What is the Meaning of Transparency
Transparency is drawn from the word transparent meaning, clear, not hidden or covered. Transparency therefore is ability to see clearly without any hindrance. This can be used to qualify somebody’s character or behavior. Nigeria, as a country e.g., for years now has not been faring well with the rating of Transparency International, a U.K. based Non-Governmental organization which acts as a watchdog to behaviors of countries around the world. Annual ratings of countries are scientifically done utilizing acceptable parameters to arrive at positions of various countries. Various factors are considered in this annual rating, ranging from the way these countries do business both in the public and the private sectors, highlighting level of corruption, fraudulent tendencies and general attitude of people to doing business. Position of Nigeria on yearly basis has not been impressive and if we take e.g., this year’s 126th.position as the most corrupt country in the world, then it calls for looking into our national character with serious concern with urgency.
Transparency calls for conducting of business honestly and openly without mortgaging the conscience for personal or avaricious reasons. It also has to do with the determination to maintain integrity and greatness, even in the face of odds and preponderant influence from others. It nurtures appealing, open and honest nature in all dealings without concealment and allows people’s true feelings and opinions to be freely expressed.
Transparency is the “Light” that shines in the “Night” and the illumination that brightens the day. It is the glory of God that over-shadows self and putting the nation’s interest above every other interest. Without transparency, all good dreams and laudable plans of God for a nation are destroyed and the country is ruined. In other nations, transparency is seated as number one in the heart of the people. It is the criterion for appointment to public office and without transparency you don’t aspire to lead.
As statement of fact, transparency is a necessary character for governance, it is like a company that advertises vacancies for employment, screen all the candidates based on their résumés and compare their past experiences with the present job opening to pick the best from the pack. Transparency demands that the best candidate should be offered the job after due screening process and these steps does not pose as strange procedures to choose credible and most qualified candidate to run for public office. Transparency therefore, is a necessary ingredient in the choice of a leader whether public or private office holding.
Accountability is taking responsibility, own up or being answerable to what we have been assigned to do. When an individual is given a responsibility or assignment, it becomes obligatory for that individual to deliver expected result(s) as at when due. In most cases, complete submission of the final report of the assignment including the position of left-overs of what was given to you to do that assignment must be accounted for in material, staff and money budgeted and disbursed for the job. Sometimes, it may be coming back from official trip as a senior government functionary and account for how you spend the money that was approved for the trip as well as result expected from the trip. Such a staff must be able to account for this and nobody else. Sometimes, it could be assignment that you are given to supervise and per-adventure the finishing is questionable, it will be wrong for that supervisor to pass the buck to subordinates but to gladly be accountable to the poor outcome.
Most interestingly, this issue of accountability may arise concerning our politicians whom we voted for. We voted for them as a result of what they promised us as enshrined in their party manifesto. How many gets back to their subjects and supporters and say, “You sent me and this is what I have been able to achieve in my first 100 days”. Arranging for Town Hall Meetings to meet your voters and supporters to brief them of how far you have gone, what is your experience like, what is on ground and possible expectations is accountability.
Transparency and Accountability are important virtues, not only in public governance but also in private businesses and life to the extent that our little ones can imbibe these virtues to build a better Nigeria tomorrow. This is the heart desire of The Nigerian IMAGe for a transformed Nigeria.
Frankly speaking, what makes a country is its people. Every other thing is subjected to the whims and caprices of man. Whatever name is given to the country, good or bad come in as a result of attitude of her people. 53 years after independence, if man in this blessed country had shown restrain on self, first, our Naira e.g. would still be running neck to neck with British Pounds sterling, we would be able to research and produce raw materials for our industries with the capacity to run these industries consistently at economically favourable level of efficiency and turning out products meeting local needs and enough for export but sad that as at today, we are still as a child under tutelage.
Nigeria is not the only country that Transparency International looks at her way of doing business. It is time as a country that is the giant of Africa, that the perennial embarrassing rating should worry us. This year, our position is 146 as the most corrupt Country in the world and it is not enough for us to brush it aside with the wave of hand. Does it not bother us that effort should be made to build a new Nigeria that transparency and accountability should become a philosophy and a way of life? We must take accountability for this poor showing and do what we can to urgently laundry our image.
The main reason why transparency is lacking in our country is because some of the political parties are formed by wrong people for their selfish interest. That is why we hear of Northern Agenda, Southern Agenda and Rotational Presidency.
