government assumes a dimension where only one-person rules but give recognition to the elites and people that matters in the state.
They buy the favor of powerful traditional rulers of the various local governments in the states, and procure the services of notorious groups in the same state, after which, the fate of the ordinary citizen becomes insignificant. The governors and the elites have seized the state, and it is being run as a parody of jungle life, depicting “survival for the fittest”.
Mr. Governors, Little wonder you worsen the security situation of your states with youths and upcoming leaders wearing the mafia mantles, trying to gain recognition through violence and exacerbating the rate of crime in Nigeria.
Why have you shelved democracy apart and embraced monocracy? If you dispute my allusion then what happened to the freedom of expression and the ‘right to know’ which is the dividends of democracy.
Continuous advocacy is the fruits of democracy; therefore, as it is done at the Federal level, advocacy needs to be resounding at the state level. Unfortunately, the governors are paranoid with the smears of advocacy and when this is attempted, the state governors open a bad book for such an individual or group.
Democracy also give births to popular laws that allows for transparency and good governance, but In an attempt to frustrate the inquisition of the citizens on the administration of the state, the state governors have refuse to replicate sundry laws that allows for accountability.
Such laws as the Freedom of Information Act, the Fiscal responsibility Act, and the Public procurement Act have become a big threat to the governors who still reels in the decadence of corruption with unassuming power to loot unchallenged.
The FOI law was signed in the year 2011, it is a law made for the sake of retrieving information from public institutions of government. Such information are to be made available to any member of the public upon request within seven days. Information about contract awards, budgetary allocations or revenue generation and disbursement can be gotten with the FOI. Unfortunately, no state government has domesticated the FOI.
For the FRA 2007, since the enactment of the Act, only eight states have so far domesticated the Act, with 12 states having just the draft bill awaiting enactment. Also, the Public Procurement Act 2007, was made to provide for due process in the procurement of goods, works and services, in a manner that allows for competition, transparency, accountability, efficiency and value for money. At the federal level this laws have been able to checkmate corruption and protect the flagrant abuse of public resources; but the law is only operational in just 10 states of the federation.
The 160 million population of Nigerians would not feel the impact of governance if these extant legislations are not passed in the states. The Federal government alone cannot provide the number of jobs needed by the unemployed citizens, the needs for social infrastructure, health care delivery, and food security requires the committed efforts of both the state and federal governments.
Following this backdrop, funds allocated to the state governors without the sine qua non legislations to checkmate it is regarded as slosh funds; because the trail for accountability and transparency is non-existent.
In recent times, civil societies and other well-meaning Nigerians have kicked against certain allocations to the state governors such as; the governor’s share of the Fuel Subsidy funds and the Ecology fund. The use of these funds cannot be trailed to any special projects in the states; the governors only count them as part of the birthrights that comes into their states.
The citizens of the states are left in the dark in the management of their state government monthly allocation from the consolidated revenue funds, these funds remain unaccounted for in most states. With the exception of few states, budget documents cannot be accessed by the public, and even for the states who publishes its budget, they only releases mere estimates of the budget and do not provide details of the appropriation, therefore, making it difficult for citizens to monitor the project.
Enough is enough! The people must reject every form of Monocratic governance in their states. The following questions are thrown as posers to the people; do we allow just one person in the capacity of the governor, to continue to make our mothers and grandparents suffer helplessly in the village? Do we continue to allow the governors deprive local governments of the funds needed to build schools, roads, motor parks, markets etc.? Do we continue to herald them with the titles “Your Excellences” when they have made us beggars and impoverished us in a perpetual state of squalor? Do we continue to clap for them at the commissioning of petty projects, which is far below the commensurate allocation given to them? Do we continue to allow a class system of the governors and some few powerful traditional rulers to continue to share the resources of the states amongst themselves?
Your response is as good as mine otherwise, we shall only continue to cry aloof with no one to beckon on us. We shall bear the pains of our parents been rejected in the hospitals for our inability to pay their medical bills, our siblings shall continue to be denied admission because of the high rate of school fees. We shall be tempted to become kidnappers and arm robbers at our own peril, we shall become corrupt and if we escape jail we might not escape hell.
What do we do? Let the people seek for accountability and transparency in the use of public funds in their various states. For the people to achieve this, ensure that the state governments pass the Freedom of Information Law 2011. The people must also ensure that their state governors, who are yet to domesticate the PPA and the FRA 2007, domesticate those laws in their states.
The people should monitor the performance of their state governors, those that are underperforming should be called to order, if they resist never give them the chance to seek a second term. Peaceful protest is recognized in democracy, the youths, students and NGO’s should follow due process to stage peaceful protest in the demand for good governance and accountability in their respective states.
The people must work with the media, the media remains an avenue to cry out and let the whole world know your pains, articulates the misnomers in your states in the newspapers, organize press conference with the radios and televisions.
The people must be well informed for them to make good advocacy, this entails that the people should give rapt attention to federal and state policies, conduct research and monitor the trends of governance in the state; by so doing the people should be able to make useful recommendations to their state governors.
Let us stop placing ourselves in subservient position, there by helping an uncaring governor to achieve his deadly political ambitions at the expense of the state. Wisdom is profitable, how long shall we continue to be fooled? We are used to get votes for them, we are used to castigate their opponents, some people have killed themselves because of these governors and yet, when they get to their uptown world, they dump us and we remain impoverished.
Let us stop running out of our states to other states in search of jobs. Lagos, Abuja and Port harcourt are over populated, there are little jobs available in these big cities, a lot of young girls have ended up as prostitutes and young men have become criminals, with the weaker ones hustling as beggars; it is high time we ask our governors to provide jobs for us before we all go to hell.
What do we want? Our governors should tell us how much they get every month, our governors should explain to us how they spend these monies, and they should enact the enabling laws that would help us to monitor what they are doing in the states.
Our governors should release the allocation due to the local government for them to bring development in the rural areas. This is what we want.
We must refuse to be intimidated, we must refuse to be suppressed and hunted by the powerful elites in our states, yes, they would use the police against us, they would use their thugs and sometimes they might even try to bribe us but we must not lose focus. Democracy has come to stay and we must fight to keep it.
To the governors, stop unnecessary propaganda, when in reality you haven’t done much for your people; remember that posterity would never forgive you if you betray the sacred trust conferred on you by the people.
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