Federal Ministry Of Information National Good Governance Tour: The Facts

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The National Good Governance Tour (NGGT) is a programme supported by the Federal Government and all the 36 State Governors to publicize the development programmes and projects of all tiers of government in the country.

The programme was designed by the Federal Ministry of Information in partnership with the National Planning Commission and the Office of the Special Adviser to the President on Performance Monitoring.

It was approved by the Federal Executive Council, the National Economic Council (NEC) and the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF).

It involves media-driven physical inspection of major projects and programmes being executed by the Federal and State Governments throughout the country on non-partisan basis.

The National Good Governance Tour Team comprises of the leadership of the Nigeria Union of Journalists; the Radio, Television and Theatre Arts Workers Union (RATTAWU); leaders of women and youth organisations; National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS); National Council of  Women Societies (NCWS); leaders of non-governmental organisations; Operatives of security agencies; representative(s) of the Nigerian Governors Forum Secretariat; and reporters from the nation’s print and electronic media houses.

The Social Media is also strongly represented and all aspects of the tour are streamed live on all the social media platforms.

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 each State.  The Citizens Forum which is attended by the Governor of each State and his officials 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.

Federal and State officials led by the Governor and Ministers answer questions and give explanations to citizens on all the major issues raised.  For most Governors and other State officials who have featured in the Citizens Forum so far, it has been very tasking as citizens ask questions on almost every challenge facing their States and their communities.

During the tour itself, State officials, contractors and service providers take questions directly from journalists from the print and electronic media and from representatives of civil society and other stakeholders on the performance of projects/programmes executed by Federal and State Governments.

The tour itself is so rigorous that many participants are unable to cope with the pace of the field visitations.  The tour team travels mainly by road and in most places begins from 9am and returns sometimes 10 or 11 pm daily.

Activities of each day in the field are widely reported in the media for the information of the public, while citizens use some of the information from the field to ask government officials and contractors pertinent questions during the Citizens Forum.

 

FINANCING THE TOUR

The NGGT is funded from the Ministry of Information’s 2012 capital budget. Costs are incurred mainly on payment of duty tour allowances of participants, security personnel, publicity and logistics.  So far the Federal Ministry of Information has not spent more than N5 million in each State visited.  The N5 million comprises DTA based on government approved rates for about 100 participants for a minimum of 3 days per State; transportation; security; medicals, secretariat facilities, etc. The participants are paid Duty Tour Allowance only and strictly for exactly the number of days they participate in the project.  I make bold to say that there has been no other known source of funding or expenditure for the project. The costs are managed by a Project Accountant in strict conformity to government financial regulations.  The NGGT is one of the most prudent and austere projects ever managed by the Federal Ministry of Information.

SUCCESSES RECORDED SO FAR

Considerable success has been recorded in the implementation of the National Good Governance Tour, which has so far covered the Federal Capital Territory and five States in the North Central Zone viz:  Kwara, Niger, Plateau, Benue and Nassarawa States.

The  National Good Governance Tour in the FCT commenced on the 20th September, 2012 with visits to project sites where high impact projects, which have attained reasonable progress were inspected. The projects cut across water, road and engineering infrastructure, development of new and existing districts as well as health and educational projects.

In the FCT and all the States visited, the team left convinced that a lot of developmental projects are ongoing by the Federal, State and Local Governments.  Generally, there was overwhelming evidence that governments are working, save for delays caused by occasional shortcomings and lack of dedication on the part of a few contractors.  It is instructive to highlight the poor execution of two contracts, one each in Niger State and the other in Plateau State.  The Bokkos–Panyam–Wamba road in Plateau State and the Agaie–Katcha–Baro road in Niger State were examples of contractor failure. As a result of the inspection of the projects by the National Good Governance Tour, both contracts amounting to about N7 billion have now been revoked by Government; other contractors and service providers who have fallen below the mark are being reviewed by government agencies.

There are several other benefits derived from the tour so far.  The tour has doused, to a considerable extent, the cynicism of          some sections of the populace about the overall development programmes of Government at the three tiers. Similarly, as a result of the positive publicity on  radio, television, newspapers and the social media generated by the NGGT, more Nigerians at home and abroad now appreciate the fact that progress is being made in the country. This is true even in states like Plateau, which had hitherto been perceived to be constantly in the news only for conflict.

It is pertinent to note that citizens living in the States visited exhibited high level of interest in the tour, especially during the Citizens’ Forum, which is always beamed live. This is because they have unhindered access to Federal and State officials to make comments on the development of their states and to seek on-the-spot explanations and answers to their questions.

The Tour and its Coverage by the Media

          So far the tour has received positive media coverage from both the print and electronic media.

           Advertorials on the good governance tour and special documentaries are planned as the tour proceeds to the rest of the country, and we have so far gone round only 5 of the 36 states and the FCT.  Our reviews show that most media houses, even those which were critical of the tour on their editorial opinion pages reported the tour extensively and routinely.

The most effective reports are not necessarily front page stories alone, but short, concise reports that get read quickly by interested citizens who often are very busy in a multi-media world of congested choices and crowded schedules.

Besides, everything inspected, covered, said, observed, analysed by stakeholders, citizens and journalists on the tour was streamed live on social media and can be visited on regular basis on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and the website of the Federal Ministry of Information, as well as other online blogs.

No event in recent times with the exception of the 2011 presidential campaigns, has received the kind of coverage in the social and electronic media as the ongoing National Good Governance Tour (NGGT).

Besides the tour is aimed at grassroots sensitization of citizens and every State covered so far has had maximum attention of its citizens/residents as can be attested to by the universal coverage of the tour and the Citizens’ Forum in every State visited so far.

Let it be stated without doubt that the clear majority of Nigerians depend on the radio and television for news, and majority of youths depend on the social media.  These have been most saturated with the National Good Governance Tour to the extent that no public programme in recent years has had the kind of public following received by the National Good Governance Tour.

Members were too exhausted after the tour of North Central States and demanded for a break.  The tour resumes mid January 2013, and will go on uninterrupted until all the six geo-political zones are covered.

 

(Signed)

Samuel Ajayi

Director, Public Relations & Protocol &

Coordinator, National Good Governance Tour.

3rd December, 2012

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