On the eve of our 51st birthday, ladies and gentlemen, I feel it is right to say congratulations on our independence anniversary.
Let me quickly add that I feel highly honoured to
have been invited by The Sun Publishing Ltd to speak to this eminent gathering at the public presentation of ‘Nigeria’s Golden Book’, an authoritative narration of Nigeria’s history from amalgamation in 1914 to the current democratic dispensation.
Today’s event is historic not only because it coincides with Nigeria’s 51st anniversary celebration, but also that the seminal work being presented is an invaluable guide for politicians, political practitioners, academics, and students of social change globally and in Nigeria in particular.
Nigeria in the Global Trajectory
To my delight, I must confess, the assigned topic takes off from two issues that have occupied my attention since I deliberately chose to jump into the political cauldron of our country: Good Governance and the ‘power of the people’ or as you have put it, ‘people power’ in the context of our political reality as a country.
I am in no doubt therefore that with the array of guests and contributors here and the faculty behind this event, we are in yet another location and place where we can look ourselves in the face and tell the truth as it should be told. And the truth is that we have remained where we are because we have not allowed the people to express their preferences; to exercise their legitimate power, legitimately; before, at and since independence. Simplicita!
To advance my arguments in support of the above position, permit me to template my flow of thoughts on the following assumptions. In a democracy, power resides in the people. This power is to be exercised through open, periodic, free and fair elections. The elections are conducted by tested and proven credible institutions. Through these, people have confidence in themselves and their institutions and over time correct real and perceived errors. They eventually create or recreate a society where transition becomes almost seamless and growth and development almost taken for granted.
Global trend in the direction of political change as a result of nonviolent civic mobilization dictates that countries like Nigeria need to pause to ponder. This reality, coupled with our political history, recent political development and obvious cases of unmet expectations of the masses in Nigeria indeed give reason for anxiety for the prospects of democracy in the years ahead.
Our history has been that of frequent military interventions in politics, long periods of military dictatorship, executive impunity and attempts by some rulers to ascend to power and/or perpetuate themselves in power through electoral fraud against the wishes of the vast majority of the people. And clearly today, twelve years after the restoration of civilian democratic rule, there are horrendous challenges towards the deepening of democracy in Nigeria. Furthermore, many years of political perambulation and inept leadership have stunted Nigeria’s development, accentuated ineffective governance and deepened alienation of the people from the political process.
No time could be better than now to look at the pivotal issues affecting us as a nation as a necessary step in projecting into the future of democracy in our country. But first, some conceptual clarifications.
People Power, Good Governance and Democracy Conceptualised
People power, to my mind, is the prerogative of the people to determine who governs them and how they are governed in a society to which they have submitted their sovereign will under a system that is agreeable to them. It could come in the form of open support for the activities of their duly elected representatives or through open condemnation and opposition to their leaders.
People power can be perceived as the preponderance of the political will of the people of a nation that can be mobilized against or in support of any cause. It can also be said to be the force of the people’s will along a particular course, and it represents the ultimate barometer of resolution on contentious state or national issues. In an attempt to identify what ordinary civilians could do to change their country’s course, Mohandas Gandhi, the first person in the 20th century to offer profound thoughts on the issue said:
Even the most powerful cannot rule without the cooperation of the ruled.
We have examples in our history when the withdrawal of the people’s support and cooperation has resulted in the loss of credibility and legitimacy of the government. Indeed, this is the whole essence of the social contract as brilliantly espoused by John Locke.
The instrument for bringing people power about is a self-organized movement, which Political Scientist, Sidney Tarrow, describes as having “the power to trigger sequences of collective action” based on a unified frame for common goals. When non violent movements of this kind have drained a ruler’s sources of support, the results have changed history.
The theory and praxis of Mao Zedong, leader of the revolutionary movement that established the Communist government in China in 1949 are replete with the masterly use of people power to change the course of the nation’s and indeed global history. From the activities of the May Fourth Movement which began on the 4th of May 1919, as a student-led protest for the modernization of China, to the eventual routing of the Kuomintang from power in 1949, Mao demonstrated his reliance on people power as a potent force of change.
“... the richest source of power lies in the masses of the people” Mao Zedong (Nov, 6, 1938) would thunder!
In contemporary times, peoples across continents have risen to change the course of their history. In 1980, the Solidarity Movement in Poland used industrial strikes to make the Communist regime permit a free trade union. Ten million Poles soon joined. The movement continued underground during martial law, and President Wojciech Jaruzelski eventually asked Solidarity to help negotiate Poland’s first free elections, which it won.
