A former Senior Special Assistant on Maritime, Mr. Olugbenga Leke Oyewole has decried the division in the country rather than focusing on issues that benefit the citizenry.
Oyewole who was an aide to former President Goodluck Jonathan stated that rather dissipating energy on things that would do the country good, the agitators should deploy their energy on things that would change the present poor economic fortunes in their respective states.
He expressed dismay that political nobility, tribal sentiments and subtle religious invasion have pervaded our national discourse and distracted public officials so much that governance was almost reduced to counter claims.
According to him, our blessings of an honest President and a diligent, smart Vice President have become unnoticeable. Earlier this week, I was invited to the economic diversification forum of Ondo State. Very impressive is the effort of the new government in the state under the leadership of Mr. Olurotimi Odunayo Akeredolu, SAN. The governor seems poised to develop the state at all cost. The industrialization drive looks unstoppable, employment and wealth creation for the indigenes is definitely on course.Â He revealed that the governor has secured two bitumen block licenses, arranged for an exploration company and got off-takers for asphalt overseas.
He also disclosed that the governor has appealed to the Federal Government to approve the stateâ€™s waterfront for a deep sea mining port.
â€œOil palm and Cocoa plantations in the state are to be developed through a presented master plan. This is a focused Governor with clear vision. Indeed, the presidency and the Acting President have given strong backing through approvals and physical presence at the forum.
Really, if all governors will do this Nigeria will be much better. Unfortunately, 70 percent of governors go cap in hand to Abuja to receive handouts that they were never part of making. All states have one mineral or the other to tap. Solid minerals, agriculture, aquaculture, handcrafts can do a lot. Inefficient IGR collection is even a problem in many states.
I will agree with restructuring as a panacea only if the six geo-political zones will form the federating units and all federal ministries will be dissolved leaving only the external affairs and the armed forces at the centreâ€, he said.
Continuing, Oyewole said: â€œThe National Assembly should also become one arm and to run on part time basis. Otherwise, what have we done with the structure on ground? In the Godâ€™s structure, the south has smaller land size than the north. God has put heavy minerals like crude oil and gas, iron ore, bitumen, palm oil in the South and bless it with the ocean to transport it. He gave the North a vast land and put solid minerals like gold, zinc, copper, lead, and diverse precious metals which are easier to transport by road, rail or air.
â€œHowever, we are busy looking for oil in the north. To export any oil found in the north we have to pipe it to the South. Come to think about it, the era of oil is gone. In eight years no car manufacturer will produce petrol engines. Volvo produces only hybrid cars now. But, can you imagine the wonder of God? He put plenty of lead in Zamfara, Gombe, and Nasarawa States as well as almost all states in the North. We find lithium, cadmium, zinc, copper and nickel so that car manufacturers can buy these metals from Nigeria for the rechargeable batteries!â€
He argued that the over N600 billion spent on oil exploration in the Lake Chad basin was more than enough to start a battery manufacturing plant.
â€œThe auxiliary mining industries and other support services would have taken more idle hands from Boko Haram. I implore the Acting President to start two things immediately and simultaneously too commence aggressive sensitization of Nigerian youths on the ills of war by directing all NTA stations to devote two hours daily to air documentaries of war in Somalia, Rwanda, Liberia, Angola, Libya etc. FG must commit money to buying airtime on Channels and AIT as well. The Paris money, any money available or to be borrowed should be channelled towards developing viable and strategic industries in the six geopolitical zones in collaboration with private investors. This is with a view to establishing something in all the statesâ€, he said.
The erstwhile Presidential Aide maintained that these investments can generate massive employment for the idle youths, bring the much needed foreign exchange and reduce the Naira-Dollar ratios which ultimately will impact positively on market prices of goods.
According to Oyewole, the trend is already very ugly. The interregnum era of the military was challenged by students and activists, Obasanjoâ€™s government had militancy to contend with, Jonathan was faced with Boko Haram, cessation and drums of war now beat for Buhari!
Just like Awolowo sowed education and the south west today is most educated; inactions of past governments and the complacency of state governors that sowed illiteracy, brigandage, religious bigotry and expensive lifestyle without any known source of legitimate income have sprang forth in the menace we see today.
He argued that we cannot exacerbate the situation by watering down moral values in schools when we should revive civic studies, teach dignity of labour, entrench good governance and confront the decadence by all means and at all cost.