Yetunde Oladejo, Osogbo
Vice Chancellor of Adeleke University, Ede in Osun state, Prof. Dayo Alao, has said that the present economic recession being witnessed in Nigeria could be managed only if the federal government takes proactive steps towards harnessing the country’s natural resources.
Prof. Alao, stated this while fielding questions from members of the Correspondents’ Chapel of Nigeria Union of Journalists, Osun State Council.
He argued that the current recession in the country was caused by our leaders whom he said were wasteful and extravagant.
According to him, “it is sad that Nigeria is undergoing recession. We fumbled for a very long time. We got our independence on a platter of gold. No blood was shed. This was in contrast to the situation in South Africa under the apartheid regime of Ian Smith. Many South Africans lost their lives as sacrifices to attain independence.
“We all know the role of that great nationalist, Nelson Mandela in the liberation and independence struggle in South Africa. Unfortunately, Nigeria got her independence on a platter of gold and neo-colonialists replaced the white British colonial masters that were departing our land. The new neo-colonial elites started living in the Government Reserved Areas (G.R.A.) and started behaving like colonial masters.
“It is so bad that we started to celebrate mediocrity in this country. Those in political positions, even, the Chairmen of Local Governments would be accompanied by a retinue of security with siren blown all over the place.
“This went straight into the economy. The day that we started to enjoy the booty of crude oil, we forgot the groundnut pyramids, cotton, cocoa, oil palm, cashew, rubber, timber and other agricultural cash crops that used to form the basis of our economy before oil. We have come home to roost and the solution is to cut our clothes according to our size and our clothes.
“There are too many flamboyant cars in Nigeria today for instance. However, when you visit the villages, you will feel and see poverty written on the faces of the people living there. That is why kidnapping, armed robbery, stealing by tricks and other anti-social vices are thriving in the country.”
Alao who stressed that it was high time the natural resources God had blessed Nigeria with, particularly in agriculture were maximally exploited saying that if well exploited, they would go a long way in boosting the economy of the nation.
“Owing to the crude oil which used to be the main stay of the economy, we forgot our groundnut pyramid, cocoa and cotton that God has blessed us with. But it’s unfortunate that oil money is no more. We have over slept. That is why we are having a problem now.
“Recession could be addressed and well managed because God has blessed Nigeria with many arable lands, resourceful people and good weather that can guarantee all- year round farming activities.
“Why can’t we make each Local Government employ at least 3,000 people to cultivate different farm products? With this , Nigeria can become food basket for Africa and the world at large.
“We need not to be wasteful. Today, we have many of our leaders that are too wasteful. This can be seen in the architectural designs and buildings in our G.R.A.’s for instance.”
The VC then said that Adeleke University has planned to embark on agriculture by partnering with the local farmers.
He said, “We are researching into how to preserve farm products like vegetables, wall nut, bananas and other perishable items for all-year round consumption as plans have been concluded on a network of internal consumption and export of processed farm products like Garri by the university.”