Governance, security central to Nigeria’s survival as water is to river – Folarin





BAYO AGBOOLA from Ibadan writes that Senator Teslim Folarin’s 2021 University of Ibadan alumni lecture got the rapt attention of the audience while saying that governance and Security are very critical to the growth and development of every society

As expected of the citadels of learning worldwide, the nation’s premier university, the University of Ibadan Alumni Association, Oyo state branch in its 2021 lecture held Friday, September, 10, focused on theme, “The Importance of Good Governance and Security in Nigeria.”


The guest lecturer was no other personality than the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Local Content who is also the Senator representing Oyo Central Senatorial District, Senator Teslim Kolawole Folarin.


Considering the importance of the two key words in the topic of the lecture, “Governance and Security in Nigeria,” to the present situation in the country, it is no longer news that the University of Ibadan Alumni Association Multi purpose hall venue of the lecture attracted the creme de la creme in the society, particularly, the politicians who came to listen into an authority when it comes to the ruling class in the nation’s political arena.


In discussing the business of the day to the admiration of his audience, Senator Folarin in his lecture left no one in doubt that he is conversant with and current about the real situation of things in Nigeria.


While commencing his lecture, he said, “the topic of the day is one that is the hearth of the story of our country at the present time. It is a topic that is as central to the survival of this nation as water is to the river.”
Senator Folarin minced no word in telling his audience/listeners that, “we cannot stop repeating the point about how good governance and responsive security are essential for national development”.


To underscore importance of the two key ingredients of the lecture he noted. “For the Nigerian state to advance in the direction of developed countries of the world, two significant catalysts are paramount: governance and security.”


Then he wondered by asking rhetorically, ‘Is Nigeria ready to advance to the next stage of economic and political development in the twenty-first century, is indeed rhetorical. The reason is not far-fetched. The state of governance and security in the nation needs to be appraised – hence, the very essence of today’s speech.”


Defining governance and security
“Before I proceed, permit me to make state that my understanding of the topic of today does not come only from what I have read; my understanding of the two keywords of the topic – governance and security – comes from what I have experienced and encountered as a student of politics, as well as a representative of the people both at the grassroot and national levels. 


“Therefore, in discussing the subject of security and governance, I hope that you will indulge me with the luxury of my personal reflections as a citizen of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. In the end, my reflections should therefore be seen as a sincere intervention on the topical issues at the present time. 


He proceeded to define “Governance in its simplest form, is a way of governing/ruling a state.”
According to Senator Folarin, “Governance involves the management of people, the control of resources and management of infrastructure at different levels of the political administration of a country”. 

Features of governance 

“The features of good governance include accountability, strategic vision, social security, respect for the rule of law, intolerance for favouritism and nepotism, sociopolitical equity and transparency” 
“On the other hand, security is the state of being free from danger. It is a “guarantee” protection of a person, property, organisation, country and territory against threats, crimes, attacks and theft. Security is freedom from potential harm (or other unwanted coercive change) caused by others. 


The lawmaker noted, “Therefore, the issues of governance and security are integral and inter-related. The problem of governance and security has been in existence from time immemorial; from classical times to the pre-literate kingdoms in African societies.
Emphasizing in the lecture  that the challenges of good governance have always been with the Nigerian nation even before independence, he noted that the challenges became more complicated during the military rule which were marked by series of coups and counter coups, unitary, experimental and democratic leadership systems.

Types of security challenges in Nigeria 
He added that a recent report by an intelligence and advisory group put the implication of security challenges for the nation very clearly while staying that “some of the security challenges with which the nation is bedevilled include intensified domestic violence in all ramifications, daily records of strategised banditry, acts of terrorism, sophisticated armed robbery, unimaginable dastard acts of domestic and gender-based violence, herders-farmers incidents, unabated kidnapping and assassination incidents, oil bunkering, sea piracy, rival cult groups, ritual and communal killings may be attributed to the diverse nature of the country and its peoples. 