Ferdinand Marcos’ experience in the Philippines; the people-power induced implosion in Eastern Europe and the Serbian movement against Slobodan Milosevic are other examples to note.
Fresh in our memories however is the volcano of popular anger against the long staying ruling elites across the Arab world from the indignation of a frustrated and humiliated Arab man who opted for self-immolation as a form of protest. In Tunisia, Egypt and Libya the old order has given way while Syria is still being rocked by the rise of the people against their government, signposting 2011 as the year of the Arab masses.
Governance and Good Governance
Governance and good governance have become common currencies in any discourse of development, either at the public or the private sector. It is in this context that we have such derivatives as corporate governance, international governance, national governance and local governance.
While Governance is as old as the first society itself, good governance is a more recent paradigm. It has become the ready remedy to bad governance which is seen as the root cause of problems and distortions in any society. More than these, it has become a template upon which development partners and major international donors base their relations with countries and institutions.
Much as they have become prominent however, there are divergent opinions on what constitutes governance and/ or good governance.
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the World Bank and indeed political scientists have given their perspectives on governance and good governance as discussed in other parts of this presentation.
In fact, the Australian Development Assistance initiated a resolution on good governance in the year 2000 which was supported by member countries of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights where key elements on good governance and preconditions for sustainable development were codified under political and economic principles. Core political imperatives for good governance are: representative and accountable form of government; a pluralistic civil society where there is freedom of expression and association; good institutions and sets of rules governing actions of individuals and organizations; the primacy of the rule of law, maintained through an impartial and effective legal system; a high degree of transparency and accountability and, a participatory approach to service delivery.
The economic component of good governance involves the promotion of broad based economic growth, focus on poverty reduction, encouragement of dynamic private sector, and deliberate investment in the citizens through improved access to quality education, health, ensure effective institution and good corporate governance to support competitive private sector.
Ladies and gentlemen, from this apt description of good governance, there is no doubt that we will all agree that the essence of any democracy irrespective of its colour and shape, nation or region is good governance. Good governance is expected to roll back the frontiers of national poverty and create in the citizens the sense of hope. It is the major antidote to socio-political discordance and a veritable enabler of development. A nation which thus seeks development must necessarily embrace good governance. Discard good governance, and see development walk on its head.
Today, twelve years after the restoration of civilian democratic rule, there are horrendous challenges towards the deepening of democracy in Nigeria. Furthermore, many years of political perambulation and inept leadership have stunted Nigeria’s development, accentuated ineffective governance and deepened alienation of the people from the political process.
Let us look at some of the critical areas:
From independence in 1960, Nigeria is yet to surmount the challenge of good governance. Nothing demonstrates this claim better than the grim realities of our national life. Ours is a nation sitting on abundant natural resources with fertile land but completely unable to feed its citizens. The Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, recently noted that:
“Nigeria is now one of the largest food importers in the world. According to him, the food import bill of Nigeria in 2007 – 2010 was N98 trillion or $628 billion. In 2010 alone, Nigeria spent N632 billion Naira on importation of wheat, N356 billion on importation of rice (that means we spent N1 billion per day on rice alone), N217 billion on sugar importation and with all the marine resources, rivers, lakes and creeks, we are blessed with, Nigeria spent N97 billion importing fish”.
The simple calculation from the above is that Nigeria spends on the average N24.5 trillion yearly which is about $160 billion. This revelations is certainly unwholesome if one considers that Nigeria has over 74 mha of arable lands and yet a net importer of food as of today. This is a clear departure from the reality of Nigeria in the 1960s when agriculture provided the main source of employment, income and foreign exchange earnings for Nigeria. The advent of commercial oil exploitation in the mid 1970s no doubt, heralded an era of decay for agricultural output in Nigeria.
It is interesting to note that as a nation today, we produce 500,000 tonnes of rice whereas we consume 2.5 million tones.
The state of infrastructure, instructional materials and quality of teaching has nosedived. The products from our school now have to grapple with the issue of the integrity of their certificates. Our graduates are largely unemployable yet, the number of those aspiring to secure places in the limited number of higher institutions continue to rise.
