Ekiti State governor, Mr. Ayodele Fayose and his Osun state counterpart, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola have expressed divergent views over the proposed plan by the federal government to put up for sale, some national assets to finance the 2016 budget and rescue Nigeria out of her current economic woes.
The two governors spoke during a stakeholders’ forum organised by the Ekiti State government and held at the government house in Ado-Ekiti, the Ekiti state capital in commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the creation of the state and Nigeria’s 56th independent anniversary.
Governor Aregbesola, who stormed Ekiti state capital with some of his state official and supporters delivered a keynote address bordering on the current Nigeria economic challenges at the event attended by various groups in the state comprising state civil servants, traditional rulers and chiefs, clerics, organized labour, organized private sector, informal sector, and security operatives.
The Osun governor had advised President Muhammadu Buhari-led government to trade off only national assets he described as idle and keep the functional ones as part of measures to end recession, but Fayose who played down the idea declared that taking such action at this period will amount to auctioning Nigeria!.
Fayose said, “ I’m totally opposed to the sale of the national asset, as selling the national asset is like selling Nigeria at give -away price: selling our national assets simply amounts to auctioning Nigeria. If we sell the asset because the country is in recession, what would be left of Nigeria? What would we call our own?. Selling of assets is like bringing the country more backward. If we sell the assets to finance this year’s budget what would we sell next year?. The Federal Government should look beyond its party and assemble economists, financial experts, that would assist the President in his drive to bring the nation out of the present economic quagmire. “
The governor who also urged the FG to also uphold the principles of justice and equity, which he said are germane to building democracy said: “Justice is very important and without it, democracy is already endangered. If people are now beginning to contest against INEC and security agencies for manipulations of elections, then democracy is endangered. A virile opposition is a veritable ingredient of democracy.”
Aregbesola, who suggested aggressive agriculture, concerted efforts to end oil pipeline vandalism and regional integration towards meaningful development as possible way out of the recession , said: “We should revive agriculture, especially food production. Agriculture gives us raw materials for industries and aids in no small measure in economic development.
If we can improve on our productivity in food production through agriculture, we will eliminate hunger in our land.
“ I want to urge all Nigerians on a concerted effort to end the on-going vandalism of oil pipelines as the militants’ activities have been reducing the nation’s daily productivity level to between 700,000 to 1million per barrel.