The world over, there is the need for accountability in governance, since powers of government are held in trust for the citizens by the political leaders, hence, there is the need for a regular feedback from the leaders to the led. In civilized world, the citizens have regular feedback from their leaders, but this is not usually the case in developing nations of the world. The reason for this lapse is because leaders see themselves as rulers in developing countries, rather than seeing themselves as the servants of the electorate. Political leaders create a very tight barrier as soon as they were elected into political offices. What a paradox! They hardly associate with the electorate again until, their term of office expires and are ready for campaigning for re-election. No doubt, this is the reality of the set-up in developing economies, Nigeria inclusive. Is it supposed to be so? The answer is an emphatic NO!
The society is very dynamic, hence, there is the urgent need to catch up with the happenings in the developed world. Nigerian leaders need to give feedback to the electorate on regular basis; at least, monthly. This will enable the citizens to assess the performance or otherwise of their political leaders. It is a bad practice for the leaders to wait until the end of their tenure before giving the account of their stewardship to those who elected them into offices. This will never happen in a civilized world. The time for us to change is NOW because tomorrow may be too late.
My golden advice is that accountability must start from now and it needs to begin from the President who must lead by example. The truth of the matter is that majority of the criticisms of government’s policies arose as a result of lack of communication between the leaders and the led. Information is better disseminated at regular intervals to enable the governed know and assess the government policies. I could still recollect very vividly that the Buhari-Idiagbon regime used this regular dissemination of government’s policies to advantage between 1983-1985 before the government was overthrown by Babangida and his cohorts. In spite of the fact that it was a military junta, it paid off. As a person, i did not miss the monthly rapport between Idiagbon, who incidentally was the second-in command and the Nigerian citizens. Idiagbon really warmed my heart and the hearts of some other Nigerians with this regular dialogue between the government and the governed. Mr President, organize a monthly dialogue between your government and the Nigerian citizens to intimate us with your achievements during the month on all the sub headings of government such as the economy, power, education, agriculture, employment, infrastructures, Niger Delta issues, security and many more. This will enable the governed to know what the government is doing to alleviate the sufferings of the downtrodden. Please, do it yourself rather than making the Minister of Information to do it. Mr President, you will be surprised at the magic this monthly dialogue will do to your government. Your name will be written in GOLD for being the first Executive President to organize a monthly feedback to the governed. What a wonderful record! Try it, and you will not regret the action. Nigerians will be able to give objective assessment of the policies of government, criticise the wrong policies (which is very good in democracy) and applaud the good policies of your government. Never fear the opposition because they are really good to keep the government going. In fact, the opposition is far better than the sycophants, the boot-lickers, the hawks in government and the praise singers. The opposition are better friends than all of them put together. The truth is bitter but better.
I must point it out at this juncture that the tenure of this government is going by the seconds. Do not procrastinate on all your promises to the electorates when you were soliciting for their votes before the last general election. At the end of your tenure, you will be subjected to the people’s court. People will measure promises with accomplishment. Nigerians never forget in a hurry the promises of their political leaders. If you fulfil all your promises, you will be better for it. Indeed, your name shall be written in GOLD but if otherwise, trust Nigerians, they will put into remembrance all the failed promises. I wish you nothing but the best in your efforts to turn all blockades to breakthroughs, all stumbling blocks to stepping stones and all challenges to achievements. Please, be more determined now than ever, step on toes if need be and rescue powers from the hawks of this country. I vehemently believe that you can do it; what you need in abundance is determination of a rare kind, the political will-power and ability to stand tall in the crowd. I always remember the saying of Robert Schuller “Great men are ordinary people with extra-ordinary amounts of determination”. Mr President, your time to make the difference is now. I love you so dearly and all Nigerians love you so much dearly too which was ably demonstrated in the last Presidential election. You can re-write the history of leadership in Nigeria. The ball is now in your court; you are free to play it the way you want. 2015 is closer today than yesterday. A word is enough for the wise.
•Alabi wrote in this piece from Ibadan.