The loss of confidence in the nation’s educational system has inadvertently opened the floodgate of exodus of the nation’s youth to foreign lands. For example Angela Harrison, the BBC education correspondent noted that in the United Kingdom, the number of overseas students increased dramatically by 32% in the 5 years to 2010 where as there was just an increase of 6% in the number of home students in the United Kingdom over the same time. In 2008, the British Council forecast enrolment to grow tenfold in just five years for Nigerian students; from 2,800 in 2007 to 30,000 by 2015. This forecast was based on a number of factors, including the ‘poor quality’ of Nigerian Universities’. It bears highlighting that our failure to address the falling standard of education is not without its attendant financial drain of the nation’s resources. In 2008/2009, Nigeria had a total of 14,380 students in the United Kingdom. This increased to 16,680 in 2009/2010. The arithmetic is alarming. At an average of 10,000 British Pounds per student, this will translate to 166,800,000. Same amount is estimated to be spent on goods and services in the local communities. On the average, these translate to 336,600,000 British Pounds (N84.15 Billion). This excludes the cost of ticket estimated at N4.17 billion for same number of students. In the Punch of 21st October, 2010 the Deputy Chief of Mission at the United States Embassy in Nigeria, Mr. James Mc Anulty was quoted as saying.
“Nigeria has recently become the country with the largest number of students who attend universities and high schools in the United States. He went on to say this is a great achievement because “it is a testimony to the hard work of Nigeria students”. What he did not say actually is that this is a testimony to the near total breakdown of our educational institution and system in Nigeria!!!
One of the major determinants of good governance is the extent to which government is able to create the enabling environment for job creation. The reality about Nigeria is that, in spite of the cost of formal education, and its attendant difficulties, the prospect of employment is less promising. Overall, there is an obvious mismatch between graduate turnout and graduate employment in Nigeria thus reinforcing that sense of hopelessness amongst the youth. The data between 2003-2007 confirms this. Total graduate unemployment rate increased from 25.6% in 2003 to 40.3% as at March, 2009 (ILO, 2010). This is projected to increase phenomenally if one considers the moribund state of our industrial and power infrastructure.
Development is certainly about humanity. The absence of good governance in Nigeria over the years has equally impacted negatively on all known human development index. Life expectancy in Nigeria stands at 46.9(30% below world average) and below countries like Ghana (60.0), Chad (50.6), Niger (56.9) to mention but a few. This is an era, where, according to CIA World Fact Book, Japan (82.25), Sweden (81) and Israel (80) occupy a top range. The Medical facilities are virtually non-existent and where they exist are grossly substandard. Personnel are ill-trained, ill-equipped and poorly remunerated. There is total absence of incentive to function in the sector such that an enduring conflict inevitably ensued between patriotic commitment and the desire to earn decent leaving. In droves, the available competent individuals drifted to saver nations. Internally, there exists instant loss of confidence in the available facilities. Their usage thus becomes only reluctantly desirable only for the wretched of the nation who barely struggle for existence. A new innovation ensued- Medical tourism, an euphemism for seeking medical solution to even otherwise simple ailments outside the borders of the country. To an otherwise traumatized nation and citizen, medical tourism is simply another veritable instrument of misery. This is in terms of its psychology and finance. According to Chioma Obinna, in an article in the Vanguard of July 17, 2011 captioned: “why Nigeria should bridge the gap in medical tourism” and quoting Prof. Babatunde Oshotimehin, Nigeria’s former Ministry of Health, the nation loses an estimated 200 million dollars approximately 30 billion naira to medical tourism annually. According to her, not less than 3,000 Nigerian patients visit India for medical tourism annually.
Global medical tourism market is about 20 billion dollars and it has been estimated to hit 100 billion dollars by 2020. It is however doubtful if there is any deliberate policy in place to make Nigeria profit from this expected explosion in spite of our abundant human, (medical resources) at home and abroad.
The records are scary. Poverty incidence (that is number of those spending less than USD1 a day) rose from 27 percent in 1980 to 65 percent in 1996 and is still rising. Nigeria’s Human Development Index rating of 147 out of 177 countries for 2010 and its position on the failed state index of 15th out of 177 states likely to fail (Fund for peace, 2009) are not encouraging of its progress towards a successful state that can guarantee the well being of its citizens. This is a very poor showing! That Nigeria is ranked 142nd in the 2010 UNDP HDI lower, than African countries such as Togo (139th), Benin (134th), Ghana (130th), Cameroon (131st), South Africa (110th), Botswana (98th), Equatorial Guinea (117th) and Morocco (114th), is a source of concern. Needless to say we are behind Malaysia (57th), Chile (44th) and Brazil (73rd).
