The Oasis Reporters
December 31, 2019
By Sir Don Ubani; KSC, JP,
Okwubunka of Asa.
Development of any human society largely depends on the vision of its leaders.
Countries like China, Japan, Korea and Singapore in Asia systematically worked their way to economic fame and stability as a result of vision of their leaders.
Even in nearby East African country of Rwanda, a country that is not only faced with the enormous challenge of being landlocked, but was immeasurably devastated by a five-year internecine civil war that was basically a genocide, vision in leadership has marked it out as a country that is the envy of all African countries. Its place of pride is as a result of the vision and tenacity of its current President, Mr Paul Kagame.
The point being made here is that a society can grow only to the extent of the vision of its leadership. A person with a very low vision can not provide leadership capable of translating to vibrancy in development. In such a situation, the society he or she leads would, at best, have a stunted growth. A leader should not be myopic.
Let it be emphasized that leadership is fundamentally propelled by vision. The vision a leader has basically defines his or her goals and, therefore, serves as his or her compass. With an unambiguous Vision, navigation becomes not only seamless but also laced with accomplishment.
The world over, governments pursue realization of their developmental objectives by drawing budgets. Typical of the Nigerian clime, developmental expectations of both federal and state governments are conceived and expressed in contracted and limited annual budgets.
Generally, a budget is an estimate of income and expenditure for a given period of time. It could, therefore, be regarded as an expression of hope. It is no gainsaying that in life, not all hopes materialize. So it is with budgets.
A government would, under normal circumstances, wish to accomplish every item captured in its annual budget. However, her dreams could be be badly affected by paucity of resources. Governments are not as rich as majority of people outside government would like to believe.
The consequence of the above fact is that projects in a budget that government is unable to execute within a fiscal year, might be made to suffer total abandonment, except it goes through another annual ‘rirual’ of budget presentation, scrutiny and defence.
As an intellectual in governance, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu, having already meticulously passed through his first four-year administrative crucible in governance and studiously taken cognizance of flaws inherent in Annual Budgets and their implementation, has proposed a radical shift from the current system of state budgeting.
On the 16th of December, 2019, his government conceptualized and inaugurated what it calls Abia State Visioning Committee On Long Term Development Plan.
According to the Governor, who was represented by his Deputy, Sir Ude Oko Chukwu, time and circumstances have made it almost imperative that the state should look beyond the prevalent annual budgetary culture.
As he rightly stated, an elected government should be able to draw its developmental objectives in such a way that even when a new government comes in, it would inherit it, for purposes of continuity.
Based on this concept, the State Visioning Committee On Long Term Development Plan, headed by an iconic Permanent Secretary in the State’s Civil Service and Executive Secretary of the State’s Planning Commission, Dr (Mrs) Nnenna Chikezie, was, on inauguration, charged with the responsibility of articulating a long term developmental plan that will encapsulate a wide range of developmental growth of the state and which will, in effect, guarantee and quicken the overall development of the state.
Not wanting to leave the Committee unguided, the Governor stated that twelve pillars of development will help the Committee chart its course. Some of the pillars are; Education, Health, Agriculture, Trade and Investment, Environment, Security and Finance.
The Committee, made up of thirty-five quintessential personalities, has its members drawn from the state’s pool of technocrats and bureaucrats, the Academia and the legislature.
Also instructive is the fact that the various Ministries, Departments and Agencies are keyed into this exercise. These organs of the state administration which, before now had played strategic roles in formulating the state’s annual budgets, are now required to articulate from a wider perspective.
This innovation is quite a healthy one. It would offer the state government a higher focus on development.
The State House of Assembly, after the exercises that will culminate in passing a long term budget, will have more time to concentrate on making laws and oversight functions.
A governor whose government has the privilege of running a long-term development budget, will be less distracted, as he will be constantly busy being in pursuit of the stated developmental goals.
Many right-thinking Abians are praying and looking forward that the Dr (Mrs) Nnenna Chikezie-led Visioning Committee, which is mandated to hand in its report at the end of first quarter of 2020, will do a thorough work and give the state the best.
Written by Sir Don Ubani.
Former Commissioner for Information, Abia State.