• Seeks robust engagement of technocrats
The National President of the University of Lagos Alumni Association, Olorogun Sonny Kuku, has stated that for Nigeria to get out of its present situation, the country must be handed over to people with fresh minds of new ideas, honest thinkers, first-class and well-breed experts ready to work for the people.
He added that the country needs a new thought process for her to make headway, as the prevailing attitudes by current leaders and followers are antithetical to development.
In an interview with THISDAY after the association get together event tagged: ‘A Night with a Hundred Eminent Akokites,’ at UNILAG Akoka campus recently, Kuku urged the federal government to urgently engage technocrats in solving the nation’s myriad of problems.
While faulting the existence of special advisers and assistants (SAs) in the corridors of power over the years, he submitted that their appointments were needless because, according to him, the permanent secretaries, who ordinarily should be technocrats, were fit for that purpose as no one knows government’s policies more than them.
To get out of the current economic crisis, therefore, Kuku said: “This government is still being run by the same old politicians who are very good in politics but lack the ability to seek solutions to the problems, because if they were capable of solutions, we would not be where we are now. This government should swallow its pride and get experts from wherever they are in the world to inject new ideas into the system and revamp the economy (after all, Canadian is the head of England central bank). President Muhammadu Buhari government should get the best people in health, agriculture, economy, education among other sectors to rework the system.
According to the medical practitioner, “Our economy should be run by fresh minds with new ideas, honest people who are also thinkers, first class and well-breed technocrats who are ready to work for the people with passion for the job not set of people working for their interests alone. Also, it is not desirable for the government to have numerous advisers; instead, the permanent secretaries (who are the natural advisers and technocrats) should take up the advisory role while the minister position remains merely rotational.
“What do we need special advisers and special assistants for? What are they advising on when the permanent secretary is there? If a perm sec has been in a ministry for 15 to 20 year, do you know the knowledge about the ministry he or she would have? So we need a revolution of the mind as there is no more money to steal as, let the people who are ready to work be given the chance to do so. Also, infrastructure and small scale business which are integral part of the economy should be put in their rightful place.”
Admitting that there is emergency in the education sector, Kuku advocated for total free education especially from primary to secondary school levels.
He stressed that the incentive should not be limited to just tuition but must also include free books, uniform and others that make learning exciting.
He decried the federal character principle in the nation’s law books, saying it compromises merit.
Kuku, therefore, made a case for meritorious appointments and deployment of the nation’s best hands in governance and other engagements that have direct bearing on the citizenry.
The Akokite also called on the Buhari government to prioritise development of infrastructure and small scale business as a according to him, such would employ thousands of Nigeria and boost the economy in the long run.
On why the alumni kicked against the renaming of UNILAG by former President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration, he clarified that the late business mogul, Chief MKO Abiola, was eminently qualified for any honour in the land, but noted that the opposition may have been caused by the fact that the institution had become a brand which many may not be well disposed to its abrupt alteration.
Instead, he suggested that government could have immortalised the late politician by naming June 12 as Democracy Day in his honour among other befitting gestures.