Good Governance Tour committee has on Friday (today) expressed disappointment and deep regret for the statement credited to Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola, who has described the on-going Tour as ill-conceived.
A committee for the Defence of Human Rights, CDHR, had in a statement on Monday said the “good governance tour” by the Federal Government is a fraud.
However, below is the statement issued by Coordinator National Good Governance Tour, Samuel Ajayi.
Lagos State was Party to National Good Governance Tour Agreement
The Secretariat of the National Good Governance Tour views with concern and deep regret the statement credited to Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola, who has described the on-going Tour as ill-conceived.
While extolling his administration on its 2,100th Day in office, the Lagos State Governor claimed that the National Good Governance Tour was designed “in an attempt to appear busy” and that they (Federal Government) “have no project to inspect”.
It must be shocking to all who are familiar with how the Tour was conceived, and is being implemented, that it has taken Governor Fashola nearly six months to dissociate the Lagos State Government from the Tour.
For the records, Lagos State was duly represented by the Deputy Governor, Mrs. Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, on the committee set up by the Nigeria’s Governors’ Forum, to ratify the template for the Tour. The final framework was approved by all state Governors without exception.
The Tour began with the Federal Capital Territory on Sept. 20, 2012, and by last Tuesday, the Tour Team had visited 15 states in the North-central, South-East and the South-South Geo-political Zones.
Coming so soon after a similar attack on the Tour by Governor Oshiomhole of Edo State, it is obvious that Governors of a certain partisan persuasion are nervous about the impending tour of their states. This clearly demonstrates that they have something to hide. If not, why are they afraid of the tour of projects in their states?
To reiterate, the Tour is a non-partisan undertaking involving the leadership of the Nigeria Union of Journalists; (NUJ) the Radio, Television and Theatre Arts Workers Union (RATTAWU); leaders of women and youth organisations; National Council of Women Societies (NCWS); leaders of non-governmental organisations; representative(s) of the Nigeria Governors Forum Secretariat; and reporters from the nation’s print and electronic media.
The Tour became necessary following the collective decision of stakeholders to showcase the progress of our democracy and to provide a platform for citizens to express their views and opinions on the progress and challenges faced by all tiers of government.
That is why the tour incorporates a robust Citizens’ Forum which enables citizens of every state to engage Federal and State Government officials on all key development policies and challenges in their state. The Citizens Forum which is attended by the Governor of each State or the Deputy as the case may be and
Federal Ministers runs live on radio, television and Social Media Platforms. In every state, citizens ask their leaders questions without restriction and Nigerians all over the world take advantage of the Social Media to file in their questions, comments, opinions or suggestions on the major programmes and activities of government. This is clearly democracy in action.
During the Tour, state officials, contractors and service providers take questions directly from journalists drawn from the print and electronic media and from representatives of civil society organizations and other stakeholders on the performance of projects and programmes executed by Federal and State Governments.
In view of that, we are amazed that Governor Fashola made such declaration because wherever we went to, citizens were excited because of the opportunity and the platform the tour provided for them to freely express their opinions, suggestions or offer advice to those in government on how they are being governed.
Governor Fashola should be appreciative of the Federal Government because far more than other states, the entire Lagos State like Abuja, runs on Federal Government infrastructure and services and Fashola knows that the Federal Government is doing a lot to keep Lagos State moving.
It should also be noted that the Federal Government is not a rival of states neither is the Federal Government in competition with states. The role of the Federal Government is to formulate policies in partnership with states and help partner with states to provide infrastructure for the development of the country. That is the role of the Federal Government in all federations.
Therefore Governor should stop this idea that Lagos State is a rival of the Federal Government. He should embrace the principle of cooperation in governance for the development of Lagos and Nigeria.
We would like to restate that the Tour is not being forced on any state. But where any state chooses not to participate, it can opt out of the NGGT without blackmailing the Tour Team.
In the event of any state opting out, the Tour Team will proceed regardless to inspect Federal projects, which are spread across the country.
As leaders, we should have the courage to own up to decisions we collectively make for the good of our country.
Coordinator National Good Governance Tour