Revisiting & Institutionalizing Obinomics Governance Approach: A Standard Benchmark For New Governors In Nigeria
(Democracy & Good Governance, Onitsha Nigeria, 19th April 2015)-
It is the position of the leadership of International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law that the two pillars holding the democratic foundation in modern time particularly in Africa are laid on input and output legitimacies. When a governor emerges in an election through credible popular votes, his or her emergence becomes a product of input legitimacy. But if he or she emerges otherwise, his or her emergence becomes a product of mechanical legitimacy.Output legitimacy is the case when the input legitimate governor changes and upgrades the socio-economic conditions of his or her people and their environmental abode through innovative and creative governing styles.
To achieve output legitimacy concept of governance, governance attitude must be laid on service and permanently distanced from consumption.Output legitimacy is solidly laid on nine foundations of focus, direction, innovation or creativity, positive resources mobilization, fiscal prudence and accountability, zero indebtedness, private sector inclusion, social service provision and delivery and account of stewardship. Through focus, a government resists the risk of running distractive governance. Through direction, it has a governance destination. By innovation, it lowers the risk of running a status quo or establishment governance and brings on board innovative policies and actions. By positive resources mobilization, it de-escalates over reliance on statutory revenue earnings and harmful borrowings and creates and discovers other positive sources of revenues such as private sector, donor agencies, development partners and governance saving costs.
By fiscal prudence and accountability, it cuts down bloated governance costs and ensures their re-channelization into social service provisions and delivery. It also makes it possible to attract huge non debt financial and social project inflows from donor agencies and development partners and ensures re-channelization of its statutory allocations into fixing key infrastructures like roads, bridges, airports, health and education physical structures, etc. By zero indebtedness, it saves its governance enclave from debt burden and retardation of development and gagging of its future. It also puts the enclave on sound financial footings. By private sector involvement or inclusion, massive job opportunities are created because private sector, not government is the highest employer of labor in the world. It also boosts government revenues and attracts large capital inflows and direct and indirect foreign investments. It also moves its natural resources from subsistent level to mechanized level.
By social service provision and delivery including environmental protection, the fundamental objective of inventing government; which is service to the people and their environment is optimally achieved. It also enhances the living conditions of the people and optimally narrows the gap between the rich and the poor. By so doing, social unrest and crimes are reduced to the barest minimum and happiness and comfort are provided for the greater number of the population.
By account of stewardship, process of output legitimacy is fully completed. It also engenders hope and trust in public governance and provides local and international reference points and systematized benchmarks by which today's governance is measured. The account of stewardship under reference is also expected to contain the assets and liabilities being left behind by the out-going government as well as progress or retrogress made by same.
The Concept of Obinomics:
The concept of Obinomics or innovative multi-sectored approach to public governance in Anambra State using decency, law, prudence and political civility; is substantially laid on the nine foundations explained above. Of the 36 States and the FCT, only Anambra State of Obinomics successfully ran a governance of combined input and output legitimacies under Mr. Peter Obi from 2006 to 2013. In its input legitimacy, it was voted massively in the April 2003 gubernatorial poll, but the armada of electoral fraud denied it victory and gubernatorial ascendance until 17th March 2006 when the reverse became the case via protracted judicial processes. The Obinomics' input legitimacy also modified and upgraded the Nigeria's electoral legal calendar and introduced staggered gubernatorial polls in seven States of Nigeria.
Obinomics' output legitimacy innovatively changed the face of Anambra State multi-sectorally and removed the State from its notorious pariah status asNigeria's rogue State where renegades and naira loaded clowns are in charge to the point of taking over the government's seat of power with impunity and determining the collective fate of the Anambra People in a riotous and disastrous manner. The Obinomics started with the account of what it met on the ground as well as prudence and continuity; by way of continuing and completing most, if not all the projects awarded by the two former renegade administrations before embarking on award and execution of new ones.
