I thank you for your kind invitation to me to join you in this Maiden Akpabioism Economic Summit. I salute the Akpabio Centre for Leadership Development for this innovation. I believe this is a part of its resolve to instill the ideology of good leadership in Nigeria.
It was the late Nigerian Poet and Novelist, late Prof. Chinua Achebe in his 1985 book ?The Trouble with Nigeria?, who noted that ?The trouble with Nigeria is simply and squarely a failure of leadership.? The Akpabio Centre for Leadership Development has through its various activities risen to the challenge of not only addressing leadership failures, but celebrating visionary leadership. This underpins its commitment to solve the critical problem of leadership in our society and at the same time establish a positive template for good leadership.
I commend the Chancellor of Akapbio Centre of Leadership Development, Pastor Bassey James for this great vision of grooming upcoming leaders with a positive mental orientation, commitment to service, good governance and transformational leadership. These virtues had been lacking in our leadership in the past and it was the bane of our society. Posterity, therefore, owes him a debt of gratitude for this patriotic spirit and commitment.
The theme of this Maiden Summit, ?Sustaining the Economic Development through Good Governance? is apt and instructive.? The sustainability of the economic development of any nation is predicated on government creating the right conditions and infrastructures for businesses to flourish and thrive. Good Governance is a requirement for sustainable Economic Development.
What then is Good Governance? Good governance is governance that has faith in the maxim that governance is a social contract between the government and the governed. It is built on the principles of the rule of law, human rights and transparency. Such a government exists as a glue binding together the different parts of society and turning the wheel upon which the society rests.
A government exhibits good governance when there is transparency and accountability. A government exhibits good governance when nobody is above the law and there is respect for the fundamental human rights of every citizen of the society. A government exhibits good governance when people are allowed to enjoy the good things of life while actively participating in planning, execution, monitoring and evaluation of societal responsibilities.
The composite picture is the governed should also create the necessary conditions for leadership to be effective. When the governed hound the good people and chase them away, they leave the bad people to pick up the spoil. In Akwa Ibom State, a state which has the unenviable distinction having more than its fair share of petition writers, the matrix has redounded to one petition writer, one paper. Now we have over 110 local newspapers, which we can modestly describe as blackmail sheets.
Though we know that good governance depends on the ability of government to exercise power, make good decisions over time, across a spectrum of economic, social, environmental and other areas; the deliberate misrepresentation of Government?s intentions and actions is a major source of concern. Followers should know that those who make good governance impossible, make bad governance inevitable.
Economic and social development researches in recent times have redirected attention to the role of good governance in achieving economic sustainability and development in any society. Research has further identified that economic crisis, which stems from weaknesses in the institutions of governance can only come from good governance ? governance that addresses these problems. This is because it is government that creates the enabling environment and condition for investment, markets growth. Good Governance is, therefore, a determinant of economic sustainability and development. The sustainability of economic development of the society is dependent of the key elements of Good Governance of reliability, the rule of law, accountability and transparency.
The rule of law refers to the institutional process of setting, interpreting and implementing laws and other regulations. It means government decisions, policies and programmes are founded in law and investors are protected from arbitrary decisions. Accountability ensures that power is used appropriately and in accordance with the interest of the public and public good. Accountability and the rule of law require openness and good information so that higher levels of administration, eternal reviewers and the general public can verify performance and compliance. Transparency is tied to the accountability of public officers to the public and demands that governance except in sensitive areas of national and state security should be open. This has been canvassed in Nigeria in the Freedom of Information Bill.
In Akwa Ibom State, we have consciously implemented these known tenets of good governance in the administration of the State and we have stabilized the economy of our State. The result of this is the Uncommon Economic Development and transformation across the State. It is what makes our State investors? heaven and a destination for all Nigerians. This is our secret and we of society founded on good governance.
Once again, I appreciate Akpabio Centre for Leadership Development for this Summit. I do believe that the seasoned and thorough-breed Lecturers for this occasion will do justice to this topic and educate us more on this all important subject.
Thank you for your kind attention.