Sheriff Balogun in Abeokuta
Osun State Governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, said the economy recession the country is currently facing is not President Muhammed Buhari’s faulty, saying the previous government should be blamed.
Aregbesola who spoke at an inaugural lecture of Uhuru Times with theme ’Unemployment as a security challenge in a young democracy’ held in Ijebu-Ife area of Ogun State said Nigeria must drastically reduce dependence on importation to reflate its dwindling economy and tackle increasing unemployment rate.
According to him, unemployment has become a major security challenge in the country and stakeholders must look inwards to address the problem.
He said Nigerians had lived a prodigal life in the past, adding that the citizens must realise that the era of free money was gone for good in the country. He, however, said God wanted Nigerians to learn some lessons as the country’s economy slid into recession.
“We have all lived a prodigal life as a nation. We depend absolutely on a commodity that most of us don’t even know where it comes from”, he said. “The drop in the price of oil, the mainstay of the nation’s economy, has continued to shrink the economy.
This is hardly the fault of the current government. It is however the cumulative fault of previous governments that have neglected agriculture and especially the manufacturing sectors.”
“Beyond slumping oil prices, however, if we are serious about employment generation, we should principally find the way to cut down drastically on our imports. Importation provides jobs for the exporting nation and makes the importing nation perpetually dependent.”
Aregbesola advised the concerned authorities to cut the importation of the nation’s refined petroleum products “to zero.”
He added: “We should also increase our refining capacity to attain self-sufficiency and exporting status, so that we will have no need to export crude petroleum again. But we must increase our knowledge base through quality education. No nation’s industrial capacity can rise beyond the quality of its education.”
Aregbesola who described unemployment as a ticking bomb, called for development of other natural resources to create more jobs.
He added: “If we develop the gold deposits scattered across the country, for instance, we should generate at least five times what we derive from oil. Unemployment is a ticking bomb. An idle hand is a devil’s instrument and a threat to property, wealth and life anywhere”.