Rotational Presidency is baseless and for no interest of the nation at heart. In a country where national interest is paramount as the basis for choosing her leaders, rotational principle is not practiced. Rotational Presidency is another ploy to kill the country totally. Any nation that has such a national agenda has no interest of the nation at heart. This system is culpable of bringing square pegs into round holes and should be discouraged. In other words, someone who does not have what it takes but is from the North or South may be imposed on the people to achieve group economic interest to the detriment of the nation and igniting anger of the people. The champions of this course are only showing desperation whose interest is only ethnic promotion and supremacy. It shows that we are not patriotic enough to know that the nation needs cooperation as a driving force and not tribal or interest group enthronement.
In the real world situation, this does not uphold transparency; neither will the occupier of the office come with transparency nor accountability to serve the people well.
The National Agenda
If we hold the interest of the country as paramount and that the primary reason is to serve, why should tribe be the prerequisite for governance? Is one elected to serve citizens, build the nation or interest of a tribe? The nation is not named after any tribe, why then should tribe be a factor in political debates and platform to choose who rules? The Nigerian Image holds an enviable agenda of not robbing and starving the people of their resources but to build a strong and united Nigeria where every Nigerian is free to live anywhere and carry on his lawful business unmolested. If we hold interest of the country first, great opportunity will be there for the citizens and generations yet unborn. Sectional interest is not what this country needs, it is not what the citizens want but rather, leaders with transparent disposition and knack to serve with proven integrity and accountability.
We Are One Nigeria
One Nigeria means every citizen of the country who meets the requirements of being a president can be elected president. That is the principle of oneness. Why is there no rotational presidency in America? Rotational presidency is the worst idea I have never seen in the political history of any nation. It is unconstitutional, backward and undemocratic. This is because when you rotate something you can never get the best. Besides if we rotate, what about the minority? It means they cannot stand a chance to rule the country no matter how bright, charismatic and patroitic their sons and daughters may be. If we are one and in unity, we have to look for the best for the nation, whether the best is Ibibio, Hausa, Ogoni, Yoruba, Ibo or Isekiri. If he or she possesses what it takes to lead this great country, that person should be welcomed. There should be no glass ceiling in choosing or endorsing any one for the top job irrespective of where the person comes from in Nigeria. It is time for us to have the will power to do things right.
Americans for example looks for a credible candidate, transparent with track record for governance or public office holding so to speak. They look for the best through checking your past and what you are coming to do with all amount of fairness and sincerity of purpose. They check everything concerning you, the past, present, family history, lineage and relations. Barrack Obama’s aunt e.g. almost put him in trouble. They sought to know from him why his sister was in the country illegally. The Democrats were so smart and defended that their candidate had no business with that. The people were trying to use her against Obama because she was a relation to President Obama. This is the way it works because it is a serious business to lead. Even when a leader makes a wrong decision, it is not often out of selfish interest but may be out of desire to keep the country running.
Presidency should go to a person that is tested and found fit to rule. He should be one that is most qualified to do the job. It should have nothing to do with rotation but with sterling and transparent qualities. That is nationhood. Nigerians are happy because it is beginning to work.
Some Nigerians are unnecessarily critical and when you hear them you will deduce that their position is boiled out of sentimentality. They refuse to accept that the country is working. Someone said, “We are in a state of anarchy. The nation has long been broken down into pieces, waiting to be coupled back. Babies are corrupt right from their mother’s womb. As soon as they are delivered, they are ready to join the wagon of “treasury looters”. Our brothers and sisters of this great country, this is not very true. Nigeria is working. No economy ever had a quick fix. There is no hard and fast rule to fixing an economy. It is not a matter of putting your hand in the bag and coming out with a solution. It grinds steadily, slowly with clear direction to be fixed. We should not sit on the fence and expect magic to happen in a twinkling of an eye. Support positive efforts and don’t circumvent them.
A roommate in the University of Calabar, precisely, Hall Six, who read Geography and Regional Planning, said that his wish is to get to the top; loot the treasury and retire to private business. He meant it. This is not inborn attitude but influenced by what he sees around himself. It is so sympathetic. We have to see that the youths are reoriented and their minds are renewed to think of a new Nigeria basking in transparency and accountability.
Another friend once told me that he wants to contest for Councillorship. He has not even completed a certificate course. Can you imagine the magnitude of mess such administration would experience? That will not be good representation. Somebody has not complete school certificate course, he wants to be a Councillor. What do we expect from such representation? What do we expect from someone who goes to Senate or House of Representatives without having a degree? What has he to offer the society in terms of quality representation? We should care about these things, if we must advance for greatness.
However, somebody has to lead us to greatness. Somebody has to do that for this nation. We need a new image: an image of sincerity of purpose and integrity. We can create a new image whereby we are respected as a people and as a great nation. This revolves around having the knack for good governance by working to see that people’s lives are getting better. This is the type of Leader that Nigeria needs now.
