The Imperatives of Good Governance: A Guide for Politicians

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In the quest to build an egalitarian society, necessary actions must be taken to entrench good governance. While the jury is out on what qualifies as benefits of democracy to the average Nigerian, a key indicator to the social contract is good governance.  Good governance is a crucial aspect of a thriving society.

In his seminal work, Corruption, Good Governance, and the African State, Joseph PatrickGanahl opines that a result of misgovernance in most African states is evident in the systemic incapability of generating the material resources needed to finance their existence. He states further that left to their own devices, many of these states would not be able to fulfill the most basic economic prerequisites of political existence.

To begin with,good governance is a system through which a government is organized and functions to ensure the well-being of its citizens. Good governance is characterized by transparency, accountability, effectiveness, and fairness. In a democratic society, the government is elected by the people, and its primary duty is to serve the citizens. However, for good governance to be achieved, citizens and their representatives have a crucial role to play.

Most constituencies are awash with stories of how politicians seeking elective offices promise the moon and the stars, only to disappear once they have been voted into power. It is trite to state that for citizens, accountability and transparency are nothing but mere words, and unethical behaviour is the norm. This is the unfortunate reality of most developing countries acrossAfrica where good governance is neglected.

Good governance is the backbone of any country. It ensures that those in power are accountable, transparent, and ethical in their conduct. It ensures that policies and programs are implemented effectively and efficiently, and that everyone is subject to the same laws. This is especially crucial for politicians seeking elective offices and those in power. While another round of elections will be over and contestants with the highest votes returned, it is worth restating the importance of good governance and how it applies to the overall objective of nation building. So, what are the imperatives of good governance for politicians?

First, transparent election processes are important. The integrity of the electoral process must be upheld, and politicians must avoid actions that may compromise it. The process leading to the emergence of winners must be seen to be credible. This means no vote buying, intimidation, or any other election malpractice. Overall, elections must be free, fair, and transparent.

Clear and honest communication is key. Politicians seeking elective (and while in their) offices must communicate their policies and plans to their constituents in a clear and honest manner. False promises and exaggerated abilities erode the trust of people. Honesty is a worthy policy.

Thirdly, accountability is critical. Once in power, politicians must be accountable to their constituents. They must establish clear mechanisms for reporting and addressing grievances. This ensures that they are held responsible for their actions and decisions.

The implementation of policies and programs must be efficient and effective. Politicians should endeavour to solicit the buy-in of their constituents by conducting a needs assessment, before policy and program design. Politicians should monitor progress regularly and provide regular updates to their constituents. This ensures that policies and programs are delivering the desired outcomes and impart the citizens.

Ethical behaviour is fundamental. Politicians must adhere to ethical principles and values, such as honesty, integrity, fairness, and respect for others. They must avoid any action or decision that compromise their integrity or violate the trust of their constituents.

Participatory governance is crucial. All stakeholders must be involved in decision-making and planning. Town hall meetings and community outreach programs are essential for engaging with constituents.

Lastly, the rule of law must be upheld. Politicians must ensure that everyone is subject to the same laws, and these laws are enforced fairly and impartially. The laws must be applied equally to all citizens without discrimination. While the onus is on the judiciary to interpret laws, politicians must ensure they respect the rule; even if it is to their detriment, but for the overall development of the society.

In conclusion, good governance is critical for any society that seeks positive development. Politicians seeking elective offices and those already in power play a vital role in upholding it. Transparent election processes, clear and honest communication, accountability, efficient and effective implementation of policies and programs, ethical behaviour, participatory governance, and upholding the rule of law are the imperatives of good governance. By adhering to these imperatives, politicians can gain the trust and confidence of their constituents, promote the well-being of their communities, and ensure a better future for all.

Engr. Michael Oyibo can be reached via

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