Anambra State's Peer Review
THE State Peer Review Mechanism, modelled after the African Peer Review Mechanism that rates countries against each other in terms of efficiencies in governance, is an important study in how governments should work.
Its application Africa wide, has not elicited the type of changes intended, particularly in governments opening themselves up for scrutiny by the people. Yet, it remains an important step in African governments assessing each other and learning from each other.
Countries with favourable Peer reviews have better opportunities of attracting investors, since the Review encompasses key components that address transparency in the administration of a country’s resources.
The Mo Foundation, which sponsors the Review in Africa and awards an annual leadership prize to past African leaders, whose administrations laid foundations that sustain the ideals of the review, has gone for two years without finding a leader to reward. It says a lot about the quality of African leadership, though some argue that the Mo standards are too high.
Either way, the extension of the Review to Nigerian States has met the same setbacks that Mo faces. State governments were meant to submit their administrations to a Review by other States for a comparison of their performance along agreed indices. With the great achievements of governors all over the country, they are unwilling to submit themselves to Peer Review and benefit from it. What are they hiding?
There seems to be a general misunderstanding of what the Review could do for States. Better still, States are unwilling to open their affairs to the interrogation of bodies that could detect the decay the administration of many States represent.
Donald Duke, former Governor of Cross River State, Chairman of the National Steering Committee of the State Peer Review Mechanism, was full of praises for Anambra, the only State that availed its self-assessment to the Committee. Professor Oladipupo Ademolekun was effusive with his applause too for Governor Peter Obi’s development of Anambra.
Without another State to compare with Anambra, its assessment should at best be interim. Moreover, Anambra remains the only State that has never conducted local government elections in the past 13 years.
Obi inherited the system and has shown no inclinations, after six years in office, to stop administering the local governments through illegal contraptions called caretaker committees. Section 7 of the Constitution states, “The system of local government by democratically elected local government councils is under this Constitution guaranteed; and accordingly, the Government of every State shall… ensure their existence under a Law which provides for the establishment, structure, composition, finance and functions of such councils.”
Important as infrastructural development is, it is no substitute for constitutional governance, which Obi largely ignores.
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