Poor governance is a reality; Jidaw asks: can e-governance be an answer? By hitting the vulnerable, who constitute the majority, hardest weak governance stifles development. The rich, the endowed may withstand or even benefit from the contradictions but they alone cannot drive development. At Jidaw we emphasize that poverty of governance perpetuates poverty, exploitation and marginalization. Low quality government administration cannot bring about the high-level sustainable growth required to reduce poverty and unemployment.
The inefficient waste of time and resources citizens spend in line queuing for services in government establishments is not a sign of “smart”, high performing governance. Cost of running and maintaining government keeps ballooning but has that brought down the country’s poverty rate?
Jidaw asks: Administrators, be honest, are you serving the people, or yourselves? How well do you exploit new technologies to deliver the elusive, but much desired public good? The ineffectiveness and inconvenience encountered by the majority of citizens during the consumption of public service leaves much to be desired. Jidaw observes that today’s reality is that inefficient public service delivery promotes corruption. It breeds various forms of manipulation of the system for exploitative purposes. This is certainly not helping the people’s cause.
Furthermore, in leading the nation, what example is government setting for the populace with regard to productivity? Jidaw notes that you can preach all you want about visions of greatness but what message is government leadership sending about efficiency and effectiveness in the management of the public service and the nation’s resources? Please don’t tell me about how many laptops you bought! Can an inefficient bureaucracy effectively utilize the nation’s resources for poverty reduction and economic development? Governance is also about accountability and transparency but why have public sector documents and records become “secret affairs”? We say government derives authenticity from the people but after the elections do elected officials engage meaningfully with the citizens? Or is governance a “one way” affair from leader/master to citizen/servant?
Technology is here so Jidaw asks again: what message is government sending to the citizens about smartness in the exploitation of technology and knowledge economy opportunities? Any government in today’s world that rejects the full embrace of digital possibilities for improvement is backward and working against the people’s interest. At Jidaw we wonder why the desire to stick with status quo is so strong; a status quo that benefits whom? Since governance has been left behind, how do we catch up?
Let’s be honest, in a tech enabled world, dinosaur-like thinking cannot tackle the serious problems of poverty, hunger, disease, civil conflict, illiteracy and unemployment. It’s back to the role of government at all levels – local, state and federal. Jidaw notes that it is critical that we answer these questions – Is governance an end in itself? How does government work, interact and serve the public? Do governments in Nigeria deliver results? Are the country’s resources being optimally utilized? Is government making a difference, or is it a drainpipe? Smart government is a necessity not an option. The essence is to deliver the greatest possible good to the citizens.
HAVE YOUR SAY: What does e-government mean to you? How can e-government provide solutions to the challenges of development in Nigeria? Please share your comments, thoughts and opinions.
Innovation and Development Advisor, ICT at Jidaw
ICT Development Advisory Support and Consulting