The former Governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, has blamed poor government structures among other factors responsible for failed campaign promises by politicians.
Dr. Fayemi stated this on Tuesday in Abuja at a One-Day Dialogue with the theme, “2023 and Beyond: Tracking Campaign Promises for Good Governance” organized by NPO Reports in Nigeria.
In his goodwill remark, Chairman of the event and former Chairman, Nigeria Governors’ Forum, Dr. Fayemi established the importance for citizens and Civil Society organizations (CSOs) to track campaign promises but maintained that the state has its mechanisms. He, however, pointed out that there are factors that may also be responsible for why some campaign promises are not fulfilled.
He stressed that sometimes the realities in government do not align with the vision of an intending political officeholder until elected. “When elected, you will be shocked to find out that the realities in government cannot support the delivery of the promises made. It is a sad reality and the struggle to deliver begins from there.”
Dr. Fayemi further stated that some promises that Governors would love to deliver on may have bottlenecks at the Federal level, and procurement level or may not align with the immediate needs of the people. He, however, maintained that development is not about individuals as much as it is about the state.
“When my administration started implementing one of our campaign promises to construct, at least, 5KM road in every Local Government Area (LGA), some people said they didn’t have a car and so the road was not their priority. We didn’t stop the implementation because we know that development is visionary,” he said.
Delivering the keynote address, Prof Lai Olurode, former National Commissioner, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) urged Nigerians to actively participate in governance by tracking campaign promises made by Political officeholders to measure the success or failure of such administration when elected.
Speaking further, Prof Olurode said Nigerians should treat campaign promises by politicians like marriage vows which form a basis for the relationship, in which case, everyone is held responsible.
In his goodwill remark, the former governor of Kwara State, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed noted that there is a need for all stakeholders to develop indices to track campaign promises in line with the budget.
“To track campaign promises, we should be able to trace those promises to see if they are encapsulated in the budget. It is one thing to promise, it is another to budget for it because budgeting usually involves critical stakeholders,” Alhaji Ahmed said.
Giving his goodwill remark, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola commended the panel discussion chaired by Azubuike Ishiekwene, an accomplished Journalist, but lamented that there is a huge knowledge gap about governance among Nigerians.
“We need to educate ourselves about how Federations work. Nigeria is not the only Federation in the world. For example, why are our Local Governments not working? Counties are equivalent to LGAs in Nigeria, and they should be self-sufficient.”
He further noted that the failure stems from LGAs’ over-dependence on handouts and hinted that no receiver of handouts can be responsible. “If we cannot get more than half of our people to work and contribute to the revenue, we are going nowhere. We cannot depend on allocations alone.”
Members of the panel include Ms Angela Agoawike, former Head of Public Relations and Information Department at OPEC; Mr Azubuike Ishiekwene, Senior Vice-Chairman/Editor-in-Chief, Leadership Media Group; Mr Adio Waziri, former Executive Secretary, NEITI, and Executive Director Agora Policy, Abuja, and Mr Hamza Lawal, CEO, Connected Development.
The convener, Mr Semiu Okanlawon, in his remark stated that there is work to be done and all hands must be on deck to ensure that Nigeria gets it right in 2023. According to him, apparatuses must be put in place while agencies and CSOs must work together to track campaign promises. “It cannot be business as usual,” he said.
Dr. Fayemi commended Mr. Semiu Okanlawon of NPO Reports for returning from government business at the state level to convene such a critical discussion in an election season, urging everyone to work together for a better Nigeria.