The Governor of Oyo State, Engr. Seyi Makinde has disclosed that the introduction of e-governance into government in the state has played a huge role in contributing enormously to the current tremendous development and transformation in the state.
Makinde said in his address to the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) 50th Annual Accountants Conference in Abuja, with the theme: ‘Achieving Sustainable Leadership Through E-government in the 4th Industrial Revolution.”
He said that the openness and transparency propelled by the introduction of the e-governance initiative has assisted the government to fund infrastructure and ensure smooth and full payments of salaries and pensions as and when due, stating that his government has blocked leakages and save huge resources.
In a statement by Mr Taiwo Adisa, the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, he indicated that the governor equally stated that for the country to experience sustainable development and not to be left behind in the fourth industrial revolution, it requires focused leadership, which will be able to exploits its potential to “pick up and catch up with the rest of the world.”
The governor added that he noticed the state is short on resources for all the things that needed to be done and that there were many loopholes through which resources were siphoned, it quickly took action to block those leakages by creating an E-governance Plan.
He said that the plan involved digitising all government processes and services to enable a rise in the coverage and quality of information and services that are provided to the general public, stating, however, that a lot of people did not understand that period; they did not know he was laying a solid foundation for development, that is why they tagged him an audio governor.
According to Makinde, the introduction of the e-governance initiatives into different sectors including budgeting, contracting, public procurement, job recruitment, land and housing, among others, and currently, the state is reaping the rewards, as, according to him, apart from saving huge resources which are now being channelled to development, it has also made governance more efficient.
“You may wonder, what has been the result of our installing e-governance processes? In what way has e-governance benefited the people of Oyo State? Massive savings. Let me share one example. When we came in, we got consultants to look into the processes in our tertiary institutions and make things more transparent. We created a database of all staff and did identity management for them.
“We also put the prices of all items that a university needs for day to day running in a database. And so, when a requisition is made, the price has totally with that in the database. In just one school, The Polytechnic Ibadan, we got a savings of 1 Billion Naira by following this process.
“When people ask, where is the Oyo State government getting money to pay salaries when other states are struggling to pay percentages? Is he borrowing money to fund recurrent expenditure? The answer lies in the openness and transparency with which we have approached leadership and governance. Especially with the use of technology.
“I have heard people say that Oyo State has been turned into a massive construction site. We are building a state that everyone should be proud of. And technology is playing a huge role in our work. “We know that the foundation is very important. When the pioneers of the first industrial revolution started work in the 1750s, they could not have imagined how their work would be built on. 270 years down the line we are talking about a fourth revolution. This is what focused governance entails. Looking beyond one’s tenure in government.
“What I have learnt so far in Oyo State is that e-governance is possible. The transparency and openness it offers are desirable. But there are challenges. Aside from the initial cost of building the infrastructure which might appear restrictive if a leader is not looking at the bigger picture, there is also the loss of political capital that comes with it. And I must say, the latter is a bigger reason why governance in Nigeria has remained in an analogue state.
“Recently, Oyo State has been in the news. The perception that has been created in some circles is that the state is insecure. Some people have even gone to town with claims of cannibalism. But when you dig deeper, you will find that sponsors of these messages are people who no longer have access to the state’s coffers. They are people who believe that it will be business as usual. These days you see them gathering to talk about how their political age confers on them some superior level of thinking or how they will be taking over in 2023.”
The governor advised individuals who are thinking of making changes in governance in the country, he said they must be ready to embrace transparency and openness, adding: “So, for any of you here thinking of making changes in governance in the next few years, you must think in terms of bringing the transparency and accountability that digitisation and setting up processes have given to the private sector into the public sector.
“This is how Nigeria can benefit and become a leading voice in this fourth industrial revolution.”