Easy money responsible for Nigeria’s underdevelopment, says El-Rufai
Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, says easy money arising from crude oil sales was to blame for the inability of most states to develop the enormous natural resources deposited in their domain.
The governor who spoke yesterday, in Ibadan, Oyo State, at the annual Founders’ Day Celebration, organised in memory of Prof. Ojetunji Aboyade, by the Development Policy Centre (DPC) said, “the earlier crude oil dries up the better for our national ability to think, be innovative and respect intellect and academic achievements. We get easy money, we do not collect taxes and our taxes are six per cent of Gross Domestic Product; that is an average of 21 per cent. We stop respecting intellectuals that we have in our universities because we get easy money.”
He regretted that the nation has lost its thinking initiative, and how to develop other sources of revenue and diversify its economy.
“Having suffered brain drain, how do we bring back our people from the Diaspora and profit from the brain-gain associated with it like the Chinese and Indians have witnessed? These are the questions a distributive mentality around easy oil revenue is dodging,” the governor said.
El-Rufai also blamed the parlous security situation in the country on the central policing system and shortage of personnel at the Nigerian Police Force.
He said, “It is obvious that Nigeria is severely under-policed, and will require more personnel, intelligence assets, better training, technology and equipment for its security agencies to be a credible guarantor of security.
“Even if these were to be available, it is also debatable whether a single centralised policing system, structure and staffing for 200 million citizens is viable in a diverse, multi-lingual, multi-cultural and multi-ethnic nation like Nigeria.
He added that the country lacked sustainable national planning policy capable of helping its development, noting that it was important to ensure that federal character policy does not negate merit.
“To complement the pursuit of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), we must have a discourse around the imperative of a project dedicated to enabling equal opportunity so that the circumstances of a citizen’s birth does not prescribe his or her ceiling in life.
“How can we promote a national subscription to meritocracy? How can we ensure that the imperative of reflecting federal character does not become the enemy of merit and quality of appointments? Today, we don’t plan. We don’t have a national plan and if we don’t plan, we are planning to fail.”
Speaking at the event, first female Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Folake Solanke called on the Federal Government to start deliberating on a policy that will free Nigeria from “free oil” money with the coming of electric cars that would drastically reduce the usage of fuel to power vehicles and other auto systems.
Dignitaries at the event chaired by Prof. Oladipo Akinkugbe, were the host, Prof Bimpe Aboyade; and the lead speaker, Prof Sam Olofin. This year’s event had as its theme “Achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.”