Consequences of security challenges 
He stressed further that the “continuous deteriorating security issues overwhelming the nation has affected the country’s socio-economic and political development as no progress can be achieved in an environment where political crises, social violence, ethnic and sectional animosity and religious disturbances plagues the country.
“In addition to these, we must emphasise the fact that the social media has compounded the challenges of security and governance in the country. What do I mean? The new media has the advantage of quick and wide dissemination of information, but the new media is also notorious for the spread of half-truths and fake news which can pose greater risks to the survival of the nation. 
“Therefore, in its very best form, the facility of the new media in the hands of patriots and responsible citizens can be used to propagate the policies of a government, and it can be used to curb the excesses of bad people within the society.

Relationship between good governance and human capacity

“The second matter in relation to governance is the issue of human capacity. Human capacity building can only be achieved through ethical codes, proper management of resources and effective administration. These are all elements of governance.It is the use of state institutions to build peaceful and harmonious societal coexistence, and ensure the greatest good for all the citizens of the country without any special consideration for tribe, religion, gender, education or status. 
“This is the part our constituency of Nigerian leaders, the political class, must get it right. This is the part that the Nigerian populace must also respond to in terms of commitment to the rule of law and patriotism to the fatherland.” 

Governance, security as Siamese Twins of Growth
Senator Folarin further said, “Governance and Security: are  Siamese Twins of Growth and Development as this reflection on ” governance and security establishes the fact that they are related and constantly linked as essentials to sustainable growth and development of nations, adding that ” Nigeria cannot be left behind. In fact, the government is constantly tasked with the duty of ensuring the safety of lives and properties in the nation. If this is not taken seriously, there will certainly be an impediment of real developmental aspirations as well as human growth. Furthermore, security and governance are to be seen as siamese twins joined together to activate the attainment and sustenance of socio-economic goals for national growth”.

Conclusion
In his conclusion at the lecture, Senator Folarin said, “it is very clear that the statistics of insecurity in our country is rising in great and geometric proportions. We are all witnesses to the negative effects of insecurity in the land. These include incidents and cases of kidnapping, armed robbery, violence and other acts of insurrection. There are more out-of-school children than ever before. There are more deaths from terrorist attacks and organized crimes than previous years. There are rising incidences of kidnapping, even of school children and university students. There are cases of avoidable clashes of herders and farmers over land and resources, and there are agitations for political self-determination within the country. All these are facts but they are dangerously familiar. 
“As I stated earlier, the history of security and insecurity in Nigeria goes back to the period before independence and it has gained more frightening presence, from the days of Maitatsine to the present terror of Boko Haram, and the conflicts over land and occupied territories across the country. From daily reports, news items, and personal experiences of victims of terror, the threats to security is no doubt a daily occurrence in Nigeria. And we must work together as patriotic citizens and leaders to stem the dangerous tide. When we put the security of people at the centre of governance, there will be peace and stability, and development will follow. I believe that it is possible to achieve all the types and possibilities of security that I have highlighted in my presentation.
Emphasizing that “we cannot stop repeating the point about how good governance and responsive security are essential for national development’ and that “governance is about the management of humans and resources, it is about the provision of enabling space and operations in the administration of a state or country. 


“Governance is about the coordination of the various sectors and categories of the industries and resources of a nation in a constant and  integrated relationship for the betterment of the people. Governance is ensuring and securing order and stability of the country; and governance is about the propagation and practice of the rule of law and the enthronement of justice and equity for the people. 
“Where there are serious challenges to the security of the people, the infrastructure and the resources of the state, governance is held hostage, everybody is threatened and nobody is safe. Governance is also about the fulfillment of the greater good for all, with the of opportunities for all. We, as the political class and the intellectual class, have the duty to create and secure the best of opportunities for the youth in order to make a difference between the challenges we have now and the brighter future we envision for this nation.”


Going by the lecture, it is of immense fact that governance and security are very critical to the growth and development of every society, and nation and none of the two must elude a country or society if such an environment is to witness the much needed peace, unity and stability which are the ingredients for development.