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Colloquium wants review of economic framework

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Late Prof. Abubakar Momoh

Participants at a colloquium organised in honour of the late Political Scientist, Professor Abubakar Momoh, have disagreed with politicians advocating political restructuring of Nigeria and instead, called for economic restructuring which they said will take the country out of the woods.

Describing the on-going clamour for political restructuring as an elite demand to promote class interests, the participants made up of senior lawyers and top academics, said only a redistribution of wealth through economic restructuring can save the country from imminent explosion.

Held at the Main Auditorium of the Lagos State University (LASU) where Momoh who was the Director General, National Electoral Institute, Abuja, was Dean of Faculty of Social Sciences, the colloquium, according to Tony Iyare, Chairman of its Media and Publicity Committee, the event was organised by Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) in collaboration with Labour and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs)

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Chairman of the one-day event and Human Rights activist, Femi Falana, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), said “the clamour for political restructuring would be fruitless except the economy is first and foremost restructured.”

He cautioned all and sundry to be extremely careful with the characters canvassing for political restructuring, saying they all belonged to the group that bastardise the nation’s economy and subjected the masses to abject poverty adding “the narratives surrounding political development in the country clearly depict a small unit suffocating the entire citizens through poor economic and social policies intended to enrich them in perpetuity.”

The legal luminary said rather than confusing Nigerians with the restructuring campaign, the wealth and resources of the nation should be redistributed to benefit all class of the citizens.

According to him, “The ruling class are once again deceiving Nigerians with their talks about restructuring. You cannot have political restructure without economic restructuring. Anything outside that, we are restructuring poverty. If you look at the narratives surrounding our political scene, you will realise our country has become a big joke.

“What are they restructuring? It cannot work until our economy is restructured and wealth redistributed. Individuals like Ibrahim Babangida, Atiku Abubakar, Olusegun Obasanjo and Nasir El-Rufai, should be held responsible as they played more role more than anybody in ‘restructuring’ Nigerian economy.

“We can also restructure the economy by taking oil blocs from individuals and give them to states and local governments to manage their economies because a section of the constitution says that commanding arm of the economy shall not be privatised. Nigerians should go for their jugular by saying that people like Dangote who get duty waivers at the Ports only became rich not based on productivity but waivers, which other business people do not get. We must rededicate ourselves to stop the enemies if our people. If we remain where we are, we would have a war situation.

“Nigeria is the only country in the world where if you serve as governor for four or eight years, you will get a house in the State you govern, and even in Abuja where you never governed. Get medical allowance of N300 million for a year, receive the salary of governor for life, get about 10 armed policemen for life, change cars every two or three years, automatically get to Senate and collect salary in the senate. We have 21 of them now, former governors and deputies in the National Assembly collecting jumbo sums of money at the end of every month.”

Also, former ASUU Chairman, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Prof Omotoye Olorode, while speaking on the theme ”Nigeria in Crisis: Rethinking Economic Policies and Posing Alternative Developmental and Political Options,” submitted that “there is nothing to rethink as what we are witnessing today is a crime that the ruling class had passed on as a relay from independence era.”

He said if the ruling party is serious about corruption, it should arrest people like former President Olusegun Obasanjo, former Lagos Governors Ahmed Tinubu and Raji Fashola as well as former Rivers governor, Rotimi Amaechi, among others.

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ASUU National President, Prof. Abiodun Ogunyemi, described Momoh as an indefatigable scholar and the strongest building block in ASUU. He said the late lecturer demonstrated leadership and humbled himself as a follower.

According to him, “Momoh has always been with us despite his appointment at the Electoral Institute. At every consultative meeting, Momoh was there. He was a rallying point. He’s widely acclaimed as an unrepentant advocate of Socialist and radical scholarship. Losing such an indefatigable scholar, shall we mourn or cry? Weep not for Momoh for he came, he saw and he conquered.”

The colloquium which was attended by the Vice Chancellor of LASU, Prof Lanre Fagbohun, the former Vice Chancellor of University of Abuja, Prof Nuhu Yakubu, former ASUU President, Dr Dipo Fashina and Momoh’s junior brother, Farook Momoh among others, featured tributes and solidarity songs by members of the organised Labour, students and other activists.  

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