Public Perception and Good Governance (4)

Public Perception and Good GovernanceՀարց: As public perception is essential to whatever is being presented for consumption, how can this be related to the situation in Nigeria vis-à-vis the current standard of governance in the country – A.O. Equan

As elucidated earlier for the other arms of the government (Judiciary, Legislature), this concluding part of my commentary, which underscores public perception of the Executive (at the federal level, for this purpose) in consonance with measure of governance, also points at relevance to marketing. Just like in commercial marketing, view the performance of this offshoot of government as “product” while the public or Nigerians make up “consumers”. The presidency, as personified by the President, occupies the centre stage here.

Going by the expressions of many that have made personal contact with the current President (I have not), President Goodluck Jonathan seems to possess an amiable mien (a “nice guy”). Clearly, so many can not all be wrong. Nigerians were inclined towards being swayed mainly by this trait as basis for offering support to this President during the last general elections in 2011. This came at a time when there was a clarion call (mainly by civic society groups, other interested parties, and many who wish Nigeria well) for a renewed interest towards elections conducted in the country. More so, after the 2007 elections were acclaimed to have fallen below any standard, including conviction of a typical Nigerian being handed down the short (and even thorny) end of the stick by public office holders before this period. The fall out was public lack of interest in the political system.

In the course of the related electioneering campaigns, with this slant of being a “nice guy”, President Goodluck Jonathan’s promise of transforming Nigeria into what all wished for swung millions in his favour. Election promises made included – Curbing corruption to a significant extent; stemming prevailing problems of insecurity; improved infrastructural development; tackling the deplorable power sector; stemming over dependence on oil revenue; issues of almost collapsed manufacturing sector; neglect of agriculture, inadequate funding of educational, health and other key sectors; եւ այլն.

Incident ally with the “nice guy” posture, Mr. President’s style which I recognize to be illustrative of in-depth deliberations, far-reaching consultation, and sympathy for likely unfavourable bearing, makes for tardiness or time consumption. Sadly, time is what Nigerians don’t have presently. Considering public perceived lack lustre performance of political office holders since the advent of democracy in 1999, the people’s raised expectations about this President’s delivery on promises, have created no grounds for condoning any form of vacillation. Nigerians now have their ‘eyes glued’ to virtually every step this President takes in governance. Any perceived impression of falling below these ‘high hopes’ tend to generate criticism, hence an ongoing ‘bashing’ of Mr President and his team.

A major consequence of this curious spotlight on the performance of the executive has resulted in what I view as unpatriotic amplification of issues, and growing spade of criticism which clearly depict public impatience towards how this arm of the government is carrying-on. Some clearly in public domain include:
Perceived indifferent about corruption (massive, widespread and pervasive). That the war on corruption is being fought without casualties
These issues seem to be ‘blowing in the wind’: Over $244million loan transfer deal; $1.5billion Malabu oil deal; N278billion pension scam; N32.8billion Police pension scam; $3.6million US embassy money laundry; acclaimed $620,000 sting operation.
Approval of N245 billion for the payment for fuel subsidy, and ending up spending N3 trillion.
That Nigeria and corruption now appear to be two sides of the same coin, and there is no political will to change this.
-Dismal performance of Nigeria at the London 2012 Olympics, hinged on corruption in sports.
Massive security challenges [terrorism, kidnapping, armed robbery, electoral violence, human rights abuses, hired assassination, եւ այլն]. That no day passes without news of several lives being wasted in purely avoidable circumstances.
Nigeria is now the only country in the world where crude oil is stolen, creating an impression of a country where anything goes.
Huge salaries to political office holders, while the Revenue Mobilisation and Fiscal Allocation Commission (RMFAC) is obviously looking the other way.
– Մոտ 30 per cent of the annual budget being expended on capital budget and the rest on recurrent expenditure, making for a public notion that putting up economic and social infrastructure (which will touch people’s lives) will always remain a ‘pipe dream’. Then others.

I recognize that expectations of Nigerians have been raised almost to high-heaven from the beginning of this dispensation, in 2011. The situation presently is such that I am beginning to visualize a typical magician’s sleight of hand, as requirement for satisfying the clamour of many. These sceptics have become so attuned to their stance that there is need to juggle their perception to the realisation that the roots of most of Nigeria’s problems extend beyond the present administration. Where is patriotism? Why this unduly urgent high expectations of the citizenry?

As a keen watcher, I view President Jonathan’s style as that which requires more patience from Nigerians. The people’s haste should be toned down a bit, and they must become conscious that Nigerians have to be taken through process, before they start encountering progress. It is that process that has befallen us. I am confident that progress will come shortly.

Be truthful before God and manHave you not noticed an increase in public power supply these past few weeks? What about the clear indications of interest by foreigners to invest in Nigeria, even despite the nuisance of Islamist Boko Haram? The agriculture sector no doubt has started showing some signs of improvement. These surely signify cause for us all to be hopeful, not presidential condemnation becoming a national hobby. With some rays of improvement in these nagging sectors becoming evident, Nigerians should be optimistic, as what all wished for seem not far off. Tarrying just a bit more will not be detrimental.

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