Good Governance and Economic Bliss

Good Governance and Economic Bliss
Professor Julius O. Ihonvbere, OON
National Chairman, Board of Trustees
Institute of Corporate and Business Affairs Management
Lagos, Nigeria
Text of a Lecture Delivered at the Church of God Mission, October 1, 2009.
I thank God for this day and thank the leadership of the Church of God Mission for this invitation.  I congratulate our mother Bishop Margaret Idahosa for continuing the great legacies of our departed Papa Archbishop Benson Idahosa.  May his good soul rest in very perfect peace.
It is indeed a pleasure to be amongst you today.  Under normal circumstances, the tone and content of this lecture would be different.  But I have a lot of respect for the house of God. A man that cannot differentiate between his father’s house and the market place is a fool.
Let me not waste your time with intellectual gymnastics, definitions and unnecessary grammar. The issue before us is economic bliss and good governance.  I have changed it to good governance and economic bliss because it is good governance that makes economic bliss possible.    Contrary to the thinking of many intellectuals and policy makers, just as we all know the difference between good health and illness, ordinary people know the difference between development and underdevelopment.  Today, some nations like to make themselves feel good by saying they are developing nations: we shall not argue with that.
Saying that our country Nigeria is blessed in every respect is saying the obvious.  What is it that we do not have in this country?  Well, we do not have terrorists, earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, Tsunamis, and other devastating natural disasters that make other nations around the world feel jinxed or cursed.  Maybe this is also why we have tended to take things for granted.  We just believe that things will be alright if we keep quiet, and don’t rock the boat.  It is best to be patient; your time to chop will come.  Others have gone as far as drawing up a philosophical road map to what they call “you chop I chop.”  Yet, others go to the extent of leaving everything in the hands of God; they bother God with everything, while they sit down and do very little or nothing.  They do not reflect, organise, think, mobilise, or act on anything.  They forget that heaven only helps those that help themselves.  But you and I know that no country has ever made progress without discipline, focus, responsible and creative leadership, planning, investment, savings, productivity, stability, and good governance.
Today, we are all shouting Obama! Obama!! Obama!!  We even claim that a black man has taken over the most powerful country in the world.  Someone on TV said that visas would now be available to all Nigerians to go to America: what a silly dream.  They fail to look at who Obama is, his antecedents, networks, investment in the people and community, fund raising strategy, organisational strategy, courage, vision and the environment in which he operated.  If Obama were a Nigerian would he win a Councillorship seat?  How many God fathers did you notice?  How many Ghana must go bags full of dollars did you see? How many thugs did you see?  How many political clashes did you see? How many policemen did you see going about with Obama during the campaign?  Did you see electoral officers announcing results?  Can you tell me the equivalent of their INEC in America? Was there a broadcast by the Police Chief warning people on how to behave?  The questions are endless… but let us leave that matter for now.  America was not always like this and Nigeria is not America.  But, can we draw lessons? We do not need to reinvent the wheel!