New Telegraph

What Tinubu needs to do after May 29 –Ogunlewe

Former Minister of Works, Senator Adeseye Ogunlewe, in this interview with GEOFFREY EKENNA reviews the just concluded elections and other national issues.

Now that the All Progressives Congress (APC) has won the presidency, what are they expected to do with it, particularly, Senator Bola Tinubu, who is the President- Elect?

Nigerians have two main advantages that must be explored. For us to revolutionalise Nigeria as a government for the future, we must address and concentrate on these two advantages. Firstly, our land mass, we have over 34msq/m of land, arable and useful land, that we must concentrate on developing, the present status of the land is not prepared for massive agriculture, so we need to clear some of the forest areas so as to make the land available for mechanised and modern agriculture. The second part is our population, if our population is developed properly, the cultivation of the land will be easier, we must start a revolution with our educational system, if we don’t do so, we will be an underdeveloped country.

For instance, 1.5 million Nigerian students sit for JAMB (University Matriculation Examination), annually and our tertiary institutions cannot take more than 300,000 students, the balance is a waste, it is something that should have been an advantage to us, assuming 350,000 out of this 1.5million have planned to read medicine but because we do not have the vision to develop our nation, we do not see the potential in developing those 350,000 medical students. Let’s assume 350,000 medical students are graduating every year, we can see the advantage our population will offer our nation.

Indian Diaspora Remittance is N86bn because they produce over 500,000 engineers and 500,000 doctors per annum, India has 621 medical schools, how many do we have in Nigeria? If we can just develop our manpower alone, we will rule the world just like China and India. They know our potential, but they will not allow us to do so. We need a visionary leader like Tinubu to break the jinx, by saying every student that has participated in JAMB (UTME), should be admitted into the tertiary institution at any cost. Fortunately, our higher institutions have a cost on how much the government should pay for a course, government should concentrate and be blind to every other thing other than education at all levels, it will give a lot more benefits across the world than oil and any other thing because we are not zeroing in on our education.

The government needs not to spend some much money, because education doesn’t require many buildings these days, it is now technologically based, we have the population, we must zero in on the population, and develop our population which is our future, if we are able to do so, and produce 350,000 medical students or 500,000 engineers every year, we don’t need oil again, that is an investment that could bring wealth to Nigeria easily. Secondly, there are 774 local government and 6 area councils in Abuja.

Each local government area must have a Technical College, the needful manpower is guaranteed with our technical colleges, and they have to be built to standard so that middleclass technicians can develop, as we are building the economy, we must build infrastructure and human beings with those technical colleges. There are over 180,000 wards in Nigeria, each ward must have Primary Health Care, that is, as we are producing doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and other health personnel, there are places to fix them, we can even enter into an agreement with America and Canadian governments by sending some of them abroad to acquire more knowledge and bring (them) back to our country.

What I am saying is simple, fully equipped technical colleges per local government at the expense of the Federal Government that middle-level manpower like carpenters, tailors, etc can be produced at that level and what the investment will bring in the future will be unbelievable, so that when going to your land, there are people that have been trained at the technical colleges and universities to cultivate the land for the future of the country. According to research, people are leaving Nigeria because they tend not to have a future here in terms of three things: a mortgage bank (every local government must have a mortgage bank), they must have credit facility bank, there must also be an insurance company, every Nigerian must have insurance, it is going to be compulsory because there is a problem with the house you are living in if it is insured, the insurance company will fix it whatever the problem is, that makes it is easier for someone to live. Credit banks must be available, where there can be credit cards, once one can satisfy certain conditions, the banks must be able to give credit and they must be sponsored deliberately, we have enough Nigerians can create established credit banks, and mortgage banks must be plenty so that Nigerians can have access to mortgage to do whatever they want to do in life, so government must deliberately establish all these. banks. For instance, as a doctor, there is a mortgage, insurance, and credit card, and the salary can be fixed into all these things, whenever he/she needs a car, he/she doesn’t need the government, they can go to a mortgage bank because they are registered with them and paying some levies, they will give the car, one can also pay with the credit card and backed it up with insurance, so one can live a stress-free life, that is what is happening in other climes, an individual exists with credit at the expense of these institutions which we don’t have here now. Another point is that all the companies manufacturing cars should be encouraged to manufacture agricultural machines, manufacturing cars are good but what is the impact of those cars on the economy, we need to encourage by sponsoring them to specialise in the production of agricultural machines like planters, harvesters, private sector initiatives, tractors, we should also get some companies to start manufacturing tools that could be used in agriculture. Now, we are lucky, states can transmit, generate and distribute electricity, and they must be encouraged to do so, each state must have something to produce to assist our nation to grow, nations do not grow by chance, it has to be done deliberately and we have these advantages which we are not utilising, we must utilise them so that the future of our children will be guaranteed. They need not be going all over the world, on the Mediterranean sea, and die, once there is potential in the country, what are they going to do, if we have all these facilities I have listed out, and there are places to work and the country will start to progress.

Have we played enough politics since 1960 for us not to have all these things you are talking about?

Do you see a Bola Tinubu presidency putting these things in place? It is planned. We have reached a stage where we must look for the future of our children, if we don’t have plans for Nigerian children to educate them at the Primary School level, what do you think the child will think about a nation that doesn’t have anything to do with him? Those are things Obafemi Awolowo, Sarduana( of Sokoto, Ahmadu Bello) and Nnamdi Azikiwe did to people and they are being remembered today, are there no leaders since then? When leaders don’t impact the lives of the citizens, there is no way they would love the nation. Nigerian youths do not love the nation because they see the nation doesn’t have anything for them, no future for them, where 1.5 million of them would sit for JAMB and only 300,000 can be admitted into the tertiary institutions, where will the remaining over 1.2 million go? They are our children and that is where the over 10 million out-of-school children come from, the government does not care about them.

Was that responsible for the rebellion that happens in this election?

It will happen again. Bill Gates, Bill Clinton, and other Americans that have visited us have told us that the infrastructure we are building will be destroyed by untrained children and it is bound to happen. We are building railways, and infrastructure and we are neglecting children that are your citizens and they are out-of-school with just a small problem, these 10 million out-ofschool children will destroy everything we have built and it is going to happen very soon if we don’t plan for these children and allow them to distance themselves from their nation, they don’t think Nigeria is their nation, they don’t think they are citizens of Nigeria because there is no care for them. They are unemployed, and what they studied has little relevance to what they are doing. We have over 65 research institutes, that should be turned into universities, there is a correlation between universities and research institutes all over the world, but here, they are different, there are Cocoa Research Institute, and Palmoil Research Institute and nobody is studying any of it, we must change the orientation in our educational system and let us study what we produce, let somebody has B.Sc in Casava Production, Palm oil Production, Rice Production, and so on, we are copying people that are 100 years ahead of us by studying Physics, Chemistry. But if we concentrate on what we have, like having a B.Sc. in Casava production, one can be more useful to Nigeria than studying ordinary Chemistry, let us start studying Chemistry of casava, chemistry or rice, why can’t our children study shipbuilding, airplane manufacturing, things that will use to the development of our nation, there is too much potential in Nigeria, but nobody is looking in that direction and harness them and let us use it to the benefit of our country. We have too many advantages more than many countries in the world but are we tapping into it, we are really serious so as to say we want to be like China, and India, but there is no plan. India has over 600 medical schools, but we are still struggling because someone says it is impossible, If we have a plan, let us follow our plan and develop the nation. China and Indian products were seen as inferior before but now, they are being accepted. The problem is we do not want to start, we want the best but we don’t want to experiment.

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