Good governance to birth new Nigeria

Hauwa Mustapha, Abuja and David Adekunle, Lagos

Quality governance, anti-corruption, institutional integrity, education, as well as sound economic policies are factors that can transform a nation to greatness.

The Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Dr. Dakuku Peterside identified these values.

He noted that the availability of Natural Resources was a key variable. Dr. Peterside was speaking  at the University of Nigeria, Distinguished Persons Annual Lecture of the Faculty of Management.
Wholesome development
Dr Peterside stated that good governance was a critical factor to the wholesome development of any nation.

“The principles of accountability, transparency, observance of the rule of law and basic freedoms remained fundamental to any definition of good governance but the ultimate determinant of good governance is the extent to which such government meets the basic needs of the greatest majority of its people,” he stated.

Egalitarian society
The NIMASA boss observed that corruption hadremained a major clog in the evolution of an egalitarian society and a major inhibitor of good governance.

According to him, “It is not surprising that some of the fastest growing countries like Singapore, Rwanda and Botswana also happen to have the toughest anti-corruption regimes in the world.”

He commended President Mohammadu Buhari administration for its anti-corruption efforts emphasising that, “this is one area where there is a growing national consensus in Nigeria that this present administration has displayed unusual courage.”

“There are divergent views as to the effectiveness of current measures, but many agreed that it required a lot of courage to make a start. It is hoped that the Nigerian public would appreciate the significance of this effort in the overall improvement of the quality of governance in the country.”

Development capacity
He was of the opinion that, ”the development of the capacities and capabilities of people is perhaps the greatest investment any nation can make, because a well-educated citizenry can conceptualise and implement sound economic policies based on its peculiar realities of geography, natural and human resources.”

Dr. Peterside said Nigeria’s challenges were historical.

“What the British ceded in 1960 was a complex outcome of negotiated settlements among Nigerian elite representing first and foremost their respective regional and ethnic interests. There was no “pan Nigerian interest” or “pan Nigerian Agenda”. There was no “CONNECTED VISION,” he narrated.

He pointed out that vision was the key driver of any endeavour.

“This original haziness in what constitute the overriding national vision has constantly plagued our national development in nearly every sphere.

My key observation here and operating thesis therefore is that a nation can only endure if it is founded on an integrated and comprehensive vision (connected vision).”

“Nigeria unfortunately missed that opportunity at inception. This original ‘sin’ has multiplied and contributed to the ever so frequent quest for a new nation founded on a new vision,” he stated.

Dr. Peterside, however, said that visions can be corrected although it is a difficult endeavour.

He said it was easier for corporations to correct their visions than nations.

“A corporation can change its board and management, re-brand itself, redefine its vision and map for itself a new mission.”

Reform and repositioning
“This is the spirit and guiding principle behind the reform and repositioning we are championing in NIMASA. We are in the process of refreshing our vision and mission, we have a new Board and a visionary Management, it offers the rare opportunity to re- invent that regulatory agency and reposition it as the most efficient, effective and responsive regulatory agency in Africa, advancing Nigeria’s maritime goals,” he observed.

The NIMASA DG, however, said hope in a Nigeria connected by vision was in the horizon if the nation would retrace its steps and focus on the factors that could make Nigeria great.

“As we continue with the national quest for answers to the great questions of our time, I urge that we do a self- assessment of where we stand as nation. The factors that have been identified are put forward as a guide for this assessment.”

“The solutions we endlessly seek would seem DC at our doorsteps. But there is a great amount of political will to do what is necessary,” Dr. Peterside concluded.