Also worrisome is the report that she has lost about USD 500 billion from her wealth due to corruption, from 1960 to date, as analysed and estimated by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime! For instance, it is estimated that our oil earnings between 1980 and 2010 is in the region of $798.02 billion!
No time could be better than now to look at the pivotal issues affecting us as a nation as a necessary step in projecting into the future of democracy in our country.
Nigeria and its Specific Challenges
In our general discourse as a nation, three areas have been identified as the major causes of our problems:
-The structure of the Federation;
-Leadership deficit-capacity and integrity
These are self sustaining variables. Skewed structure (feeding Prebendalism) leading to lack of credible elections, producing leadership deficit.
On the issue of the structure of Nigeria, the point has been made yet we have to repeat it: No other federal entity is being run as a unitary enclave like Nigeria. It is the perversion of the federal structure that has birthed the disparate distortions in the polity. Because we are a federation running on a loose spin, the functional and symbiotic relationships expected between the federating states and the centre on one hand and among the federating states on the other are non-existent.
Apart from the unitary structure presented as a federation, what exist informally are regional structures, anchored in most cases on religious/ethnic and regional colourations, which are run most of the time in the interest of these regions and in such cases may not be unwilling to subvert the sanctity of the federation.
The quasi unitary structure of the Federation has made competition for power at the Centre very intense. Like we said earlier, we must discuss, mainstream our respective anxieties and proffer solution.
The issue of revenue allocation/resource sharing in the light of our peculiar experience must be discussed. We must not shy away from the issue of unified local government system and the uniform remuneration system. Ditto States. Ditto wages negotiation. Ditto Security-role of centralised police system. Ditto issues of State creation vis-a-vis powerful Centre
That is why it is easy to forge common alliances on inconsequential things and disagree fundamentally on fundamental issues in the same instance.
Many have talked about Federalism as the solution to our structural problems: On this issue of federalism, a lot has been written. Some have said we should deconstruct the Nigerian entity for reconstruction. Some have argued that we break the leviathan: the option available now is a holistic appraisal of the ground norm; a genuine review of the 1999 Constitution will be a starting point. We must emplace a mechanism that will ensure genuine participation of all stakeholders in this process.
We must be prepared for an all inclusive engagement. We mus TALK –by whatever name it is called. We must discuss our anxieties and build the necessary consensus for the way forward! We have said there is a mutual reinforcing relationship between the skewed structure, elections and leadership. What should be added is that there are a set of manifestations of their combined effects on Nigeria. These manifestations are also direct results of the distortions occasioning the two problems.
They include absence of internal democracy in the political parties, corruption, insecurity, lack of capacity on the part of the leaders, rising unemployment, militarisation of the people’s psyche, absence and or collapse of infrastructure.
Today, we run a centralised security system that impedes the gathering of intelligence and control of crime. It is a known fact that each society has a way of handling its deviants and miscreants. It is through the institutionalisation of local, community and communal means of apprehending and managing such that true security could be guaranteed. Only the review of the Constitution to allow the establishment of State Police can move us at the right speed in combating crimes.
We need not reemphasise the fact that the do-or-die approach to election and electoral matters stands at the root of proliferation of light arms and militarisation of the civil society. What must be said, though in passing, is that even Labour Unions have become affected by the militaristic approach to issues. Such use of language as ‘with immediate effect,’ ‘now or never,’ ‘act now or face the consequence’ and others like them have found their ways into the lexicon of labour relations and actions such that issues that could be resolved easily have become points on which strike actions have been hinged.
The emergence of ethnic militias and of recent religious groups with either expansionist or disintegrative agenda can also be traced to the disposition of political elite to violence.
Above all, the people themselves are fast becoming so alienated from their own governance that they see government as an outsider to be milked and pillaged. Those who steal barefacedly are celebrated as heroes in many instances and rewarded with chieftaincy titles in others.
These and many more are manifestations of the drift arising from a shaky national foundation and distortion of the polity sustained through unchecked electoral heist and mass poverty.
Continuing imbalance in the operation of the federal system in Nigeria is a manifest threat to good governance and enduring democracy. True, we embraced federalism based on regions, which had their own Constitutions and operated autonomously and developed along their own resources and capabilities at independence. The distortion brought as result of the interplay of forces in the country’s past, accentuated through years under the military and the introduction of a unitary order and sustained through elections designed to produce far-from-dependable results, still remains with us. The federation has been seriously weakened.
