By Angela Atabo
Dr Solomon Arase, Chairman, Police Service Commission (PSC), has advocated for citizens’ oriented policies and participatory governance as the present administration works to achieve a stable economy.
Arase made the call in Abuja on Saturday at the 2nd Annual Lecture Series and Awards of the Ambrose Alli University Alumni Association, Abuja branch, with the theme “The Quest for Citizens Oriented Governance: The Nigerian Experience”.
The PSC chairman, who is an alumnus of the university, said no country was without one security challenge or the other but that those who have succeeded in mitigating them did so with effective citizens’ participation and support.
He said that the trust gap between citizens, government and security agencies especially in the police force needed to be bridged to promote citizens trust.
Arase also said that the police force must start respecting the rights of citizens for the country to succeed.
“No one security organisation can do it without the support of members of the public.
“The government is doing its best in security. In the last budget that was presented, security still took the lion’s share; sometimes it’s not the money you throw that determines how secured a system is.
“There are other things that go into it, like the strategic approach towards dealing with security, the security agencies themselves, the members of the society, everybody and so on.
“It is a whole of society approach to deal with issues of internal security disorders,” he said
The Chairman of AAU Alumni Abuja branch, Dr Abraham Isibor, said the theme for this year’s lecture was carefully selected to set an agenda for the government due to the current political development in the country.
According to Isibor, citizens’ oriented governance is an approach seeking to make governance more responsive, accountable and transparent to the people to ensure citizens are empowered to participate in government.
“What the people are talking about is not just democracy; we need a government that will provide for the people.
“People need shelter, food; they need to meet the barest necessities of life.
“Good governance relates to the political and institutional processes and outcome necessary to achieve the goals of development because government exists for the people.
“Citizens’ oriented governance talks about good governance, participatory government, rule of law, inclusiveness and the common good in public policy making,” Isibor said.
He called on AAU alumni in Abuja to be active and contribute their quota to the institution that had empowered them.
The keynote speaker, Dr Martin Uhomoibhi, Visiting Professor, International Relations, Igbenedion University, Edo, said citizens should work towards electing credible leaders if they desire good governance.
According to Uhomoibhi, it takes courage to elect good leaders and institute the government people yearn for.
“I believe that the day we will make up our minds that what is good for us is what we want, then things will begin to change or else the narrative will remain the same.
“It is very clear that you cannot give what you do not have; if you give the shaping of your destiny to somebody who does not have what it takes to manage your destiny, it is disaster.
“In some societies, there are some schools that are meant for leaders, you don’t become the Prime Minister of Britain by accident, just as you don’t become the Oba or Benin, the Ooni of Ife or the Sultan of Sokoto, by accident.
“But you can become anything in the Nigerian political scene by accident; so what results are you expecting?
“So, until we begin to challenge the leadership selection process and make sure that we put our best foot forward, we will not get it right,” Uhomoibhi said.
Dr Peter Orobor, Vice Chairman, AAU Alumni, Abuja branch, said that the lecture series was organised to lend their voice and to direct the attention of the leaders towards the citizens as against focusing on themselves.
“We are letting them know that they were elected and appointed to govern the citizens, therefore, in all their plans and policies, the citizens should come first.
“The wellbeing of citizens, their interest, security, prosperity and infrastructural development matters.
“We also launched our AAU alumni housing estate planned for our members at an affordable rate so that they can own their house and generate funds to support the alumni office and members,” Orobor said.
An awardee, Ama Etuwewe, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), said citizens must start by being good Nigerians, have a change of heart and re-orientate their minds if the country must be better.
Etuwewe said that the judiciary was on test before and after the elections and that it did not compromise in its judgements, contrary to public opinion.
“The court do not act on public opinion, they depend on clear evidence on ground; the Nigerian judiciary has proven to be one of the greatest in the entire world.
“During the election, everybody thought hell would be let lose but by the time the judiciary stood its ground and took its decision, the whole place was calm,” Etuwewe said. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Emmanuel Afonne