Abuja, Jerusalem, Mecca, Good Governance And Prayers

Posted: November 6, 2013 in Uncategorized

By Prince Charles Dickson

…As we left for Jeddah, “close your eyes let us pray”, the pastor said. And the driver closed his eyes…he was driving with his eyes closed…

During the week, I had an interesting conversation with two Nigerians,  one on good governance, the other on prayers.

My first friend I call M’hmmed, was of the take that good governance was/should be just a sentence by definition. He added by his father’s theory anything that couldn’t be defined by a sentence and understood was not worth it.

In the end, he said to me, good governance was to do things–like that NIKE ad, ‘just do it’. (My addition)

My take was good governance is still an evolving subject matter, meaning quite a whole lot of different things to different persons/nations too.

It is not something you can just define in a sentence like M’hmmed wanted. It is complex both in governance and government. It is one word–‘good’.

Like in my previous entreaties and admonishment to Nigerians, good governance is the only guarantee to peace, progress, stability, infact it is the only passport to delivering the dividends of democracy, just as credible practice of democracy should be anchored on good governance.

Most of our leaders that pride themselves as operating under the parameters of good governance cannot explain how.

What we have is a battery of contradictory description or proposition as to what good governance is, as a matter of fact the term good is difficult to define and in the essential contexts of the Nigerian condition.

Defining good in relation to governance has often been a difficult task, to categorize it for decision makers and policy executors, so we say in political science that good is that to which everything tends, and in that regard indefinable and a naturalistic fallacy.

In the Nigerian context, our situational ethics sets the tone to the effect that we have a relative dysfunctionality, what is good in one place may be bad in the other, there must be a given situation, time and space.

Under this little intellectual exercise we can say that the talk of good governance in and for Nigeria, past, present and future is idle, not lending itself to any objective and precise analysis.

So until good governance is viewed as the process of decision-making and the process by which decisions are implemented (or not implemented) we are still far off.

We will continue to lack good governance because despite political activity under the guise of democracy we are yet to find the balance; we still operate a political economy of state robbery, rather than popular democracy.

Good governance within the confines of a popular democracy should be anchored on two things, one, a constitution suited to the special needs and circumstances of Nigeria as multi-dimensional ethno-socio and econo-political structure: and two a leadership suited not only to the exigent needs of Nigeria as an unlawfully under-developed but also to the smooth operation of the same constitution.

We have refused to cultivate a regime of leadership that has shown a knack to develop a mental magnitude, as clear as our problems are, there seems a lack of ability in appreciating and grasping the salient details as well as most of the temporal and practical implications, of a given situation or problem, and in our own case the problem is a lack of good governance.

In my honest thinking while we keep debating on the morals or otherwise that good governance cannot be attained or not definable I say part of the problems will remain because good is platitudinous rather than obligatory on our leaders.

There is the problem of political in-direction, thus an economic morass in the polity, our lack of anything good is premeditated on our inability to have an ideological notion of destiny. We have no coherent body of thoughts; we have no heroes, nobody to look up to, good governance exists only in a vacuum.

Finally to my second friend–his name Godswill, he is a governor, he tells me with the prayers that has been offered in Israel and by those who went on hajj all will be well.

I called his definition of prayer the combination/use of words in waffles and babbles. I argued with him, whether it is the church of annunciation or the kaba, the fact is our rate of clowning on important matters is ever increasing.

State resources expended by government apparatus in a ‘prayerdom’ won’t bring good governance. Bringing government to a standstill because a state governor has gone to pray, is only an interlude, as the stealing ala carte continues on his return.

Prayers, prayers and prayers. The more they pray, the more good governance erodes us. Infact while they are gone, we are inundated with more tales by moonlight of mind-boggling fraud.

Ever wondered how organized Mecca is, how it manages its affairs despite all the hitches. Imagine all the imbroglio of Israel and Palestinians, yet the University in Jerusalem is not on strike.

While Lagos has more churches than Israel, the taps in Jordan runs, while cholera devastates several praying states in Nigeria.

How can our prayers be answered as a nation, when we choose the time, purpose, and type of ‘amen’ we say.

After all the prayers, ASUU still strikes on, the system and institutions of government still operate at best in an epileptic manner. And my friend Godswill wants me to accept that all is well because they prayed.

Prayers are no bribe, miracles are no magic I told him. The amount of prayers in Owerri or Benin is proportionately equal to the kidnap, and rape, so also is the case in Damaturu, and Maidugiri.

We cannot continue to close our eyes and bow to issues that should by all sense and purpose be tackled by standing straight with our eyes opened.

Nigeria can be made to work if we correct our political leadership deficit, if followers open their eyes and grasp the issues of ‘good’!

There is governance and government but there is little or no good in it. Yes, prayer is good, but there is no good in prayers if while driving you close your eyes, how the journey ends and who says ‘Amen’–only time will tell.


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