RECESSION: Leaders Must Rise Above Personal Interests, Counsels Ambode

  •  NLC fears Nigeria may not get out recession soon

Seriki Adinoyi in Jos

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode on Friday said that Nigeria’s present economic situation urgently required its elected leaders to rise above personal differences and interests with a common unity of purpose and deliver good governance to the people who they represent.

This is as the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) expressed fears that country may not get out recession soon, noting that “with about five months salaries being owed workers in about 27 out of the 36 states of the Federation and with gratuity of 19 years of retired civil servants not yet paid and with the current high cost of living, especially to the common man in the country, Nigeria will need to do more to get out of this recession.”

Ambode who spoke at the opening ceremony of the maiden edition of the Executive/Legislative Retreat at the Eko Hotels and Suites, Victoria Island, said the recession taking its toll on Nigerians was a wakeup call for Nigeria leaders to come together for the purpose of rescuing the nation.

On the theme of the retreat, “Good Governance in a Recession”, Ambode said the economic downturn was no respecter of tribe or religion, neither does it discriminate along political party lines, hence, every Nigerian was feeling the impact.

He said the retreat, which had brought together members of the Executive and the Legislature from the State and Federal level from both the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC), was a statement of fact that the people come first in Lagos.

The Governor said, “Our people demand, and request from us, good governance, leadership and hope at a critical time like this in our nation. We must therefore rise above our personal differences and interests, with a common unity of purpose; staying focused on our promises and manifesto at all times.

“If our economy must grow, it must also have the mindset and culture to want to grow. It is therefore left for all of us to learn to emphasise the people and de-emphasise the power to get good results. Getting good results requires that we abide by the principles of good governance; whether we are in or out of any economic recession.

It is very clear, and I also make bold to say that our concern is, and should be, about our people, Lagosians and Nigerians in general.

“One common feature of most of us gathered here today is the social contract we have with our people; having elected us to serve them. The Executive-Legislative collaboration is strongly required and desirous in order for us to deliver and create dividends of democracy.”

Ambode who also spoke on the need to entrench good governance, listed fairness, equity and obedience to Rule of Law and inclusion as key ingredients, adding that the last 16 months of his administration had focused on these principles.

“Allowing everyone to participate to reach consensus is good governance. There must be direction as to where our government is going. Strategic vision, performance, responsiveness in getting the needed results in the most cost-reduced efforts possible is good governance,” he said.

Besides, Governor Ambode also stressed that there was no better option than for the six States in the South West region under the Odu’a Investments Group to activate the partnership for economic growth.

“As you may recall, Lagos joined the Odu’a Investments Group last year to become the Sixth State in the South West with Oyo, Ogun, Osun, Ekiti and Ondo State as founders. This historic move is not only Strategic, but deeply falls in line with our vision of reawakening the political economy and socio-economic hegemony of member States.

“As we proceed to extract the greater opportunities of inclusion, it is, of necessity to call on other State Governments, irrespective of our political leanings that the Odu’a Investment initiative is a veritable economic vehicle for us to take our people out of recession,” the Governor said.

In his goodwill message, Speaker of Lagos State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Obasa commended Governor Ambode for the retreat and his purposeful leadership, saying that it was a good thing that the State is championing a platform for elected and appointed officials to deliberate on matters of paramount interest to the people.

He said for good governance to be feasible in an economic recession, sound anti-corruption policies devoid of mere speeches and lip service must be put in place, as well as cordial relationship between executive, legislature and judiciary.

According to the Speaker, all arms of government must be up and doing on their duties, focusing more on governance that is accountable, transparent, responsive, equitable and all inclusive.

NLC secretary, Dr. Peter Ozo-Eson expressed the fear of lingering recession yesterday in Jos Plateau State, where he was a Guest speaker at a public lecture organised by the University of Jos chapter of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).

Ozo-Eson, who spoke on the topic “Labouring Backwards: The Plight of the Working Class Under Economic Recession”, said the recession facing the country was the future of capitalism for Nigeria if proper measures were put in their rightful places in line with the national economic plans designed in the pre and after independence of the country.

‎He stressed also that if Nigeria got out of the current recession, the country must begin to plan ahead for another recession in the future, as the country’s currency was under severe pressure which required more practical measures than paper works.

He said there were no indications that the nation would get out of recession soon, warning that‎, “If we are not careful, Nigeria will be like Zimbabwe in the past where trucks of currencies are taken to buy breads.”

According to him, what our government has been doing in terms of economic policies since 1999 is unconstitutional, with the education sector left with little or no attention.”

He admonished the Federal Government to go back to the abandoned economic plans, cut cost of governance, revamp local industries and sectoral distribution of national budget across ministries, departments and agencies (MDA) amongst others, rather than clamouring for sale of national assets that will leave us with negative impact for future generations.

Chairman of the occasion, Nde Ezekiel Gomos, declaring the occasion open, called for attitudinal change, which he said would bring the desired outcome. He attributed the country’s ordeals to the failure of homes in upbringing, making it difficult for trusted and good economic managers to emerge in the long run.

Also, the Vice Chancellor of the University, Prof. Sebastian Maimako, represented by his deputy, Prof. Theresa Nmadu called for understanding among union members with the current economic recession. She appealed for sharing of resources in the university community.

Chairman of Unijos ASUU, Dr. Chris Piwuna also expressed worry over the call foe sale of national asses. He observed that the country’s educational sector has been in recession long before now and nothing has been done about it.