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Buhari must engage in debate, take leadership of APC – Don




To lay the restructuring agitation in Nigeria to rest, President Muhammadu Buhari has been urged to engage in the debate and to assert himself as the leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the country.

Speaking at the weekend during a roundtable on economy and restructuring, organised by National Pilot Newspapers in Ilorin, a professor of Political Science, University, of Ilorin, Hassan Saliu, listed lopsided appointment, nepotism and favoritism and uneven distribution of projects, among others as reasons for the restructuring agitation in the country.

According to him, the agitation has large effect on the political direction of the present administration.

“The agitation for restructuring is diversionary to President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, stoking ethic tension and engendering mutual suspicion,” he stated.

“To put the restructuring agitation to rest, the President must assert himself as the leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and he should heed the advice of Prof. Bolaji Akinyemi by educating his kinsmen on restructuring. President Buhari should make up his mind on 2014 constitutional conference report.”

In his remarks, the Emir of Shonga, Dr. Yahaya Haliru, who was the Chairman of the event said for Nigeria to rank high among the comity of nations, there is the need to democratise the vision of its founding fathers.

He lamented why Nigeria as a nation is yet to get it right despite its vast resources.

“It is so sad that as a nation we are yet to get it right despite the abundance of human and natural resources. As a nation, we need to democratise our vision and we also need to work collectively towards our vision,” he stated.

Delivering his paper; ‘An Appraisal of the proposals for restructuring in Nigeria’ Prof. Adigun Agbaje from the University of Ibadan, described the Emir’s position on attitudinal change as the only solution to the nation’s problem.

He said, “You cannot give what you don’t have. Nigeria is yet to have democracy especially with the wide spiral impunity in our system.

“We need to first get the basis right.  We don’t have federalism in terms of minimal requirement. We should not demonise Nigeria. Restructuring has longed be with Nigeria and federalism comes along with restructuring.”

Speaking further, Prof Agbaje said, “Our efforts should move from centric noise to one based on culture and values. A culture that forbids impunity,” he stated.

The Don went further by saying Nigeria’s progress is negotiable and should be devoid of violence and anger.

Speaking on the topic; ‘Understanding the fundamentals of Nigerian Economy and its current challenges’, Prof Israel Olufemi Taiwo, from the Department of Economics, University of Ilorin, said, the nation has made some social-economic progresses over time adding that the size of the economy has increased by eight fold while the per capital income has nearly doubled.

According to him, there is need to review the fundamentals of Nigeria and identify the key challenges.

“Human development in Nigeria is improving but remains low by international standard with 0.5 to 0.527 index. It is only Nigeria and Angola that are under the low development indices in Africa.

“Literacy rates is about 60 per cent of Nigeria’s population with poverty rate more than two-third of Nigerians are living below poverty rates. This shows that Nigeria is lacking in all development indices,” he stated.

Prof Taiwo however disclosed that the nation is short in terms of entrepreneur with about 25 per cent and for Nigeria to move forward he stated that the the gap in human capital and entrepreneur must be breached.

“Nigeria is yet to transit from primary products and we only manufacture about 25 per cent of our products domestically.

“The dichotomies between formal and informal sectors of the economy need to be addressed,” he posited while also lamenting the unfriendly regulatory environment in Nigeria.

He rounded up his presentation by urging the Nigerian policy makers to take pragmatic steps in improving technology, increase funding in research and improve the quality of our education.

Presenting his paper titled; Workable options for revamping Nigerian Economy, Prof. Mathew Odedokun, charged policy makers to isolate reality from fiction.

The Kwara State University(KWASU), Malete, lecturer urged the government to adopt Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF) in order to save money in terms of equity and bonds.

According to him, adopting SWF policy would have saved the nation from the recently experienced economic recession.

Speaking on devaluation of the nation’s currency, Prof Odedokun said, “If you depreciate currency by 60 per cent, there will be a net gain. However, the fixed income earners will suffer if government deliberately devalues currency in Nigeria due to inflation rate.”

Earlier, the Managing Director/Editor-in-Chief, National Pilot Newspapers Alhaji Billy Adedamola said the organisation decided to organise the roundtable as part of its social responsibility.

He said the topic of the event; economy and restructuring, are two issues that have taken the front burner of discussion in Nigeria.

The event which was held at the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Centre, Ilorin had in attendance academics, captains of industries, members of the civil society, the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) and media executives among others.

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