DEVELOPMENT: THE LAGOS AND BORNO EXAMPLES.
By Omen Bassey
Although I am on a self imposed hiatus from public commentary, especially on political issues, I feel it would be a disservice if I fail to commend Govérnors Ambode and Shettima for those landmark accomplishments. More so, I have learnt to draw a distinction between politics and governance. While politics may be partisan, governance is universal, as it affects people across party lines.
The events of yesterday and today involving Lagos and Borno States have got me into deep thoughts on the quality of governance in most States across Nigeria. Imagine all the Governors replicating the Ambode and Shettima examples in their respective States.
I doff my hat for outgoing Governor Akinwunmi Ambode for those gargantuan projects executed by his administration and commissioned by President Buhari yesterday.
I’m aware that folks are often quick to downplay the achievements of successive Governors of Lagos State by linking the infrastructural revolution and sound governance experienced by Lagos with its large revenue base. Yes, we all know that Lagos rakes in much more money than other States as Internally Generated Revenue(IGR). Most times, we conveniently forget that Lagos also caters for a much larger population than most of those States. We won’t remember that basic Economics explains that the larger the population, the more challenging governance would be. Truth is, “nothing actually goes for nothing”.
Unlike other States, Lagos has been very transparent with its IGR. Till date, some States in Nigeria seldom talk about IGR as one of the major sources of government earnings. There’s no doubt that theirs, if well managed and accounted for can also birth significant projects for the benefit of citizens.
Today, all eyes were on the insurgency ravaged Borno State as the President commissioned another set of world class infrastructural projects at the instance of the equally outgoing Governor Kashim Shettima.
It’s almost impossible to resist the temptation to do a comparison between the outgoing Governors of Lagos, Borno and most of their colleagues, especially in the South South States while acknowledging these recent feats. Of course, this is one of the fallouts of federalism.
One striking thing is that these Governors rarely talked about these projects until they were due for inauguration. Inept Governors waste resources on advertising mere proposals which seldom materialize. Some of our most advertised projects have disappeared without trace. Isn’t it worrisome?
I won’t bother listing the projects commissioned yesterday and today by both States as they are already trending on social media. Suffice it to state that they cover the critical sectors of education, healthcare, transportation, industry and housing.
Borno is a complete opposite of Lagos in terms of population, revenue and even security but the Governor of that State isn’t feeding the public with excuses. By now, it should be clear to us that the size of revenue isn’t the sole determinant of performance. Prudent management and prioritization may be the difference between one State and others.
It’s instructive that the factors we usually attribute the performance of Lagos to, are absent from Borno.
In the north and south, there’s a good number of non performing Governors either being deceived by sycophants or insulting our sensibilities with excuses. I wish they knew that neither the praise singers nor lame excuses can influence the verdict of history.
Governor Ambode specifically credited the Paris Club refunds as the facilitators of some of those laudable projects. Who is talking about Paris Club refunds in our clime?
It’s unfortunate and depressing to admit that after earning revenues from oil these past years, no South South State has commensurate infrastructures and investments to show as justification.