He made his position known in Asaba when the delegation of the National Good Governance Tour led by the Minister of Information, Mr. Labaran Maku, paid him a courtesy visit to flag-off the programme in the state.
He said the tour is necessary at this point in the nation’s history and confirmed that all 36 State Governors under the aegis of the Nigerian Governors Forum had agreed to be part of it. “To confirm and reaffirm that we all collectively agreed on this programme which I believe on a personal note that it’s very very necessary at this time of the history of Nigeria.
“Like you said a lot of issues take the front burner in the media but issues that have to do with development, especially when they are positive are put away in one small corner in the media, which I think it’s not encouraging and might not help us to move forward.
“As a state government, we are very very supportive of this programme,” he said.
Dr. Uduaghan therefore urged the Information Minister, Mr. Labaran Maku not to be discouraged and that he should remain focus in the objective of the tour.
“I want to appreciate what you are doing and to say you should not be discouraged. The hallmark of leadership is that you hear the good, the bad, the ugly and let the ugly not discourage you from your focus.”
He reiterated that the National Good Governance Tour was not a Federal Government project, and thanked Mr. President for releasing the Information Minister to pilot the programme. According to the Governor, in releasing the Minister, it shows that Mr. President is open and has nothing to hide.
Earlier, Information Minister, Labaran Maku, reiterated that the tour is a national programme which is aimed at starting a national discourse that will aid in the country’s development.
“The National Good Governance Tour, contrary to some comments usually that will go along with a programme like this, is not a Federal Government Programme. It is a national programme supported by all the 36 Governors and the Federal Government.”
He stated that when the programme was designed along with the National Planning Commission and the Office of the Special Adviser to the President on Performance Monitoring, it received the approval of the Federal Executive Council and the National Economic Council.
Mr. Maku added that in order to factor in the input and observation of the Governors, the Nigerian Governors Forum set up a special committee headed by the Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Mr. Godswill Akpabio to take a second look at the programme and agreed on a common template for the tour.
“It’s important to explain this because as we go round sometimes you hear comments that it is a Federal Government Programme. It’s not and if you look at all the people that are seated here, they come from all (segments) of society. So what we are doing is to simply lead the path to show them what is it the governments are doing.”
Mr. Maku said though progress is seen to be made in all the states visited by the team so far, there is still room for improvement.
“Progress and challenges are not at the same level because resources are not at the same level either; some states are as old as Nigeria itself. We cannot say progress has not been made but we know that we can do better to achieve greater results”.
In his comment, the President of the Nigeria Union Of Journalists, Comrade Mohammed Garba said the Information Minister discussed the concept and modality of the tour with the union before they accepted to participate.
“We were invited by the Minister. He discussed the concept and the modality. The concept of course we agreed that it’s part of our responsibility ordinarily without even the Good Governance Tour for the media to round and look at the progress in this democracy.
“In terms of modalities, we have also discussed. Part of the issue which I think we agreed was that we have to uphold the principles of freedom of expression and freedom of the press, which I think we have been agitating for quite a while. And I want to believe that throughout the states we have visited so far that freedom has been guaranteed.”
The National Good Governance Tour is a non-partisan tour involving the leadership of the Nigeria Union of Journalists; (NUJ) 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 Nigeria Governors Forum Secretariat; and reporters from the nation’s print and electronic media houses.