By Bassey Nkponam
The Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators of Nigeria (ICSAN), Akwa Ibom State chapter, has stressed the need for Nigerians to select knowledgeable leaders with the right vision and capacity to serve.
The chairman of the institute, Mr Ime Asibong Esq, who made the advocacy on Friday at the 4th annual conference/dinner organized by the chapter at Ibom Icon Hotel and Golf Resort, Uyo on the theme, Setting the Agenda for a New Nigeria: The Imperative of Good Governance after 2023 Elections, emphasized the need for the choice, which he noted would serve as a spring board to reposition and leap-frock the country’s economy on the path of strategic growth and development in a competitive and technological advanced world.
Asibong, who observed that there was no economic development without good governance, said once a country does not have strong and sound governance, capital will flow elsewhere, describing good governance as a process by which countries with low living standard can become nations with higher living standards.
According to him, “We must re-emphasize that political power is not an end in itself but must be utilized to advance the common good for all.
Our leaders must strive to exercise that authority in subjection to the principles of accountability, transparency, Rule of Law, inclusiveness and fairness which are all hallmarks of good governance”.
The state chairman of ICSAN who observed that politicians campaign in poetry and govern in prose, said “immediately after elections and all the politics, governance must begin to guide our paths”.
Asibong said ICSAN has produced seasoned professionals who occupy key positions in public, private and not-for-profit sectors of the economy, saying, “when you consider our current global and national challenges -high debt profile, exchange rate fluctuation, rising inflation, unemployment, falling value of our naira and shrinking socio-economic opportunities, you will readily appreciate this deliberate and timely intervention to set agenda for our political and business leaders”.
The national president/chairman of council, ICSAN, Mr TaiwoOwokalade lauded ICSAN, Akwa Ibom chapter for putting up the programme aimed at setting agenda for good governance in 2023.
Owokalade, who was represented by the registrar/ chief executive, ICSAN, Mrs Taiwo Olusesi, noted that if Nigerians do not speak up, the future of the country will be in jeopardy, describing the theme of the conference as apt.
He commended the chapter for its consistency in hosting the yearly conference and other programmes and thanked individuals and corporate organizations for always supporting the chapter to be consistent in her activities.
The chairman of the conference and commissioner for finance, Dr Linus Nkan, said the importance of good governance for the collective growth and development of the country cannot be over emphasized, as it permeates every strata of the society which when gotten wrong, ends a country in under development and poverty.
Nkan, who was represented by the permanent secretary in the ministry, Mr Umoh Stephen said the conference has come at a time Nigerians were preparing to go to the poll to elect their political leaders, saying, “it is a time for stock-taking and for the citizenry to make an informed choice on who to saddle with the onerous responsibility to manage our collective human and material resources to advance the common good of all and the society”.
He appreciated ICSAN in the state for providing the platform and facilitating the conversation on good governance.
According to him, the true test of good governance is the degree to which it delivers on soft and hard life touching infrastructure, accountability, transparency, equity and fairness, inclusiveness, effectiveness and efficiency that will make life easy for the common man.
Delivering a keynote address on the topic, “setting the agenda for a new Nigeria: The imperative of good governance after 2023 elections”, the chairman, Board of directors Ibom Air, Pastor Imo-Abasi Jacobs obeerved that if Nigeria misses the golden opportunity that 2023 offers, then Nigerian project will be doomed forever.
According to him, “having come to an inevitable dead-end and unprecedented new law in our body politics, the year 2023 is the only a bridge between the past and the future.
Jacobs noted that there is a missing link between politics and governance, as the talking point is usually politics and not governance, stating that there can be no good development with good governance.
The keynote speaker noted that Nigeria is in a dire stretch owing to a prevailing unprecedented wrong leadership and a bleaking future said, “except something is done urgently, the nation may miss forever’.
The chairman, Ibom Air observed that “Nigerians have lost trust in governance and we must strive to get back the trust from those who seek political offices in 2023.
It is time we begin to uphold people by the life they lived in the past and the impact they made”.
He urged Nigerians to use the good governance lens to elect leaders in 2023 and those who will serve in love and mind to ensure a nation where peace and justice shall reign.
Speaking on a sub-theme titled, “the principles of good governance: A key to revitalizing service delivery within the public service”, the chairman, Civil Service Commission, MrsEkerebong Umoh said the imperative of good governance in 2023 lies on Nigerians.
According to her, “our public service has been bedeviled by elements of bad governance by omission or commission, saying, as a sure way of revitalizing the public service, government at all levels should effectively engage service users; ensure effective office planning and budgeting, even as appropriate training should be provided to enhance knowledge on good governance.
Other sub-themes on Cryptocurrency and emerging issues in corporate governance’ as well as “appraisal of applicability of corporate governance in the administration of Justice in Nigeria were taken by Mr Felix Omojola, immediate past assistant company secretary, MTN Communication Plc and Justice IfiokUkana (Rtd).