Without restructuring Nigeria’ll remain stagnant ― Donald Duke
FORMER Cross River State governor, Mr Donald Duke, said on Thursday in Lagos that the country will become stagnant and retrogressive except both institutional and economic sectors are restructured.
Speaking at the public lecture organised by the Nigeria Movement for Positive Change (NPMC), Duke said the kernel of restructuring was how to distribute the national cake.
“We all agree that our nation needs restructuring and we all restructure our lives on a daily basis. Any individual or nation that refused to restructure will be stagnant and if you are stagnant, you will retrogress.
“That some people see restructuring as being anti-nationalists clearly explained where we are. If you engage those who are against it, they will tell you that they agree with almost everything except the issue of finances,” the former governor said.
In his welcome speech, President of NMPC, Mr Niyi Aborisade, said the movement which is non-political, was to serve as a check on the government, even as he lamented that it was on the citizens the way the country was being run.
Aborisade said the lecture was a follow-up to the one earlier done in London, adding, “So it is our duty to create awareness for people to be aware of their power to bring positive change to the country.”
Speaking on the farmers-herdsmen’s crisis, Aborisade blamed population explosion which, he said, had made it difficult for pastoralists to graze their herds of cattle.
According to him, Nigeria’s population had doubled but the productivity of the country is not commensurate with the population explosion.
“Unfortunately we are still behaving like nothing has changed. Between 1979 and 1983, our population was about 90m but President Shehu Shagari spent an average of $25bn every year. So in four years, he spent $100bn.
“The budget being proposed to the National Assembly today is N8.6trillion. But in dollar term, it is $23bn. If you divide 8.6trillion by N360, you will get $23bn.”
“So you have doubled in population but your budget has reduced 38 years after. If after almost 40 years, what you are spending today is less than what you spent then and your population has more than doubled, then you can understand all the crisis that we are facing today.
“Right now our nation is in a very critical place and if something is not done and urgently too we are all going to be a nuisance to ourselves. We are a nuisance to the entire sub-region because Nigeria is like a dam if that dam should burst it would flood all of West Africa. Our population is more than half of West Africa and it is growing astronomically but our economic indices are not growing as fast which is the challenge we have.
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“As I speak to you over 3million people have registered but it is not a political party. I am still a member of the PDP for instance and you can belong to any political party. All it is trying to do is similar to what NMPC is doing here to sensitize Nigerians to our present circumstance.
“Don’t get wrong, it is not a political party, it is not seeking for election, it is not even seeking registration with INEC,” he said.