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Put development before politics, Tony Momoh tells government

By Itunu Ajayi, Abuja
25 November 2016   |   4:02 am
A former Minister of Information and Culture, Prince Tony Momoh gave this advice in Abuja yesterday.
 Prince Tony Momoh

Prince Tony Momoh

For Nigeria to realise its full potential, the Federal Government should put development before politics.

A former Minister of Information and Culture, Prince Tony Momoh gave this advice in Abuja yesterday.

Momoh, who was the chairman at the launch of a book titled Hope Rekindled said that other countries of the world were wise to put development first before politics, a scenario he said, had elevated those countries to a strong economic and political pedestal.

According to the former minister, “The problem of Nigeria is not economic but political. Nigeria is the only country in the world where democracy is put before development. We must put development first and then we can have what we desire.

“Why do we have parliamentarians who are full time? In the First Republic, it was part-time. Those who were part-time lawmakers then did more than the ones in full time now,” he said.

He further lamented: “A counsellor now earns more than a Supreme Court judge. The president also has loads more than any other president in the world! Do we want to kill the man?”

“We should decongest the centre. We have 80 per cent of our resources going to the centre, that is where the problem lies. When we reduce their earnings, nobody will sell his father’s house to be in politics. Only retired people will beg to be counsellor or any position at all.”

The author of the book Sam Afemikhe said corruption was just a symptom of Nigeria’s problem, noting that the basic challenges were in three broad categories, which included structure, contradictions and unstable policies.

“We all describe Nigeria as fallen short of its potential, but we never have metrics, facts and figures to show this. This is why we have put the numbers, data together to show how in Nigeria we have retrogressed.”

The reviewer of the book, Simon Kolawole harped on prudence in the running of affairs of the country. According to him, Ghana runs a presidential system of government on lean budget. It cuts cost in the number of cars used by public office holders, controls remuneration of public office holders and limits the number of foreign trips made by them.

Kolawole said without prudence, Nigeria would still run into the same problem of waste, even under a parliamentary system of government.

The 804-page book is a comprehensive analysis of Nigeria’s nationhood challenges and how to overcome them.