The good, the bad and the ugly parts of politics have reared their heads in Plateau State courtesy of the scheduled October local government area council polls.
As usual, the hawks, the vultures and the hyenas are on the bit trying to outsmart one another for business as usual to flourish with their stooges in power. The political space is charged and taken over by jesters, town criers, sycophants and off-course the usual praise singers targeting stomach infrastructure, appointments where they exist and other palliatives from their pay masters masquerading as political leaders, elders or sponsors in a vacuum.
With such gruesome murder of the democracy, abuse of party guidelines, political rascality and primitiveness combined, threats to peace, should Plateau State Independent Electoral Commission (PLASIEC) go ahead to conduct the election in October as scheduled? Is that the political legacy Governor Simon Bako Lalong wants to bequeath Plateau State where rigging and manipulations become part of the game unchecked?
That shall be discussed at a later date including how common in-party primary election became a tug of war in some localities necessitating the bargain of votes, recruitment of opposition party members to swell number of voters, threats to innocent women while accreditation of prospective voters was thrown to the winds. It was purely a display of Kanny wood drama across the 17 local governments. The tenets of democracy were murdered, decency abused, respect to the rules of the game smashed and threats of jungle justice application took over the entire process.
But, the concept of strategic development administration and its relevance in Nigeria’s political malaise addresses issues of how administration can be effectively employed as agent of development where it is desirable, changes and modernization a situation precedent where a Local Government Councilor, Council Chairman, State House of Assembly and House of Representative members, Senator, Governor and indeed the President defines their mandate only in terms of national growth and development, and nothing else drives them.
Public administration cannot be greatly improved without a corresponding strengthening of the respective political process therefore electoral reform is key, to save the democracy. The recruitment process into public offices at all levels of government should be critically and honestly x-rayed so that the institutional provisions only allow credible persons access to public offices not stooges and appendages of merchants on sponsorship.
In the same vein, effective public administration must be that, that narrow the artificial dichotomy between the seasoned bureaucrat, the politically exposed persons, urbanized elites and the shortchanged peasant masses. So long as a large segment of the society do not feel that their interests are effectively represented either due to varied ethnic interest or socio-economic strata, the conditions do not exist for stable government or for efficient public administration. There should be inclusive participation as well as devolution of power to stimulate rapid economic growth in nation building.
Similarly, the expert segments of the society relating to industrialization and technological advancements as well as information technology, rural development, power, road infrastructure must be identified and harnessed. Appropriate agencies must be set up to effectively mobilize the citizenry such that the primary motive of every activity of individuals should be development-oriented. Development should be perceived as multi-dimensional process involving reorganization and reorientation of the entire economic and social systems e.g, improvement in income and output; development involves radical changes in institutional, social and administrative structures as well as popular attitudes; and sometimes even custom and beliefs. Development refers to change that is continuously taking place in man and his physical, social, cultural and other environmental factors. The concept of development therefore has neither ceiling nor particular end. It is essentially a dynamic process of change seeking to lift the society from one level to a higher level of prosperity within a specific time frame. It is futuristic oriented.
The evidences of development are glaring. Government needs no media, information officers, special assistants or specially-created groups to dissipate energy and drain the scarce resources needed to drive the development process to propagate evidence of development if they at all exist.
It would be so evident to the people in what confronts them daily when they step out of their homes-good roads with good drainages, good and efficient public transportation system, well built markets with excellent sanitary systems that work, good health facilities with state-of-the-art medical infrastructures and qualified personnel, stable electricity supply that is frequently expanded and upgraded to meet growing population; accurate statistics that account for the growing population including sex and age distribution, efficient and effective educational policy that translates to excellent educational infrastructures and curriculum that produces adequate manpower for sustained growth and development of the society; excellent legal and political institutions that support genuine electoral system that recruits credible individuals into public offices to build up a formidable public conscience that punishes evil and rewards good-a web of integral system that constantly re-invent itself in the direction of providing the good life for the citizenry.
When a nation arrives at this point, the citizens willfully take pride in their nationality thus meeting their obligations in the social contract which it translates to payment of taxes, protection of public infrastructures and taking ownership of the common good. These are the harvest of strategic development administration which evidently manifest in the thought processes of the populace and gradually mould the way of life of a people that whatever they do at whatever level or strata, they are engaged in the nation building process- they are obsessed with the ‘development bug’ that harnessed all their activities toward the constant renewal of attitudes that trigger the best attainable standards of living everywhere.
Successive governments in Nigeria have seemingly abandoned the genuineness of purpose to work for the upliftment and the common good of the citizenry. Leadership at all levels of government tends to promote self-interest particularly at the local government level at the detriment of the people’s welfare. The account for the widespread primitive accumulation that has become the toga of politically exposed persons. Some have simply stuck to power by recycling themselves at all levels of power for greed through rigging of elections and other manipulative tactics. There is arrogant display of wealth acquired dishonestly through access to public offices. The growing spate of insurgency, banditry and kidnappings across the land has been partly linked to the inequitable distribution of the commonwealth. Thus the security apparatus is currently under great stress.
Political leadership must be redefined within the context of selfless service and commitment to strategic development. All activities of government at all levels must be committed to the service of the common good; to promote transparency, accountability and the fear of God/Allah; to shun corrupt tendencies, impunity, nepotism and sectional interests. If these simple attributes are vigorously pursued and displayed in the discharge of public responsibilities, a new atmosphere of growth and development, the wind of peace and love of nation shall blow across the breadth and length of our great Nigeria.
Muhammad is a commentator national issues