Good Governance: How Adeleke Differs From His Predecessor

By Mallam Olawale Rasheed

Public governance has a prime beneficiary as the citizens of a nation, state or local government. The public in each of those entities set the expectations which determine who and how they cast their votes. Office seekers equally aggregate those societal needs and deploy such under their manifestos to canvass for votes in the cut throat struggle for power.

The citizens’ demands are many and varied but there are basic trends and unanimity of focus. At the core of public demands from elected leaders is good governance. Scholars of politics and public governance itemized characteristics of good governance namely participation for broad inclusion; Rule of law of fair and impartial enforced legal framework; transparency built on the free flow of information, processes, institutions; responsiveness where
institutions and processes try to serve all stakeholders; consensus orientation on societal direction; equity where all citizens have access to opportunities; efficiency; accountability and strategic vision where leaders have a broad and long-term perspective on good governance and human development.

If the above is mere academic analysis, good governance to the common man on the streets means delivery of social services, good roads, schools, heath and others. In most cases, ordinary citizens expect basic support for survival and an enabling environment to live comfortable lives. Mostly, the citizens use the simplest of parameters to judge their leaders such as the simplest of provision like a borehole.

The citizens tend to detest leaders who use the intricacies of bureaucracy and money making structures to deny or slow down basic social services delivery. A government that thrives on fanciful ideas with little or no impact on the aspirations of the people faces heavy beating during elections. Of course, an irresponsible and inaccessible leader gets easily caught off from the grassroots who expect immediate attendance and action on public services issues.

As a student of public administration, the point one I am making is that the expectations of the opposition party and that of the citizenry from a Government of the day can be quite different. The citizens have a yardstick for which it based the ratings of a government. As long as a government satisfies the expectations and the set templates, the ordinary citizen and even the dog handlers exude great confidence in the status quo.

For the opposition party, the approach depends on how smart its operatives are. It also depends on how well the incumbent is performing. If a government is meeting the expectation of the people, the opposition has little room to maneuver. A government can therefore be hated by the opposition but fully loved by the people. The Osun scenario fully exemplifies a model where the people and the government are on the same page while the opposition is in the political wilderness.

The secret behind such a scenario as we have in Osun State now is that the incumbent adopted a people-centric approach which removed the old barrier between government and the people. Countless associations and groups not only gain easy access to the Governor but get their needs attended to. The other day a traditional ruler was pleasantly surprised that he met the Governor less than 48 hours after requesting a visit. Unhindered access between the leader and the people satisfies the psychological needs of the voting public.

The second secret relates to attending to small citizen demands as well as the bigger needs of the people. A local area bridge is as important as the inter-city bridge. A village health centre is of significance as the General Hospital. A government that gives borehole to a ward and approves rehabilitation of major water works demonstrates sensitivity to the needs of the micro and macro segment of the society. The Adeleke administration solves minor and major public service problems without let or hindrance.

The capacity of a leader to identify and fulfill the needs of the people deepens public acceptability. When a leader adopts public desire as the core of his agenda, he becomes one in unity with the public. His conduct immediately secures endorsement and his popularity rating soars on a daily basis. For a Governor to adopt workers’ welfare as the first item on his agenda and pursue implementation so rigorously, he earns public trust, confidence and endorsement.

Another instance is a leader who demonstrates foresight in service of the people. The strength to develop a spending plan to avoid waste was applauded among the citizens. When Governor Adeleke announced the multi-billion naira infrastructure plan last December, the state had less than ten billion naira in the treasury. As the revenue inflow increases, the path of spending was already outlined within the overall framework of due process and rule of law. This again fortifies the love of the public for the Adeleke government as it further confounds the opposition.

The overall perspective is that the Adeleke administration differs from its predecessor on various counts, the biggest of which is the extraordinary closeness of the present administration to the people in meeting their needs and in relating with them without barrier and impediment. The expectation of the public and the delivery of the government tallied, hence the huge approval rating of the incumbent.

Of course, there is room for improvement despite an approval rating of over eighty percent. Yet, the point need to be made that Governor Ademola Adeleke has broadened the base of his support due to his charm, accessibility, free spirit, attention to citizens’ needs, his laudable achievements within two years in office, his empathy, and his redefinition of good governance to mean meeting the people at the point of their needs.

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