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Growth And Development - The Twin -Babies Of Good Governance

By Aiyamenkhue Edokpolo, President, Benin National Congress
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Growth And Development - The Twin -Babies Of Good Governance - Being a paper delivered by Aiyamenkhue Edokpolo at the swearing-in/inauguration of the newly elected Executive Officers of the Ikpoba-Okha Development Forum (IDF) and the presentation of awards to deserving personalities on Saturday 16th November, 2013

Protocol: Mr. Chairman Sir, I humbly seek your endorsement to stand on the existing protocol.

As a social scientist, I have come to terms with the fact that one of the most misplaced social phrase is "growth and development". In fact some academicians often treats the twin terms as one and the same thing. It has become incumbent on me to attempt an intelligentsia appraisal of this twin concepts firstly, because I am a political economist who should ensure that far-reaching solutions are proffered to some social problems or issues. Secondly, as the Chairman board of trustees of the Ikpoba Development Forum, I should see to it that our noble group appreciate this terms within the context of its non-profit oriented struggle for Ikpoba Okha's advancement.

Sir Dudley Seerss (1920-1983) a renowned British economist, proffered a definition of development by saying that ''it is a gradual reduction of the three social vices of any society namely; unemployment, inequality and insecurity.'' this definition is self explanatory, it simply implies that development is best measured in comparative terms by the scale of reduction in the three cancerous societal problems. For me, 'growth' is the systematic sustenance of the indices of development.

Again, when development is sustained, growth rears its head in comparative appraisal of the given society. Paradoxically, in our contemporary political evolution, growth and development have been misinformed for dividends of democracy. In the first place the claim of growth and development by most political commentaries in Nigeria as a whole in the last ten years is neither here nor there, because the developmental index for measuring development and growth are not wholly and thoroughly applied.

So, brand new road construction, building of new schools, medical centers and other infrastructures should not be equated for " dividends of democracy", this is because, in some climes where democracy is not in practice, a superlative infrastructure is in place, including sustainable welfare policy that caters for the unemployed, the under age children, the physically challenged, and the old people. In China, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates basic social emenities are taking for granted, so to speak. It is an indisputable fact that governance under the Buhari/Idiagbon military regime, as well as a greater part of Gen. Abacha's regime were by far better by any indices of measurement than Nigerian experiences in most successive regimes. It is in fact, an apology to democracy when politicians, sycophants or paid-essayists equates mere construction or rehabilitation of projects as dividends of democracy. The chief elements of democracy is rule of law and NOT rule by law; independence of the three arms of government; impartiality of the civil service.

Unfortunately, the anxiousness on the part of our people to see good governance usually influences their misconception of bulldozers on the streets grading our roads roads, or new layout; in some areas, the erection of new school buildings, schools, health centres, as growth and development. I make bold as to say that it is a misplaced assumption, they can be best (described as signs of future development in its strict socioeconomic sense. When these facilities have been built and put into effective use we can then refer to them as agencies of development; because they will attract other micro businesses and social springboards for the good of inhabitants. This is so because, Nigeria's society is replete with scales of abandoned projects year in year out; so what then is the rationale for saying a meal is very sweet when it is still at the cooking stage; mat be avoidable factors could derail it from being served on those that expediently need it.

One might wonder or ask rather, how then can we have growth? To have growth, there must be a sustainable policy which may be set up by the incumbent Council Chairman or Governor or President or even Councillor; and constructively followed up or built-upon by successive governments. It is a notorious fact that our politicians or elected public officers have no regards for sustenance of ongoing projects of their predecessors; and it is partly responsible for our un-development.

It was in this fore instance that our highly revered Esama of Benin, Chief Gabriel Osawaru Igbininedion once posited that that a success without a successor is a failure. I totally and implicitly agree with this landmark assertion. For there to be a meaningful development in our society, there must be policy-continuity and not continuity of persons or political party per se. The completion of ongoing projects, strict adherence to positive advise and absolute implementation of positive-minded programs are sancrosant to our overall greatness as a people.

Therefore, Ikpoba-Okha Development Forum must project ideas and encourage credible individuals to rise up to offer development programs at private or political levels. The task before the Ikpoba-Okha Development Forum is that having regards to the adoption of 'Development' as an integral part your our group's numenclature, we must deploy every civilized means at our diposal to become the desired agency for growth and development of the average Ikpoba-Okha man, woman and youth. It is one thing to adopt or appreciate a given name, its another task all together to justify the expectations from the bearer of that name. Through constructive engagement with state and non-state actors, over time, this group will become the rallying organ for Ikpoba-Okha's progress. This is my dream, and it is the underpinning behind my floating of this body two years ago.

To achieve the highest possible result, the constitution of this great body propagated three committees namely: the Peace and Conflict Resolution Committee; the Fund Raising and Public Enlightenment Committee; and the Project Monitoring and Youth Development Committee. These three committees should collaborate with all established Community Development Associations in this locality. This way, I am sure that Ikpoba-Okha will witness unprecedented growth between now and the next seven (7) years. IDF people are looking up to you, do not fail.

Let me congratulate recipients of this maiden award, including myself, because, like the newly inaugurated Chairman (Mr. Osawe) said, the award is a two-edge spinner, one - the recipients are appreciated for what they have for humanity and the locality in particular; and two, the recipients are hereby tasked to do greater works for the ordinary citizens. I humbly submit to this clarion call. Thanks for listening, and may God bless you all.