It went extra miles in mobilizing massive resources locally and internationally. It also scaled down drastically the State's old debt stocks and further borrowings. At the end, successes recorded by the State in governance were in legion, particularly by leaving behind huge finances in the State coffers totally over N75billion as well as making the State the least indebted State in Nigeria internally and externally. This, the Obinomics did by clearing the State's local and foreign debts from over N40billion in 2006 to N10.7billion in December 2014. The State also changed from borrower to lender with $156million invested in foreign bonds, which have now risen to about N40billion. The issue of wage debts was also tackled by 90% by ensuring that most pension and gratuity arrears were liquidated. The Obinomics ended with a heavy booklet containing verifiable account of stewardship including upgraded schools, health institutions, roads, bridges, direct foreign investments and capital inflows, etc.
Obinomics As A Benchmark For New Governors:
We are deeply worried at Intersociety over the attitudes of elected political office holders towards public governance in Nigeria particularly at the State level; which see and treat same as mercantile venture rather than service to humanity. This explains why public governance has failed brutally in most of the States in Nigeria. The public governance in the country has also been afflicted with status quo or establishment governing styles with little or no efforts at ensuring innovative or creative governance.
Most States in Nigeria are presently grounded to a halt and afflicted with huge debts capable of blocking any meaningful governance impact in such States. In the States under reference, true accounts of their debt stocks particularly their local debts are concealed or manipulated. As a result, the incoming governors have no option than to continue to run status quo or establishment governance on account of mountainous debts being left behind by their out-going colleagues.
Those who were recently declared re-elected are also expected to continue with their roguish and deceitful governance at the expense of the electorates and the general public. Lagos State, for instance, has official public State debts of N402 billion comprising local and foreign debts and unofficial debts of over N500 billion. It is the most indebted State in Nigeria. In Rivers State, over N200 billion is owed in public debts. Other heavily indebted States are Oyo, Ogun, Osun, Cross River, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Abia, Imo, Kaduna and Delta. At the geopolitical level, the Southwest and the Southwest zones remain the most indebted zones in Nigeria with over 1.4 trillion at over N700 billion each involving local and foreign debts.
On the other hand, the concept of Obinomics remains a fundamental benchmark to public governance approach in Nigeria. To ensure successful adoption and workability of this concept, any governor wishing to adopt it must first adopt service to humanity attitude in place of consumptive governance attitude. The Obinomics governance approach is also direly needed at the Federal level where the Federal Government's current total debt stocks officially stands at over $55billion comprising over N9 trillion ($45B) of local debts and $10billion of foreign debts respectively. Apart from these shocking and alarming debt stocks of the Federal Government, most of the monies needed to fix key public infrastructures and other social services amounting to over 60% are roguishly codified in the form of allowances and overheads for the elected and appointed top public office holders in Nigeria to the extent that a whopping sum of N1trillion or $5 billion is spent annually in the payment of the allowances of the Federal civil servants (Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala 2014).
In the Federation of Nigeria as a whole, another whopping sum of N1.15 trillion or about $5.7 billion is spent annually in the payment of salaries and allowances of 14,500 top appointed and elected public office holders in the country with salaries accounting only for 10% and allowances accounting for 90%. Out of this, N550 billion is spent annually on the allowances of 12,788 Local Government Areas' top officials in the categories of chairmen, deputies and councilors in the country's 774 LGAs while only N42 billion is spent on their salaries.
Through parliamentary fiscal appropriations at the Federal level, over N1.5 trillion or about $7.5 billion is spent on overheads every year including the President's security votes. This is much more than what is budgeted for capital projects, which is about N1.2 trillion or $6 billion. At the State level, 60% of the cumulative earnings including borrowed funds are wasted annually in overheads and allowances of top public office holders including the governors' monthly security votes. Between N600million and N800million is pocketed monthly by each State Governor in Nigeria in the form of monthly security votes. Most of the States in Nigeria have also roguishly enacted post public office wage pay laws for their elected executive and legislative officers and the sums allocated to them in the form of severance and pension allowances are alarming and shocking.
Barr Uzochukwu Oguejiofor-Nwonu, Head, Campaign & Publicity Department
Barr Chiugo Onwuatuegwu, Head, Democracy & Good Governance Program
Barr Obianuju Igboeli, Head, Civil Liberties & Rule of Law Program