* ICAN decries unhealthy politics of governance
Ndubuisi Francis in Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari has asked for renewed efforts by all leaders of the three tiers of government to consolidate on past achievements in order to bestow on succeeding generations a country that delivers good quality life to all citizens.
Buhari restated that his administration was anchored on three pillars – fighting corruption, fixing the economy and restoring security.
Speaking at the 48th Annual Accountants’ Conference of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) in Abuja, Buhari, who was represented by the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, noted that accountants have a special contribution to make in the anti-graft war.
“Your members serving as accountants and auditors can bring to bear your special skills in ensuring that books and records are properly kept. Working closely with the statutory agencies responsible for fighting corruption, ICAN will no doubt assist government in its effort at fighting this national malaise.
“With regards to the economy, we came in at a very challenging time. We developed the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (the ERGP) which is our blueprint for fixing the economy.
“We are currently putting in place the right infrastructure so as to diversify the economic base away from oil dependence. The ERGP articulates what we have to do to create a better future for our people,” Buhari said.
On the fight against insecurity and other crimes, the president observed that the collaboration and cooperation of every citizen were required.
He said: “We all have a shared responsibility to provide credible information to our security agencies. We must preach and promote peace within our communities and hold on to the core values of honesty, probity, hard work and our neighbours’ keeper that define us as a people with esteemed values and as a nation where peace and justice reign.
“We must come together to condemn all forms of criminal activities and say NO to hate speech and acts that could destabilise the corporate existence of our nation.
“I encourage you therefore to deliberate on how your members can contribute to support our efforts at reducing corruption, restoring the economy and ensuring security. In your deliberations, I urged you to avail us your wealth of experience on how to further strengthen the existing frameworks so that together we can uplift our nation’s economy and the social well-being of our people.”
In his welcome address, the ICAN President, Alhaji Rasak Jaiyeola, pointed out that the conference with the theme, “Securing Our Shared Future: A Collective Responsibility,” goes deep into the heart of the nation’s current experience, not only in the accountancy profession but also across diverse sectors, disciplines and public governance.
He noted that he would be saying nothing new by asserting that Nigeria is a great, blessed and richly endowed nation with abundant human and natural resources.
“What may be new is that the unhealthy politics of governance, poor leadership and tussle for resource distribution at all levels have stunted, rather than accelerated, the nations pace of social and economic development.
“We have not, as a people leveraged the opportunity of our endowment to advance the cause of the nation and its people. Individual will, rather than the common good, has tended to be the driving force in politics in the last 58 years,” he lamented.
The ICAN president regretted that no nation prospers under such a scenario, adding that since the nature of politics defines the pace of economic development, “it is not a surprise that we are where we are on the global development ladder.”
Nigeria, he recalled, is currently 157th out of 189 countries sampled in 2017 by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for human development index.
According to him, from various revelations by law enforcement agencies, the commonwealth of the country have been pillaged by a conscienceless few thereby creating a sense of economic insecurity for the average Nigerian and the mass of the people.
“The repatriation of young educated Nigerians from landlocked, less endowed African countries and rescue of many others from the horrors of the Mediterranean Sea, exemplify the pain, tragedy and distrust in public governance, however well intentioned.
“Even in the pursuit of profit, the welfare of the people are sacrificed by corporate entities. Due to untamed, poorly controlled and unethical mining practices, the exploitation of crude oil in Nigeria has led to the infamous Dutch Disease.
“Indeed, the exploration and mining of the nation’s wasting natural resources cause great negative externalities which manifest in environmental degradation, impaired ecosystem, air, water and noise pollution making it difficult for the environment to play its triple functions of food provider, waste assimilator and life sustainer for the present and future generations.
“Even as the nation strives to curb wastes through computerisations, some hawks and criminals are lurking in the corners seeking to hack into systems, cause conflict between nations, losses to businesses and pain to genuine investors,” he said.