It would be nothing but stark honesty of me If I conclude that most of what we have at the governing helms in the country are accidental leaders, looting machines(without an idea of where they are made) and celebrated incompetent leaders who lack the basic leadership skills expected of visionary and purposeful leaders.
A government or better still, an administration, is a group of people that governs a community or unit. It sets and administers public policy and exercises executive, political and sovereign power through customs, institutions, and laws within a state.
There is no single and exhaustive definition of “good governance,” nor is there a delimitation of its scope, that commands universal acceptance. The term is used with great flexibility; this is an advantage, but also a source of some difficulty at the operational level.
Depending on the context and the overriding objective sought, good governance has been said at various times to encompass: full respect of human rights, the rule of law, effective participation, multi-actor partnerships, political pluralism, transparent and accountable processes and institutions, an effective and efficient public sector, legitimacy, access to knowledge, information and education, political empowerment of people, equity, sustainability, and attitudes and values that foster responsibility, solidarity and tolerance.
It has also been said that good governance is the process whereby public institutions conduct public affairs, manage public resources and guarantee the realization of human rights in a manner essentially free of abuse and corruption, and with due regard for the rule of law.
The true test of “good” governance is the degree to which it delivers on the promise of human rights: civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights.
The key question now is that: are the institutions of governance in the country effectively guaranteeing the right to health, adequate housing, sufficient food, quality education, fair justice and personal security?
The key attributes and the concept of good governance has been clarified by the work of the Commission on Human Rights.
In its resolution 2000/64, the Commission identified the key attributes of good governance to be: transparency, responsibility, accountability, participation and responsiveness (to the needs of the people).
The concept of “good governance” often emerges as a model to compare ineffective economies or political bodies with viable economies and political bodies. The concept centres on the responsibility of governments and governing bodies to meet the needs of the masses as opposed to select groups in society. Because countries often described as “most successful” are Western liberal democratic states, concentrated in Europe and the Americas, good governance standards often measure other state institutions against these states.
Three institutions can be reformed to promote good governance: the state, the private sector and civil society.
However, amongst different cultures, the need and demand for reform can vary depending on the priorities of the country’s society.
A variety of country level initiatives and international movements put emphasis on various types of governance reform. Each movement for reform establishes criteria for what they consider good governance based on their own needs and agenda.
The Worldwide Governance Indicators is a programme funded by the World Bank to measure the quality of governance of over 200 countries. It uses six dimensions of governance for their measurements, Voice and Accountability, Political Stability and Lack of Violence, Government effectiveness, Regulatory Quality, Rule of Law, and Control of Corruption.
They have been studying countries since 1996.
The United Nations is playing an increasing role in Good Governance. According to former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, “Good governance is ensuring respect for human rights and the rule of law;
strengthening democracy; promoting transparency and capacity in public administration”.
To implement this, the UN follows eight characteristics as it was clearly stated by the organization;
· Consensus Oriented
· Rule of Law
· Effective and Efficient
· Equitable and Inclusive
Using these methods, the UN focuses on strengthening decolonization, localization and, human rights around the world.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) declared in 1996 that “promoting good governance in all its aspects, including by ensuring the rule of law, improving the efficiency and accountability of the public sector, and tackling corruption, are essential elements of a framework within which economies can prosper.”
The IMF feels that corruption within economies is caused by the ineffective governance of the economy, either too much regulation or too little regulation.
Thomas Jefferson often referred to the term “good government” in his opinion that,
“the Government ought to be judged by how well it meets its legitimate objectives”.
For him, good government was the one that most effectively secures the rights of the people and the rewards of their labour, which promotes their happiness, and also does their will. For instance, he said:
“The care of human life and happiness and not their destruction is the only legitimate object of good government.” —Thomas Jeffery on to Maryland Republicans, 1809(online).
In short, good corporate governance is very important for sustainable development, not only for the individual company, but also for the economy as a whole. Therefore, the quality of governance should be continuously improved and good governance should be promoted.
However, what is not measured, cannot be improved. The reason why I salute Nigerians and different bodies for giving a scorecard to the present administration after its one year in the office.
Trust is the foundation of sustainable development. As the world continues to get smaller, our mutual interdependence increases and we all need to be able to mobilise the resources and goodwill of others to achieve success. That can only be achieved through gaining their trust.
Therefore, the ability to gain the trust of global financial markets and of all the stakeholders in the value chain is becoming the key to success.
The essence of good corporate governance is ensuring trustworthy relations between the corporation and its stakeholders. Therefore, good governance involves a lot more than compliance. Good corporate governance is a culture and a climate of Consistency, Responsibility, Accountability, Fairness, Transparency, and Effectiveness that is Deployed throughout the organisation (the ‘CRAFTED’ principles of governance); which is widely accepted by most organizations and country’s assessment bodies as yardstick for evaluating a particular government.
The tone at the top determines the tune in the middle. In particular, clear separation of various strata rights (taking initiative and implementation) and governance rights (guidance, approval, and oversight), is critical in minimising the potential hot potato.
Issues such as the composition of boards, their agenda and processes for decision-making, and how they Learn to continuously improve the governance of the corporation, critically influence both the quality of decisions and of management.
The main responsibilities of the government is to provide effective oversight and strategic guidance for the ministries. The quality of their decisions is critically dependent on the quality of the information they have.
Establishing a Culture that sets the right tone at the top is critical for establishing the ‘trust’ for the government with all its stakeholders (The ‘LOGIC’ of governance).
The evaluation and backbone of the model stands on four main areas, three of which are inputs and the fourth, an output:
• The right people
• The right team
• The right processes
• Improvement in policies results.
Again, to refer to President Obama’s speech,
“what Africa needs is not more strong men, it needs more strong democratic institutions that will stand the test of time. (Applause).
“Without good governance, no amount of oil or no amount of aid, no amount of effort can guarantee Nigeria’s success. But with good governance, nothing can stop Nigeria.
“It is the same message that I have carried in all of my meetings, including my meeting this afternoon with your president.
“The United States supports the seven-point agenda for reform that was outlined by President Yar’Adua.
“We believe that delivering on roads and on electricity and on education and all the other points of that agenda will demonstrate the kind of concrete progress that the people of Nigeria are waiting for”.
Good governance both at the national and local level; in fact at the corporate bodies and various leadership institutions is definitely the panacea to the leadership climacterics that birthed all the quandary in the country.
A student of Obafemi Awolowo University and the Convener of OAU pigeonpost.