The projections are better if...
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, today there is an overbearing centre, with beggarly and weak federating units. We agree that this can never augur well for comprehensive and sustainable good governance and enduring democracy. We require purposeful leadership to reverse this situation and President Goodluck Jonathan should brace up to this challenge as a departure from the lukewarm attitude of previous leaders to the issue of true federalism. History beckons.
It is my conviction, however, that despite the numerous challenges we face as a nation, the future of democracy in Nigeria is not bleak. The political enlightenment arising from twelve years experience of continuous civilian government has helped in nurturing some democratic spirit in Nigerians. We can do better. The late sage and undisputed Nigerian thinker, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, recommended the right course long before his demise. His words:
Firstly, election rigging and other kinds of electoral malpractices must be totally outlawed in future elections. One of the major causes of the failure of our first experiment in democracy in the First Republic was the blatant rigging of elections on two occasions. The first rigging created a tremor and alarm; the second generated a disastrous quake, eruption and violence, the seismic effects of which still linger with us. (Obafemi Awolowo, 1981).
We must criminalize electoral crimes and impose stiff penalties on perpetrators.
True, progressive governance in some states has further deepened the democratic ethos and helped to expose leaders of decidedly reactionary bent. Part of the agenda for people power should be to agitate for a completely overhauled electoral system that will respond to our democratic evolution as a country and whose results, will adequately mirror the preferences of the voting public. This would entrench accountability; demolish the synagogue of corruption in which Nigerians had worshipped for so long and set the nation on the path to good governance which broadly equates genuine, popular democracy.
The legislature had been bold in the past to checkmate the self-perpetuating antics of some former leaders. The galvanization of civil society into action to protest anti-people or retrogressive policies of government is also indicative of a virile people power that packs formidable moral authority. Our lawmakers must rise above party, religious and ethnic sentiments.
The Nigerian Media, over the years have partnered with progressive forces to press for social, civil, or human rights; and have metamorphosed into some kind of advocacy-media for democracy and have always been in the vanguard of the democratic evolution of the country. The media must however rise above the manipulation of owners because the true patrons are the people. The media must be free and fair to all; celebrate tangible achievements and legitimately and constructively question the elevation of mediocrity in governance and public office.
With the modest efforts recorded in the sanitization process of our elections (as exemplified by the April 2011 general elections), the renewed efforts to adhere to constitutionalism and the rule of law and the recognition of the material component of democracy, Nigeria may evolve a system of democratic governance that may be the envy of sub-Saharan Africa!
The right sound bytes are coming out of the Villa-we are waiting for action. The President must be encouraged and assisted to deliver on promises. The agenda for the exercise of people power should therefore be to mobilize the entire citizenry to demand for explicitly good governance that will free the people from the shackles of want and poverty; from the stagnation of disease and illiteracy to which years of lack-luster and retrogressive governance have consigned them. The agenda should be to pressurize government at Federal, State and Local Government levels to genuinely commit to human-development-oriented projects. The agenda should be to work towards removing the fear, the mistrust and the disconnect that have characterized government-people relationship; it should be about deepening the trust through strict demand for fidelity to electoral promises and through fostering the spirit of freedom, positive expectation, openness and conciliation that now should be the hallmark of a democracy of socio-economic empowerment. People power should be mobilized to combat corruption which undermines democracy and the rule of law.
Only through a conscious effort to democratize access to the good things of life through a deliberate effort at restructuring the character of the state and working on improving the material conditions of the people, can there be the kind of democracy that embodies good governance and that is not only restricted to political rights, but that also encompasses social and economic emancipation.
Ondo State: A new Paradigm of Governance
To a large extent and with all sense of modesty, Ondo State today exemplifies the synergy between People power, good governance and democracy. In Ondo State, (and this is with all sense of modesty), the Labour Party government has adopted novel approaches to masses-oriented, bottom-up development programmes to emplace wealth creation, employment generation, and strengthen the bond between the people and government. Since we came into office in February 2009, we have not deluded ourselves that good governance is a given. We have not been complacent thinking that the solutions will work themselves out. From designing a broad-based programme called ‘A CARING HEART’ which captures areas of our focus towards the delivery of good governance to their actualisation, we have remained conscious of the circumstances of our emergence.
We came in with a quantum of goodwill that is unprecedented in the State. The people have waited for twenty two months after they validly elected us to benefit from the results of their electoral investment, because in truth, elections are nothing but the investment by the people of their trust and confidence in the elected.
