If half of Nigerians in their productive age are mobilized for productivity, the scourge of underdevelopment will be a thing of the past.
Former Governor of the State of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, stated this on Tuesday at a one-day dialogue with the theme, “2023 and Beyond: Tracking Campaign Promises for Good Governance” organized by NPO Reports in Abuja.
The Minister commended the publisher of NPOReports, Alhaji Semiu Okanlawon, for his professionalism and industry, urging him to continue to stand for the best tradition of responsible journalism.
“I’m here in my capacity as Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, not Minister of Interior, and I will expect to be quoted as that. I came here because of my personal relationship with Semiu. The topic he has chosen to celebrate at this One-Day Dialogue on the 12th anniversary of his publication, is very apt. All the erudite scholars who spoke have done adequate academic justice to the topic.
“When I was governor in Osun, I created a government department called the Bureau of Social Services with the acronym BOSS, to track government programmes, projects and interventions. Also, I had a Policy and Economic Team (PET) to track projects and initiatives of my office. I also engaged private social, political and economic consultants to do the performance monitoring and perception review. However, beyond the tracking of these project, what we should be doing is tracking of productivity.
“Before we can track productivity, we must mobilize Nigerians for productivity. I heard some speakers talking about tracking the productivity of all tiers of government, particularly, the local government and I ask myself, is local council a tier of government in a federation? Examples abound world over of countries that practice federal system like ours. In Australia, Germany, the United States and many others, there are only two tiers in a federal system which is usually the central and the regional governments. The local government is not one of them. Unfortunately, here, local governments, though closest to the people, but are dependent on the federation account for funding. But they should really have no business waiting from handouts every month from the central government.
“The Local Councils must generate revenue to drive development at that level. No local government will be accountable with handouts. Charity doesn’t make people responsible. The people of a locality must fund their local government. When this is done, they will be apt to exact responsibility and accountability from that government. People can hardly hold a government accountable, whose funding they are not responsible for. This applies to state governments too.
“That is why the government of President Muhammadu Buhari is investing rightly in infrastructure so Nigerians can be mobilized for productivity. With his promise to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty, if half of that number can be mobilized for productivity through the different initiatives the government is championing, Nigeria will in no time be competing with the first world nations,” the Minister stated.
Speaking earlier, former governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, revealed that whilst in office, he had a very efficient Monitoring and Evaluating Unit that tracked all government projects, but stated that according to the topic of the day’s dialogue, sometimes politicians cannot fulfil their campaign promises due to factors totally out of their control.
Also at the event were, Former Governor of Kwara State, Maigida Abdulfatah Ahmed; Former National Commissioner, Independent Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Lai Olurode, who was also the guest speaker; Kogi State Governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, represented by his Chief Press Secretary, Reverend Kingsley Fanwo; CEO Connected Development, Mr. Hamzat Lawal; Former Executive Secretary, NEITI, Mr. Waziri Adio; Former Editor, OPEC News, Ms. Angela Agoawike, Yomi Odunuga, Special Adviser to the Deputy Senate President, Gbenga Aruleba, an executive at Daar Communications PLC amongst many others.