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Ezekwesili, Aig-Imoukhuede, others offer solutions to Nigeria’s economic woes


Oby Ezekwesili

• Ondo, Kano govs call for state police
Former Minister of Education, Dr. Obi Ezekwesili, has offered a three-pronged solution to Nigeria’s economic challenges. She lists them as sound policy, strong institution as well as effective and efficient public and private investments.

Speaking yesterday at an interactive section of the 2017 yearly General Conference of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) in Lagos with the sub theme, “Great Debate: We need help now”, Ezekwesili who pointed out that indiscipline and corruption had made it difficult for the institution to be effective, urging government to simplify its policies and pay good salaries to attract new people.

According to Ezekwesili, the country needs to be driven hard on discipline to overcome corruption.

She said: “The idea that a country’s economy can be closed is not anything founded on facts but we, however, have to determine the degree of openness of the economy.

“It is not possible to completely close an economy to the degree that it cannot interact with other countries in the world. You cannot discuss openness with an ideology. It is better to use an evidence-based approach.

“When the Economic Growth and Recovery Plan was announced by this administration, I was of the opinion that you cannot create an economic reform plan that will not totally overhaul the system and the sectors we have in place.”

The President of the Nigerian Stock, Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, said Nigeria must run an open economy to thrive.

He stressed that internal growth was essential in the success of an open economy.

The well-attended session was moderated by the Attorney-General of Kebbi State, Bala Sanga. The other panelists were Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State and former Georgian Prime Minister Nika Gilauri.

According to el-Rufai, there was need to support homegrown businesses in order for the national economy to grow.

Represented by the state’s Solicitor-General, Chris Umar, the governor said: “We need to support our technology, businesses and infrastructure, especially foreign direct investments (FDIs).

Gilauri noted that Nigeria has to establish strong trade agreements with foreign partners as well as engage in public private partnership (PPP).

He noted: “Georgian economy was opened because that was the only way to fight corruption. The most closed economy was that of the Soviet Union and we all know what happened to it.”

Also yesterday at the event, Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State and his Kano counterpart, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, called for the creation of state police, saying the move would improve security in the country.

Both, who spoke during the Governors’ Forum segment of the event, maintained that the current policing structure was too centralised.

They termed the labelling of governors as chief security officers of their states as a mere expression, since the commissioners of police do not take instructions from them except Abuja.

According to Akereodulu, Nigeria cannot afford to be under one command of police.

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