Coming in the middle of a global recession, fundamentally reduced accruals from the federation account owing to the reduced price regime of crude oil in the international market and the preceding era of unmet expectations, we knew our job had been decided.
We can confidently say that we are right on course and that in most areas; we have met and surpassed our targets.
In the area of rural development, we have through the “3is Initiative,” a rural integrated community development exercise, opened new opportunities for the people to identify their development needs, prioritize them and participate in the implementation. It is also a strategy of development to empower clusters of communities with common and shared infrastructural facilities to support industries and commercial agriculture. This approach has been applied in all the local government areas of the state with 230 communities projects identified, prioritized and implemented in the two and a half years that we came on board.
The effect of government’s initiation of the process of identifying and funding the desires of rural communities for rapid development has aroused a frenzy of different community self-help efforts and brought about higher commitments to the projects being executed. This has also engendered a sense of proprietorship. This has been a practical demonstration of what some economists have referred to as a ‘trickle up’ development paradigm.
The Abiye, Safe Motherhood programme, launched on October 28, 2009 with the objective of bringing qualitative, accessible, and effective healthcare to women and children; to reduce maternal and infant mortality; and to increase the utilization of healthcare facilities is yet another home grown intervention effort of our government. It was conceived to ensure that “pregnancy may no longer be a death sentence in Ondo State” through the provision of free and adequate healthcare to pregnant women and children 0-5 years of age. Designed to tackle four major factors predisposing pregnant women to death, that is: delays in seeking care when complications arise, in reaching care when decisions are made, in accessing care on arrival at healthcare facilities, and in referring care from where it is initiated to where it can be completed, the Abiye Programme has been piloted to global acclaim such that it has been signposted as the model for tackling infant and maternal mortality in the developing world. In fact, the World Bank has officially listed the Ondo State “Abiye” programme on its website as one of the success stories coming out of Africa!
At the Mother and Child Hospital, another home grown intervention and the referral apex of the Abiye programme, 31,000 patients had been treated and 9,879 babies had been safely delivered, 1,224 by Caesarian section in one and half years of operation, surpassing the records of much older facilities!
Indeed there are other initiatives that are good governance compliant in Ondo State. In Education, we have a Quality Assurance Agency that has turned around the old order of inspecting schools for quality of teaching, facilities and compliance with standards. Not only has this been acclaimed as the way to go by relevant stakeholders in the sector, it may have started to manifest in improved performance as our students have posted remarkable performances in several national academic competitions. Students from the State came first in the June 2011 NTA/ETV completion; 1st and 3rd in two different categories in the 2011 Digifest Competition; 1st in the National Quiz competition organised by the Science Teachers Association and 1st in the NNPC National Quiz Competition in the South West Zone among others.
We have embarked on training and re-training of teachers, the most recent being the training of teachers to man the new Mega Schools now at various stages of completion across the State. It is apt to say they are modern, well-equipped 21st century compliant centres of learning conceived to expose the children of the less privileged to quality education and enhance their capacities to compete under fair and equal conditions with their counterparts in the private schools. The Mega Schools are also to serve as models below which future public and private schools cannot function.
In Agriculture, we have completed the first of three major Agricultural Villages in Ore and are way into the completion of two others. Each is designed to have at least 1000 unemployed graduates who after exposure to training are involved as participant-owners of their various farms. This intervention is also a means of mopping up a number of productive hands from the unemployment market.
We can go on and on. But the point must not be lost on all, Mr. Chairman, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, that good governance, because it is based on the establishment of a representative and accountable form of government, the primacy of the rule of law, plurality of interest and a degree of transparency, should ordinarily compliment the sustenance of democracy. However, without the driving force of people power, enduring good governance is at risk while sustainable democracy is a mirage.
As said, I set for myself the goal of speaking the truth even when it hurts. That is why I have attempted to trace the trajectory of governance from independence till date; viewed our present with the shoulders of our history as my foothold, linked the inherited neo-colonial state and its structural defects to electoral processes that have been far from redeeming and concluding that there is hope only if we dare to rework the conditions and contents of our federation.
All that is left is for me is say to thank you to The Sun Newspapers for the opportunity to speak before this array of eminent Nigerians and to wish the management and staff good success in all their positive future endeavours.
Mr. Chairman, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, our country deserves more than it is getting from us all. The time to do something fundamental about her is now. Thanks for your patience.