Friday, 29 January 2016

MustRead: How Nigeria can rise again, by Anya, Utomi, others

Notable scholars were yesterday unanimous in their call for meritocracy to be entrenched in the manner Nigeria is governed in order to have strong institutions needed for growth. They also noted that the prevailing malfunctioning of the various institutions of the state, makes it imperative for the Federal Character Principle to be abolished.

The scholars, who took this position in Lagos at the 79-year anniversary colloquium in honour of Prof Anya O. Anya, said the practice of quota system in Nigeria is inimical to growth. At the forum which was entitled: ‘’Creating an Enabling Environment for Private Sector- Led Growth: Education, Institutions and Creative Destruction,’’ it was agreed that what Nigeria needs in the face of the current economic crisis is to regig it’s institutions in order to inspire growth.

Those at the event include Chief Emeka Anyaoku, Prof George Obiozor, Prof Pat Utomi, Prof Oye Ibidapo Obe, Mr. Fred Agbeyegbe, Chief Lawson Omokhodion and Mr. Laoye Jaiyeola among others. In his remarks, Utomi, who was the moderator of the event, said: ‘’Most agree that things would have been much worse without the work of the Nigeria Economic Summit Group. Yet it is often noted that government has not drawn from the conclusions of annual economic summits or implemented even those things it has committed to with the kind of discipline that will earn it an execution premium. If institutions that support private sector investments and reduce the drag of corruption and toll gates that delay permits, licenses and harassment by tax agencies are reduced, new growth can herald the Nigeria renewal. Political will is key to making that happen.

‘’People are upset about the collapse of the price of crude oil but I am extremely happy because it may bring the madness in Nigeria to an end. We can not afford this madness until the entire citizenry is alive and awake because what Nigeria needs is growth.’’

Also speaking, Obe said: ‘’We need to have total commitment to merit. The quota system and federal character are not helpful. They are retrogressive even to those who it is meant to help. There should be competition based on merit. That is the only way to avoid the wrath of the youths. Let us put aside primordial sentiments and think because we need to face facts and say things the way they are so that we can move on.’’

Anya said: ‘’The panelists found a way of injecting the Nigerian realism into the discussion. That is good. Change will happen but it may not be the change we are clamouring for but the one God wants. I want young people to chose their role models wisely. In doing that they should be conscious of the values that are important.’’On his part, Omokhodion said: Trust has left the society. The tangible measures of trust are not there. Institutions don’t work because people don’t get appointments on merit. By practising quota system, we have consistently denied ourselves the ability to help push Nigeria forward.’’

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