A vast number of my media colleagues are as frustrated as I am with regards to our domestic environment and the apparent inability of the Government to do anything about it. Prevailing conditions are lending strength to the conclusion that in their headlong rush to amass power and wealth in the shortest possible time, those ‘wearing the crown’ have thrown the fundamentals of good governance out the window. It is for this reason that those mandated to rule must relearn the fundamentals embodied in the ‘A to E of Governance’.

A is for Accountability: In ethics and governance, accountability is answerability, blameworthiness, liability and the expectation of account-giving. In spite of a thorough search I failed to find this element in our system. I did however manage to discover a mutated form of this notion that was applied selectively for political vengeance or for purposes of achieving specific gains, which had no trickle down effects for the common citizen.

B is for Benevolence: This reminded me of a well-known political science guru, who taught at Harvard and is reported to have stirred the pot by stating that in his opinion, democracy was the worst possible form of government, while autocracy was the best. This wise old man is then reputed to have paused and dropped his punch line – “but where does one find a benign autocrat?” In our environment, the word ‘benevolence’ takes on new meaning, wherein the high and mighty can get away with murder and kith and kin wallow in ill-gotten favors.

C is for Corruption: This is a viral strain that has infected societies since time immemorial. Corruption has assumed epidemic proportions in the land of the pure and requires drastic measures, to first limit and then eradicate it, before it destroys the fabric of the state.

D is for Democracy: This denotes a form of government in which all eligible citizens participate equally, directly or indirectly through elected representatives in the proposal, development, and creation of laws. It encompasses social, religious, cultural, ethnic and racial equality, justice, liberty and fraternity. Academically speaking, a bicameral parliamentary democracy like ours requires three basic indicators to succeed i.e. a high level of literacy, an industrialized economy and urbanization. Regretfully we are deficient of all three, raising the notion that perhaps a Presidential form of governance may be more suited for us.

E is for Enforcement: Enforcement is the application and implementation of laws and regulations without discrimination and favor. There is an inversely proportional relationship between Enforcement and Corruption, Crime and Disorder. In my reckoning, enforcement is the single most important remedy for the ills that plague us, but in a political system beset with the urgencies of expediency, applying a ruthless rule of law across the board appears to be nothing but a pipe dream. Nonetheless, someone (not the ones that have imposed themselves upon us term after term), will have to emerge from the murk that surrounds us and run the gauntlet, unmindful of human rights and idealistic democratic principles. Once this individual has successfully performed the Herculean task of cleaning the Augean Stables, he or she must set the country on the road to a true parliamentary democracy.

Even as I begin wrapping up my piece, I can list examples where enforcement has straightened out our national kinks. Take for example, the motorway; the wearing of crash helmets in the Federal Capital or the orderly manner in which my countrymen behave as soon as they cross immigration into a foreign land – all thanks to the magic of the A to E of Governance.

The writer is a freelance columnist.