Wednesday, November 11, 2015 10:49 pm
As University of Ibadan, UI, commences its 2015 convocation, Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State calls for good governance in the state and belt tightening by the citizens
University of Ibadan, UI, today Wednesday November 11 2015, kicked off its one- week 2015 convocation ceremony with a convocation lecture tagged “Prospects and Challenges of Good Governance in A Developing Economy”, delivered in the institution’s Trenchard Hall by the Oyo State Governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi. Standing in for the institution’s Vice Chancellor, Professor Isaac Adewole, who was being inaugurated in the Federal Capital Territory in Abuja as the new Minister of Health, was the institution’s Deputy Vice Chancellor, Administration, Professor Emil’Olorun Ayelari who implored the governor to bring back members of the Oyo State Youth Empowerment Scheme, O-YES to instill sanity in the people, stressing, “Let us go back to where we were in your first term in office.”
In his one-hour lecture witnessed by members of the university community including the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Council, Dr. Umar Musa Mustapha; Deputy Vice Chancellor, Academics, Professor Gbemisola Oke; principal officers; Vice Chancellor, Ladoke Akintola University, Ogbomosho, Professor Niyi Gbadegesin; members and supporters of All Progressive Congress, APC, led by its state chairman, Chief Akin Oke; Governor Ajimobi used the occasion to hint the residents of the state that his second term would witness increase in the Internally Generated Revenue, IGR through any means.
According to the governor, who is poised to collect outstanding tax the premier university is owing the state government, pointed out that the state is expecting to improve its IGR from money realised from revalidation of Certificate of Occupancy, C of O, taxes, tenement rates among others. He said, “You (UI) owe the state. You have not paid us and you have to pay us all that you owe us. In the next six months, our IGR will start to improve. Residents should be ready to pay their tenement rate, tax, pay for revalidation of C of O. and many other rates that we will introduce. We will be coming for tax in UI. We just want to improve our IGR.”
The governor painted the picture of the state finance saying, “When we came on board in 2011, we were receiving N4b allocation from the Federal Government and our IGR is N1b, a total of N5b. Salary and wages bill was N2b. With this revenue, we had the honour to develop and service the running cost. Within three months, workers started to agitate for minimum wage, and salary and wages grew up by 50 percent in that period. We increased salary three times. Salaries and wages rose to N5.2b. At a point, income from the Federal Government started reducing. N2.5b is what we get from the Federal Government and we have N1.2b IGR. Both the federal allocation and IGR can’t pay salary without deficit. In a normal business environment, we should reduce the work force but we don’t want to do that even when they are not working. I held a meeting with them and laid two options before them asking them to pick between the government reducing the staff or showing understanding with the government for now. They said that I should not reduce staff and that whatever I have, I should pay them. There is nothing like bailout. What the Federal Government gave us is assistance. It doesn’t bail us out but rather helped us just for a certain period. So, in the next six months, our IGR must be improved.”
As regards local government administration, Ajimobi promised that some caretaker chairmen would be appointed in December to oversee the local government councils in the state, while proper election would be conducted early next year. Ajimobi said he had earlier delayed the council election because he wanted to see the outcome of the election tribunal adding, “Now that we have seen it, I can assure you that in the next couple of weeks, any time in December, something will be done. There is a man here who sent a text message to me around 3am to be considered for the position of a caretaker chairman. He positioned himself here in a place where I will see him clapping for me. He has also sent a text message to me in this hall. Be rest assured you will be considered”.
Delving into the lecture proper, he differentiated between government and governance, and argued that while government is the agency through which the will of the state is formulated, expressed and realised and instrument to serve the purposes of the state, governance is the process of decision-making and the process by which decisions are implemented or not implemented.
According to him, the true test of “good” governance which is the major canon of democracy is the degree to which it delivers on the promise of human rights: civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights.” He asked rhetorically: are the institutions of governance effectively guaranteeing the right to health, adequate housing, sufficient food, quality education, fair justice and personal security?”
Ajimobi reiterated that for a government to be assumed or perceived to have qualified as passing ‘good governance’ test, it must be responsible and responsive in improving management capacity of the public sector; establishing and reinforcing mechanisms for accountability of public officer; instituting and promoting rule of law; and improving transparency and free conduct of government business.
Ajimobi, however, enumerated the challenges of good governance to be underdeveloped institution, poor political governance and representation, weak social structure and culture. The attendant effects will include: poor political leadership, lack of respect for the rule of law and lack of respect for human dignity, general indiscipline among the populace, bribery and corruption, wide inequality, insecurity and threat to life and property, underdeveloped economy and poor, public planning habit, poverty in the land, poor attitude to work and lack of job commitment, lack of dependable data for economic planning, illiteracy, and infrastructural decay and poor maintenance culture.
To have good governance, Ajimobi advocated the review of the nation’s federal system and principle of federal character in such a way that their practice would be seen as fair, and just.
He stated further, “more importantly, an urgent review of the exclusive and concurrent legislative lists is desirable. The review is a radical key to the enhancement and re-modeling necessary for our infrastructural and social economic rejuvenation. A situation where a state or a group of states cannot come together to embark on radical reforms of the rail, air, road, sea, energy, education, telecommunications, resource control, fiscal, even tourism and law enforcement (e.g. police), among others, is anti-progressive, retrogressive and colonial in mentality and nature.”
Ajimobi pointed out that the nation’s universities has a great role in enhancing good governance as it is expected to close the gap between the town and the gown as well as assisting government at all levels in sound policy formulation that could bring progress to the country.
Speaking earlier, the pro-chancellor assured the state government that the institution would pay up all its debt stressing, “I assure you that within our capacity, we will pay whatever we owe the state”.