By: Monima Daminabo
It is not for nothing that the ‘We Agenda, putting people first’ catch-phrase, resonates quickly with not a few Nigerians, for whom good governance has always remained a pie in the sky – usually sighted and hoped for, but never realised. It evokes the dispensation whereby humanity stands for the good of its own, and by implication holds that government exists for the governed. Governments across the world and over time, come to be as the governed concede their rights and sundry endowments, to designated persons to exercise same on their behalf. Little wonder that many governments are also quick to claim that they exist for the governed, but in practice it is the interest of the wielders of the instruments of governance that defines the allocation of values.
The ‘We Agenda’ which rides on the dispensation of putting people first by governments, therefore evokes the fixation of governance on the imperative of satisfying the individual citizen first, and to ensure that no such citizen is excluded from the enterprise of governance, on the basis of any criterion whatsoever.
Governance in this context must therefore embrace with equal measure of care, the rich and poor, the man and woman, boy and the girl, as well as the weak and strong. And the only requirement for the citizen to enjoy good governance, is to be a law abiding individual. This is what makes the ‘We Agenda’ a soul mate to essential good governance.
According to the United Nations, “good governance refers to the processes and institutions of governance that produce results which meet the needs of society, while making the best use of resources at their disposal”. Typically, good governance manifests at least 10 principles namely, a wide scope of citizen participation, respect for rule of law, transparency, responsiveness and consensus orientation. Others are respect for equity and inclusiveness, effectiveness and efficiency as well as accountability. Against the backdrop of the foregoing, it remains crystal clear that hardly has governments in our clime pretended to be guided by these principles to any appreciable extent.
In a related context however, the very same principles of good governance had served as the driving inspiration for Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs (DLB) in his younger days and stimulated his desire to make a change in his society. This factor accounted for his early foray into partisan politics over two decades ago. Just as well, the ethos of the ‘We Agenda’ had also remained his consuming passion all through the years, and accounts for his exemplary philanthropic outreaches, which today have transformed lives across the entire Rivers State, and beyond to other parts of the country.
A striking feature of the dalliance between DLB and the ‘We’ Agenda, is the consistency with which he had pursued the vision of intervening in governance of Rivers State in order to plant the dispensation, in spite of systemic inertia that had tended to keep the status quo. In the same vein has he been confronted with a conflict between the mass appeal which the ‘We Agenda’ enjoys and the inertia towards change by the political system.
Since its creation on May 27th 1967, the Rivers State had enjoyed quality leadership from all the 17 governors and administrators that ever held sway over its affairs. Each had performed creditably considering the unique circumstances each of them faced while on the seat. However as time changes everything, the future offers unique challenges that need to be anticipated today and planned for. Hence the forthcoming 2023 polls exercise is coming at a time of significant and novel challenges which require leadership with equally unique blend of skills set.
This is where the We Agenda advocacy is converging with the Accord Party with its motto of “ Accord and Progress”, to offer Chief Lulu Briggs to the Rivers State electorate as the man of the moment. Against the backdrop of the shenanigans which border on the old and discredited arm-twisting tactics, and violence, lies the better option of a man widely acknowledged as a peace ambassador and who is driven by a vision of restore peace and rebuild the political economy of the Rivers State.
By virtues of its strategic status in the country Rivers State has progressed beyond the imposition of uncouth political culture of macho tendencies. It is time for robust citizen focused politics and not politics that panders to the whims and caprices of entrenched, parochial interests.
All we are saying is, “give us Dumo”, with the ‘We Agenda’ which puts people first, as an idea whose time has come.