FG re­jects calls for re­struc­tur­ing

Daily Trust - - FRONT PAGE - By Isi­aka Wak­ili

Vice Pres­i­dent Yemi Os­in­bajo has shrugged off calls to re­struc­ture Nige­ria say­ing it is not help­ful and will not make any dif­fer­ence.

The vice pres­i­dent made the re­mark week­end while de­liv­er­ing the sec­ond foun­da­tion lec­ture of the El­izade Univer­sity, Ilara - Mokin, Ondo State, ac­cord­ing to a state­ment by his Se­nior Spe­cial As­sis­tant Me­dia and Pub­lic­ity, Laolu Akande.

The ti­tle of the lec­ture was “The Fu­ture is Here Ear­lier Than We Thought.” The call for re­struc­tur­ing Nige­ria has been a re­cur­ring dec­i­mal and of late reignited by for­mer Vice Pres­i­dent, Atiku Abubakar.

In a speech at launch of a book: ‘We Are Bi­afrans,’ in Abuja in June, Atiku said what Nige­ria re­quired most was re­struc­tur­ing of the fed­er­a­tion.

The in­creas­ing wave of ag­i­ta­tions and even mil­i­tancy across the coun­try, he said, called “for a re­struc­tur­ing and re­newal of our fed­er­a­tion to make it less cen­tralised, less suf­fo­cat­ing and less dic­ta­to­rial in the af­fairs of our coun­try’s con­stituent units and lo­cal­i­ties.”

His re­marks were im­me­di­ately praised by the pan-Yoruba so­cio­cul­tural group, Afenifere, and the apex

so­cio-po­lit­i­cal as­so­ci­a­tion of the Igbo, the Ohanaeze Ndigbo who ar­gued that the move would pro­vide so­lu­tions to the coun­try’s prob­lems.

How­ever, the vice pres­i­dent, while an­swer­ing a ques­tion on re­struc­tur­ing, stated: “Even if states are given half of the re­sources of the fed­eral gov­ern­ment, the sit­u­a­tion will not change.

Ac­cord­ing to Os­in­bajo, “The only change is to di­ver­sify the econ­omy.”

The vice pres­i­dent also stated that the coun­try was not earn­ing enough from oil and taxes any­more.

He noted the na­tion was blessed and that ev­ery state could feed it­self and ex­port prod­ucts if the cit­i­zens en­gaged in agri­cul­ture.

He dis­closed that this year, the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment would es­tab­lish tech­nol­ogy hubs across Nige­ria. “Two su­per hubs in Abuja and La­gos and six re­gional hubs in the six geo-po­lit­i­cal zones. In part­ner­ship with sev­eral tech­nol­ogy com­pa­nies the hubs will be fully re­sourced with in­fra­struc­ture and ca­pac­ity build­ing,” he said.

He added that in few weeks’ time, the gov­ern­ment would be­gin to train a pool of 100,000 soft­ware de­vel­op­ers, hard­ware ser­vice pro­fes­sion­als, an­i­ma­tors, graphic artists, build­ing ser­vices pro­fes­sion­als, ar­ti­sans and oth­ers.

He said in its quest to make Nige­ria the tech­nol­ogy hub of Africa, the gov­ern­ment had launched a spe­cial pres­i­den­tial ini­tia­tive on tech­nol­ogy and start-ups.

He said: “50 of the most in­no­va­tive tech­nol­ogy start-ups will soon be in­vited to the Pres­i­den­tial Villa to meet with ma­jor tech­nol­ogy and in­no­va­tion com­pa­nies as well as col­lab­o­rate with the fed­eral gov­ern­ment. The clos­est po­si­tion to that of the con­fi­den­tial sec­re­tary now is an ex­ec­u­tive as­sis­tant who is ex­pected to have strong tech­nol­ogy skills.”

Os­in­bajo said un­der­stand­ing the way tech­nol­ogy works and think­ing out of the box is the way to go in to­day’s world.

“What­ever you choose to do, be tech­nol­ogy savvy and un­der­stand its best uses in your cho­sen dis­ci­pline. You must learn to be a versatile op­er­a­tor, not a monoskilled grad­u­ate. Ev­ery­one has a right to be rich, age is not a bar­rier,” he said.

He said it was in recog­ni­tion of the role of in­no­va­tion and tech­nol­ogy in the na­tion’s eco­nomic growth plan that the fed­eral gov­ern­ment pro­vided ex­ten­sively for tech­nol­ogy and in­no­va­tion in the 2016 bud­get.

Daily Trust re­ports that for­mer Vice Pres­i­dent, Atiku Abubakar, had at a book launch in Abuja called for re­struc­tur­ing of the coun­try in line with the as­pi­ra­tions of its com­po­nent units, de­scrib­ing it as the only an­swer to the cur­rent ag­i­ta­tion for a Bi­afra Repub­lic, among oth­ers.

“The call for re­struc­tur­ing is even more rel­e­vant to­day in the light of the gov­er­nance and eco­nomic chal­lenges fac­ing us. And the ris­ing tide of ag­i­ta­tions, some mil­i­tant and vi­o­lent, re­quire a re-set in our re­la­tion­ships as a united na­tion,” he said.

The calls for the re­struc­tur­ing of the coun­try had also at­tracted var­ied com­ments from Nige­ri­ans, in­clud­ing No­bel lau­re­ate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, who backs the calls and Prof Tam David-West, who is against it.

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