Nigeria’s former military Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon, has asked Nigerians to support the efforts of the Federal Government to address the economic problems confronting the country.
Gowon made the call on Thursday in Abuja at the 2016 Annual Lecture/Gold Annual Award organised by the Centre for Democratic Governance in Africa (CDGA).
The theme of the lecture was “Global recession as it affects good governance: Need for proactive Action –Nigeria as a case study.’’
Mr. Gowon, who chaired the occasion and was represented by his brother, Dauda Yakubu, said that inspite of its willingness, the government alone cannot solve the problems.
He said: “the challenge, as we know, is multifarious caused, in part, by the fact that the flow of oil money into the Nigerian economy had dwindled.
“The consumption pattern and lifestyle of the elites has triggered an avalanche of imported consumer goods that have virtually killed domestic production.
“Thus, there has been an escalation in crime and other social conflicts.
“The government has shown a deep understanding of these problems and exhibited a strong resolve to tackling them.’’
The ex-head of state said the troubles Nigeria had gone through over the past few years had made Nigerians to see the difference between a self-sustaining economy and the one that relied totally on a wasting asset such as oil.
“We have seen the extent to which corruption has made governance virtually impossible. It has rendered public institutions, including regulatory and judicial agencies sterile.
“It also has caused deterioration in the quality of infrastructure, healthcare delivery and education, among other.
“Ultimately it has robbed government of the respect and loyalty of ordinary citizens, just as it erodes the authority of the state,’’ Gowon said.
Another guest speaker and legal practitioner, Mike Ozekhome, stressed the need for governments at all levels to recognise and practice the indicators of good governance.
According to him, the indicators include participatory democracy, rule of law, effective and efficient institutions, transparency, responsive leadership, consensus and accountability.
“Any government that do not have these characteristics cannot be said to be good governance,’’ Mr. Ozekhome said.
He called on the media and civil society organisations to hold the government accountable for its programmes and activities.
He said that was one of the constitutional ways through which the citizens could ensure and promote good governance.
Mr. Ozekhome also stressed the need for the recruitment of highly trained, competent, incorruptible, ethical and intelligent men and women as justices of Supreme Court.
He said that their appointment to the bench should not be premised on extraneous consideration such as god-fatherism, political connection, religious leanings and federal character without regard for merit and competence.
On his part, Olorogun Makinde, the Managing Director, Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (DESOPADEC), advised the Buhari government to address other economic issues in addition to fighting corruption.
He identified some of the challenges of good governance and development to include the absence of strategic vision, lack of capacity, non-adherence to rule of law, corruption and bad followership.
Mr. Makinde said that Nigerians should stop blaming other people for the problems facing the country but work together to address them.