We were destined to be the delight of Africa and the world at large. God has blessed Nigeria. The keys to unlock these blessings are transparency, accountability, integrity and selfless service.
Leader Olumba Olumba Obu, The Sole Spiritual Head of Brotherhood of the Cross and Star, in a sermon captioned; “The Notion of Love” said;
“When the threat was made that Nigeria would be suspended from the United Nations Organization (UNO), I laughed at man’s ignorance. Was that to happen, there would be nothing like the UNO again. Nigeria is the leader of the universe. It is the dwelling place of God. If God is excluded in anything, such a thing perishes. It is to the UNO’s advantage that Nigeria is a part. Whatever Nigeria is involved in, is blessed. Very soon, everybody will come to Nigeria. What will bring them here is the presence of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit”.
The prophetic and spiritual psyche as enunciated above about this great country cannot be comprehended by a lot of us Nigerians even the people on the seat of power; otherwise we would be careful knowing that we are placed in a position to bring Nigeria to where it is divinely destined to be. The Leader’s unequivocal declaration was spiritual insight of what Nigeria is destined to be which we have taken for granted for too long. This country exists to be great, exuding influence and authority in global affairs and it is only and only us that can help her attain this status.
God has given us a great leader, with harmless mien which many have credited his ascension to the seat of the President of this country. Take it or leave it, God is with this country but He will not come down to do it. President Muhammadu Buhari cannot succeed without the support of all of us Nigerians in whatever capacity we find ourselves, so let us change our attitude to see something good in another man with transparency of heart and selflessness to enjoy government with accountability and integrity.
“The ultimate determinant in the struggle now going on for the world will not be bombs and rockets but a test of wills and ideas-a trial of spiritual resolve: the values we hold, the beliefs we cherish and the ideals to which we are dedicated.” Ronald Reagan
40th U.S. president (1911 – 2004)
We can become A Great Nation
What is missing in this country? Good name and decent treatment for her citizens even at the airport of other countries. Also, our attitude of self, first, reflecting unpatriotic tendency has kept us where we are today. President Muhammadu Buhari has vowed to transform this country to greatness and needs everyone’s support to achieve this onerous tasks. Remember, it takes two to tango. Where you come from does not matter to put this country in the right footing. Criticism, because you are on the other side would not serve either but knowing that leaders must be supported and prayed for to succeed. Nigeria as Africa’s pride needs a detribalized, visionary, pragmatic, non-parochial, patriotic, loyal, honest and committed leader with foresight. In our various interviews Nigerians have attested that these traits are found in President Muhammadu Buhari.
Look at China! Few years ago, where was it? In the early nineties nobody talked about China in the news. Not too long ago, Chinese were running to other countries like America, Australia, Malaysia, and Canada etc. by whatever means. Some got trapped and could not make it because of the hazardous means and responses of government towards illegal migration but go to that country today, which is second largest economy after America, almost all families are running family businesses; over 6o% buying houses and brand new cars. This is because they are patriotic through the inspiration of Chairman Mao Tse Tung, visionary, industrious men and women of integrity.
We should not be interested in acquiring the nation’s wealth but should be interested in the nation’s image and success and this will be our success too.
A Leader is a Father and Chief Servant
It is a common knowledge that a leader is different from a ruler. A leader leads and does not drive, it is said. He is the first example to follow and that gives him the quality of a father.
Someone asked me; “what would you do, if you were a governor in your State and you heard that some people went to girls’ dormitory to rape? I said, I will investigate in my capacity as the governor and arrange for a man hunt for those rapists and placing a reward for any one that will lead to their arrest. Nothing will stop me from investigating and arresting them to face the full wrath of the law. That is how serious I will take it.
Remember that when you are a leader, you are a father to the people.
A “Leader”, being the “Chief Servant”, should always be looking ahead to please his “Master”, which is the people in this case. Whatever position one is elected to serve, one should hold firm that, he or she is there to serve. UNTIL WE DROP THE CRAZE FOR WHAT WE GET FOR GETTING TO POLITICS, WE CANNOT PROGRESS. The primary thing should be service. This mindset will change a lot of things in the system to work right. This brings in transparency, accountability, integrity, conscience and the fear of God to guide our stewardship. Things will be done right, everybody will be happy and leaders will have sense of achievement. When Jesus Christ washed the legs of His disciples, He was showing that leaders are servants. GOOD LEADERS SHOULD KNOW THAT THEIR ROLE IS SERVICE AND NOT SELF. A transparent, accountable government is what Nigeria needs to meet the challenges ahead.
We should not be interested in acquiring the nation’s wealth but should be interested in the nation’s image and success and success and this will be our success too