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DANKOFA: This Is Time To Stimulate Industrialisation And Generate Employment

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Prof Yusuf Dankofa

Prof Yusuf Dankofa

Prof Yusuf Dankofa is the deputy dean in the Faculty of Law, Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, Kaduna State. Speaking with KAMAL TAYO OROPO, he stressed that the Federal Government should redirect its energy towards economic revolution and devolve some of its powers to federating units.
It does appear that the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration has so much to deal with, regarding the economy and security; do you share such feeling?
To some extent, yes I do. However, the government must be told not to subordinate the economic advancement of the nation, because that remains a critical priority. The starting point is the perspective of Prof. Wole Soyinka within the context of the re-characterisation of the economy. There is an urgent need to convoke an emergency economic summit to intellectualise on the way forward and to consequentially produce an economic blueprint for Nigeria.

This is necessary within the backdrop of an impending global economic recession occasioned by dwindling fortunes from the oil sector. This administration, therefore, should redirect its energy towards an economic revolution, because at the end of the day, the yardstick to judge this administration will be on the economy –– no more; no less.

Is government tackling challenges of falling Naira and price of crude oil satisfactorily?
I believe very strongly that the President and his team need to understand that they have been saddled with a rescue mission and this mission is time controlled; it is not an infinite mandate. The team, therefore, must work as if they don’t have the luxury of time, because there must be massive industrialisation to be able to bring the country out of the woods.

The President has started well by blocking economic leakages and wastages. Good, but he must see that as a foundation to propel the country into a functional and institutionalised state, which will stimulate growth in the crucial, but long neglected non-oil sector.

The Federal Government must, therefore, urgently partner with states and development institutions like Bank of Industry, Agriculture and the Central Bank to disburse funds into the manufacturing and agricultural sectors. The benefits are two fold –– stimulate industrialisation and also creation of employment. You will be surprised that within two years, there would be massive production and empowerment.

The Federal Government must, therefore, urgently partner with states and development institutions like Bank of Industry, Agriculture and the Central Bank to disburse funds into the manufacturing and agricultural sectors. The benefits are two fold –– stimulate industrialisation and also creation of employment. You will be surprised that within two years, there would be massive production and empowerment.

But while confronting the economic challenges, the government also has the security challenges in the form of Boko Haram and the resurgence of militancy in the Niger Delta. Is economic growth still possible despite these challenges?
To be fair to this government, it has confronted the Boko Haram menace headlong and I personally think that militarily, Boko Haram has been decapitated and they no longer pose a serious threat. However, they still adopt some unconventional methods to operate and I think community policing can nip this in the bud. I, therefore, give this government credit for this and that is why I feel that having been able to record some successes on this front, they should frontally face the bad economy they inherited.

With respect to the issue of militancy in the Niger Delta, I think this government should take this issue seriously because it has the potential to derail any lofty idea that the government may have in terms of development. The government should continually engage the militants diplomatically with a view to addressing their grievances. After all, democracy is about negotiations and compromise. Also, if the budget can be implemented wholeheartedly, we may start to experience a people-based budget in terms of addressing the needs of the down trodden.

With heavy load to shoulder, don’t you think this is opportune time for the Federal Government to devolve some powers to states and local governments?
I totally agree that devolution of power is necessary to decentralise power from the federal and cede some to the states. As at today, the Federal Government is overburdened with 68 items on the exclusive legislative list. This is heavy; and naturally overburdens the Federal Government. Items like water, natural resources, state police, and electricity are something that can fall under the concurrent jurisdiction of the federal and states governments. But this entails convoking another constitutional conference, which will be genuine, transparent and committed to serious national issues, unlike the former administration’s version, which was dishonest one ab initio.

Are there any functions of the Federal Government that can easily be devolved to the states without necessarily going through a conference?
Without doubt, there are a number of such areas. Take for instance, the federal/state roads. Frankly, I am of the view that all roads should be ceded to state governments. A sound delineation or boundary system can be introduced and Federal Government can create an intervention funds to support the states in this respect. Also, the Joint admission and matriculation board should be scrapped to pave way for individual universities to conduct own entrance exams and develop its own criteria.

In all these challenges, where does the academia, research and specialised institutions stand; what roles should they be playing in taking the heat from the government?
Unfortunately the academia is in a weak position to give guidelines because of its own internal crises. There is an intellectual crises, which has led to the destruction of revolutionary intellectuals. We no longer have people like the Esko Toyo, Bade Onimode, Yusufu Bala Usman and so on. What we now have are intellectuals as businessmen, who will pander to the whims of the ruling class for material gains. With these kind of conditions it will be a tall order for the intellectual class to play the role of democratic supervisors that is expected of them. But it is expected that the intellectual class will wake up from this stupor and rediscover its mission, i.e. as the vanguard of democracy.

What about the specialised institutions like the University of Agric and university of technology; what role can they play in development and economic diversification?
The question is, are they well funded and the answer is no. Unless and until we give priorities to research by adequate funding, we will all end up in having these so-called specialised universities as empty shells.


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4 Comments
  • amador kester

    And before overzealous thugs are officially sent out to close down the schools the reps must send an urgent message to the fct minister with the bold theme:” hold your horses! “

    • Kingsley Onuoha

      Love you for this. These guys they send seems to always act beyond command plus the exploitation they would make on the victims

  • Ikorodua

    Schools without the appropriate authorisation to operate, open institutions of learning must be probed. Culprits must be sanctioned or given list of areas to be improved upon (within a time limit). This article failed to categorise the affected schools:- boarding,etc,etc. We must ensure that these schools meet a minimum standard where future citizens are equiped to do well in this our ever increasing competitive world.
    Schools should not be avenues for the ruthless and immoral exploitation of parents.

  • Niyi Oluwole

    This will actually help the nation if government will considered the points highlighted by Professor Yusuf Dankofa.

    Niyi Oluwole Oregbemi