On 18th day of March, 2014, our leadership at International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law-Intersociety, x-rayed Governor Willie Obiano’s inaugural speech and concluded that with some modifications here and there, the people of Anambra State and the entire Southeast geopolitical zone may most likely smile at the end as was the case under the out-gone Chief Peter Obi’s administration. As part of our social obligation and thematic areas of advocacy activities (advancement of democracy, good governance, security and safety), we have decided to offer a credible opinion and advice based on areas we think the new governor will focus on for the purpose of ensuring greater happiness for the greater number of the people of the State. This is because when leaders govern well democratically, people rejoice and become happy. Our 18th day of March public statement dwelled on the new governor’s promise to “set up an oil refinery within one year and build power plants in Onitsha, Nnewi and Awka”. These we saw as good, but subject to the outcome of findings by a committee of experts, which we seriously recommended. Our 19th day of March statement took a critical and conventional look at the new governor’s proposed policy on “security and vigilantism” and advised accordingly.
In this part three of our public statement, we intend to advice and guide the new governor on the need to make “economic governance” the bedrock of his new administration as against “populist and political governance” culture, which has characterized governance style in most of the States of the Federation and the Federal Government of Nigeria and led to their failure. “Economic Governance” concept was solely conceptualized and test-run for the first time in Nigeria by Chief Peter Gregory Obi in Anambra State of Nigeria. It was “nurse-maided” using the theory of “Anambra State Integrated Development Strategy (ANIDS)”. Another name for “economic governance” is “credit governance” and its main rival and antagonist is called “deficit governance”. “Economic Democratic Governance” involves deriving political power from the consent of the governed through their representatives at popularly conducted poll with zeal to serve and not to be served. An “economic governor” does not see his or her call to leadership as business enterprise or exercise of raw power and enjoyment of immunity or sharing of governance proceeds among his or her few cronies and other associates. An “economic governor” is a collectivist and contented leader” and not an individualistic and selfish leader. He or she is usually an expert in non borrowing or deficit resources mobilization who goes beyond receipt of traditional statutory allocations and raising bonds in local and international capital markets with obnoxious interests and penalties.
An “economic governor” is not an election rigger or credibly perceived poll rigger. He or she must be reputable enough to be listened to, and attract international development partners and foreign investors. His or her “economic blueprint” must be both locally and internationally appealing with accompanied social development and investment friendly environment. Locally, an “economic governor” is the one who develops eagle-eyes to be able to identify most of some say existing “eighteen (18) sources” of non statutory allocations and loan oriented resource mobilization in Nigeria. Where application for membership of such exchequer sources becomes imperative and where “counterpart resource contribution” is required, an “economic governor” must all be part of them. Most importantly, an “economic governor” must be prudent and transparent in spending and accounting for resources so given or attracted. Politically, an “economic governor” must be humble and remain focused at all times by facing his or her table of governance squarely and refusing to be distracted, misled and doomed. At the end, an “economic governor” does not leave his or her State in human, material, infrastructural and fiscal deficits, but in great transformation. This explains why we celebrate the “obinomics” ingenuity of Chief Peter Gregory Obi, who is the first governor in recent Nigeria to leave his State in huge credit totaling N75billion (about $470M), comprising cash and investments. Conversely, the “fasholanomics” in Lagos State is expected to leave Lagos State in 2015 in huge deficits of over N400Billion ($2.5B), comprising local and international debts.
The stark opponent of an “economic governor” is a “populist and political governor”. He or she is a skewed “capital city developer” and a rabid loan borrower. He or she is also loquacious and empty-headed, who relies heavily on statutory allocations and raising bonds from local and international capital markets with shocking interest rates and penalties. The governance style of a deficit governor thrives on electronic, visual, audio-visual and print media. While an “economic governor” “escalates” and democratizes good governance and democracy dividends to every nook and cranny of his or her social clime, a deficit governor “de-escalates” and concentrates them in his or her capital city. Another naïve governance pattern of a deficit or political governor is sightseeing projects including lightening, flowering and painting of capital cities and major entrance high ways/roads. He or she runs away from meaningful and capital intensive public oriented projects such as building of bridges and roads in swampy areas. At the end, a deficit or political governor not only abandons his or her handover ceremony to evade the long arm of the financial and homicidal crimes’ law, but also leaves his or her State in huge human, material, infrastructural and fiscal debts. When sitting governors fail to create wealth for the execution of their scripted and skewed projects, they resort to raising bonds indiscriminately with political and media propaganda to justify such a despicable policy.
We wish to state that one of the greatest challenges facing Governor Willie Obiano’s new administration is “non deficit resources mobilization” or “wealth creation”. For Governor Obiano to succeed in this respect he must think more and rest a little; work harder and leisure less. He must also retain the approach of his predecessor, who attends all economic related meetings locally and internationally; sometimes, thrice a day and timely and dutifully commits State money running into millions of naira where necessary, in the form of “counterpart funding or contribution”, which, in turn, matures into hundreds of millions or billions of naira on due dates. That Chief Peter Obi attracted over N30billion worth of foreign investment to Anambra State within two months of this 2014 alone, is a clear case in point. Of course, the bedrock of these attractions and feats remains the Anambra State Integrated Development Strategy (ANIDS), which is the domesticated version of the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
Resources mobilization involves congregating and aggregating human, material and fiscal resources for the maximum development and transformation of Anambra State. To this effect, Governor Obiano’s promise to transform “import based trade” to “industry based trade” in Anambra State is very appealing to us at Intersociety. This is because no matter how small an industry is (small scale); it must create jobs for the jobless (skilled and unskilled). In the world over, the greatest employer of labour are industries powered by private sector and protected by formal or public sector. At Onitsha Main Market, for instance, there are a good of trader-millionaires of N300Million and above, who still wholly invest their total capitals on importing goods and services from Asia. It is unimaginable what an N300Million industry can do in terms of job and wealth creation; not talk of billionaire-based industries. The idea of building ultra-modern markets in the State is also appealing to us. This is because the Onitsha Main Market, for instance, is long overdue for decongestion, having being built over sixty years ago. The Market is now a glorified concentration camp, having lost all qualities of a modern market.
Emeka Umeagbalasi, Board Chairman
International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law-Intersociety
Comrade Justus Uche Ijeoma, Head, Publicity Desk