Good Governance Is Non-negotiable

Speech by Osun State Governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola as the Special Guest of Honour at the Third Annual Conference of the Chartered Institute of Personnel Management of Nigeria (CIPMN), Osun State Branch, at the Brymor Hotel, Osogbo, on Thursday September 29, 2011.

Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola - Governor of Osun State, NigeriaI must thank the Chartered Institute of Personnel Management of Nigeria (CIPMN), Osun State Branch, for the honour of the invitation as the Special Guest of Honour at the Third Annual Conference of the association.

The Chartered Institute of Personnel Management of Nigeria (CIPMN) was established in 1968 as Personnel Management Association in the Department of Management Studies of the Yaba College of Technology until it was renamed in 1973.

Its objectives have been: To promote and develop the science and practice of personnel management in all its ramifications; To foster and maintain investigations and research into the best means, methods of applying the science and art of personnel management and to encourage, extend, increase, disseminate and promote knowledge and the exchange of information and ideas with regard to all questions relating thereto or connected therewith; Develop and maintain high standards of professional competence and ensure that the management of the human resources in Nigeria, both in the public and private sectors, conforms with the best professional standard; To conduct research into and publish materials on all matters relating to the discipline of HRM.

As a human resource association, it is natural that you path and ours will cross as a government. Some of our staff are your members. Others are hoping to join your association while some of your members are also hoping to be part of our government. In a sense, therefore, we are stuck together for the long haul.

One area of mutual interest between us is good governance. The raison d’être of government is to serve the interest of the people in all ramifications. Society has move from the simplicity of rural and idyllic life to a very complex one in which an individual member of the state has become a lone voice crying in the wilderness. If there is no effective government to come to his rescue, that voice may be lost. We are however faced with a situation in which there is not one voice but millions of voices separately or sometimes collectively crying in the wilderness for security, jobs, healthcare, good road, qualitative education, social amenities and any other thing that could make modern life meaningful and commodious. It requires good governance to be able to mobilise societal resources for meeting societal needs and aspirations.

Our coming to power in Osun State is by divine appointment and it is ably confirmed through the choice of the people at the polls of 2007. This is why we were able to reclaim our mandate after more than three years of usurpation by electoral bandits. The people also demonstrated their love for us and acceptance of our government and reconfirmed this by overwhelmingly voting for our party at the April/May General Elections. Since our coming on boards on November 27 last year, we have not wavered in our pursuit of the welfare of the people. We have incorporated the eight strands of the good governance concept as defined by the United Nations as: Consensus Oriented, Participatory, following the Rule of Law, Effective and Efficient, Accountable, Transparent, Responsive and Equitable and Inclusive.

One of our first acts in office was the rebranding of the state. We rechristened the state Ipinle Omoluabi (The Land of the Virtuous), gave the state, its flag, crest and slogan. While most appreciate this, its import was lost on some. What we did was to give the people a focus and an identity. Omoluabi is the ideal Yoruba person that we aspire to be. The consciousness of this will guide our conduct, speech and actions. Nobody wants to be described as not being an Omoluabi. It is a derogation of the worst order suggesting that the individual has been stripped of the last drop of character. It is worse than a sentence of death. This positive self-image and the disposition to public spiritedness is the foundation on which good governance can be built. If we succeed on this alone, it is a legacy that will certainly outlive all of us.

The second aspect in which we are related is accountability. It is a cardinal principle of management that the leader must be accountable. We are accountable to our people. That is why even though our party, the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has absolute majority in the House of Assembly, we still need the consent of the lawmakers, as the representatives of the people, for everything we do. We will never take them for granted.

Lastly, government is a divine instrument for public service and not a tool for oppression and witch-hunting the opposition members. The attempt by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Federal Government to stifle the opposition as evident in the forced ouster of Justice Ayo Isa Salami from the Court of Appeal and the farcical trial of our leader, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu, by the Code of Conduct Tribunal has become what the Nobel Laureate, Prof Wole Soyinka, calls ‘transparent subterfuge’. The aim of government is defeated the moment its powers are corrupted and deployed in the pursuit of personal interest.

In contrast, nobody can honestly accuse us of abusing power, misusing power or seeking vengeance since we came to power. All our policies have benefitted all and sundry, irrespective of political, ethnic or religious affiliations. Our guiding principle has been the sacredness of the office of state and the use of its power to benefit all the citizens.

This is why I believe the current persecution of our leader will fail and he will come out stronger, more popular and triumphant. History is our guide here. Chief Obafemi Awolowo and Chief Moshood Abiola were Yoruba icons who have passed through similar crucibles and have shamed their traducers in the end. Is it not curious that a government helpless and useless in the face of daily assaults by armed bandits and sundry terrorists will mass its arsenal in the persecution of an opposition figure on the charge of operating a foreign account, almost five years after he had left office?

We have an urgent task as governmental, non-governmental and civil society organisations to rescue our country and its power from abuse in order to provide the best governance for our people.

I must not fail to welcome all the important people, dignitaries and captains of industries invited and are here present at this occasion. I congratulate you all for attending this conference and wish the organisation a successful meeting.

I thank you all for your attention.


Osun a dara o.