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Opinion

Good Governance in a Democracy: Innovation and Openness to Change

By Mall. Abdulwaheed Onikanhun

 

In a recent paper presented at the National Association of Kwara State Students’ (NAKSS) Parliamentary Week in Honour of Rt. Hon. Engr. Yakubu Saliu Danladi, Hon. Speaker, Kwara State House of Assembly, Mall. Abdulwaheed Onikanhun emphasized the vital role of innovation and openness in achieving good governance in a democracy. The event, held at the NBA Hall, State High Court Complex, Ilorin, was a commendable tribute to the distinguished lawmaker, and the theme, Good Governance in a Democracy: Innovation and Openness to Change, proved timely and relevant.

Addressing the summit, Mall. Abdulwaheed Onikanhun underscored the significance of sustainable development through good governance driven by innovation and openness to change. He stressed that this approach is essential for achieving social justice, inclusive growth, and sustainable development. The need to adapt, unlearn, and relearn was also highlighted as critical in the ever-changing landscape of governance.

The lecture delved into the concept of governance as a social contract, where both the government and citizens play mutually reinforcing roles. However, recent events, such as declining voter turnout, indicated inadequate citizen involvement in the political process. To increase citizens’ participation, Mall. Onikanhun suggested improved collaboration and emphasized that good governance requires the citizens’ active role.

Defining good governance as the ability to transform lives in the present, the paper stressed the importance of progressive infrastructure, economic improvement, accountability, security, and healthcare delivery. Citing the recent subsidies removal on petrol and its adverse effects, the paper urged the government to combine such measures with impactful relief measures to minimize hardships on the populace.

The role of innovation was highlighted as a key driver of good governance. The paper proposed promoting locally made materials and leveraging the state’s comparative advantage in ASO-OFI (a traditional fabric) to revamp the textiles industry. Such initiatives would create jobs, boost the economy, and contribute to the naira’s appreciation against foreign currencies.

In addition to innovation, openness in governance was emphasized as vital for effective and inclusive development. The paper urged the Kwara State House of Assembly to promptly domesticate the Freedom of Information Act (FOI) to ensure transparency and openness in governance and development.

Concluding, Mall. Abdulwaheed Onikanhun called for governments at national and subnational levels to prioritize true democracy by enhancing citizens’ engagement, implementing innovative policies, and fostering openness. Only by embracing innovation and openness to change can good governance thrive in a democracy and lead to a brighter future for all.

The paper’s insightful analysis and well-articulated suggestions left the audience with a call to action, inspiring hope for positive change and progress in the pursuit of good governance in Nigeria, with a special focus on Kwara State. As the legacy of Rt. Hon. Engr. Yakubu Saliu Danladi was honored, it was clear that the summit had achieved its purpose: to promote critical discourse on achieving better governance through innovation and openness in a democratic setting.

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