Anyim Pius Anyim
Former Minister of State for Finance, Mr. Remi Babalola, has advised the Federal Government to confront head-on, corruption in the country as well as to focus on job creation.
Babalola, who gave the advice as a guest at this month’s edition of Speaker Series Africa in Lagos, was however upbeat about Nigeria’s future outlook.
The former minister noted that unbridled corruption, lack of accountability and impunity were major challenges bedeviling governance in the country.
Babalola said: “I am an incurable optimist on Nigeria. I believe the future is so bright you may need to wear a shade. But then it’s all about choices we make as a nation in respect of leadership options and development strategies. If we make the right choices (I pray) the future is unbelievably great.
“Transforming from poverty to prosperity is a reality closer than many people believes. There is a formula for success which we have seen in China, India, Brazil and South Korea. We can add Malaysia and Indonesia for comparative analysis with Nigeria.”
He however maintained that in order for the country to avoid a bleak future, those entrusted with public finances must endeavour to pursue initiatives aimed at ensuring fiscal responsibility, public procurement and effective management of debts.
“The government must confront corruption head-on,” Babalola, who is the Vice Chairman of Law Union and Rock Insurance Plc added.
“The channel we allocate our resources is a major determinant of what beckons our society in the far horizon,” he further said.
He noted that he had no regret serving the nation, adding that service to the fatherland and humanity is the greatest endeavour in life.
When asked if he would ever run for a political office or take a political appointment again, the former minister said, “That is not in my immediate or near term plan. I do not know about the long-term since they say never say never.”
He however advised that brilliant and intelligent people should be encouraged to take up leadership roles in the country.
“We need to encourage our best and brightest minds in governance and leadership of Nigeria. They must however have their means of livelihood or sustainability and value system on solid ground. It will help them to remain independent and selfless in service,” Babalola stated.