A national leader of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) and presidential aspirant, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has said that Nigeria remains locked in place, noting that its economy is unjustly designed to export raw materials and import increasingly expensive finished products.
He noted that even though the mainstay of Nigeria’s raw materials might have changed from cocoa and groundnuts to oil and gas; the dire effects of the uneven economic arrangement remained the same.
Tinubu spoke while delivering the 25th convocation lecture titled ‘Global Trends: The Rightful Place of Nigerian in the World’ at the Lagos State University (LASU).
The former Lagos State governor, who was represented at the event by the Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, pointed out that oil and gas provided over 90 percent of foreign exchange and 80 percent of governmental revenues.
He emphasized that ever dwindling revenues from natural resource exports are no longer sufficient to fund the rising costs of manufactured imports let alone support the expansive fiscal obligations of modern democratic governance.
He said, “We must be truthful enough to acknowledge this lapse, bold enough to correct it, and tolerant enough not to endlessly vilify each other for causing it. We are all both cause and hopefully solution. We must join hands to reform this nation.
“No society can long endure in an air of mistrust and acrimony. To flourish, there must be a full understanding that every Nigerian, regardless of place or social circumstance, is equally entitled to the fundamental good things all human beings deserve and desire.
“We have boasted of enormous potential for decades, consoling our discomfort by saying that potential will be realised tomorrow. But something disappointing seems to happen when tomorrow becomes today. Years and decades have passed, yet, greatness remains elusive. If greatness comes merely by speaking of it, we would be among the greatest nations in human history. Instead Nigeria remains locked in place.”
He therefore stated that while the nation struggled through the economic mud, the world rapidly changed amid expansion in digital economy and virtual world.
He urged the young graduates to find their place in the world of cryptocurrencies and metastases but that they should not yield to the erroneous mindset that the virtual world is the dominant one.
“That a lucky few may make it rich in this sphere does not make it the critical path to national prosperity. Without the tangible goods of the productive economy, the virtual realm is but an elaborate game. A bitcoin has little use unless it can be exchanged for a valuable good or service.
Only when numbers generated in the virtual sphere become attached to tangible products or services do those numbers have true meanings. We welcome the innovations of the virtual world but we also better retool the traditional economy.
“Notwithstanding the war-induced surge in oil prices, the future will rely less on oil and gas. We dare not predicate our economic destiny on a resource of diminishing utility,” he warned.
At the convocation, 76 graduands bagged doctoral degrees while honourary doctorate award was conferred on eminent personalities, including the Governor of Kano State, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje and his Borno State counterpart, Professor Babagana Umaru Zulum, who was represented by his Deputy, Umar Usman Gadaffi.
Also, the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Nigeria in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa; Chairman of Ikeja Hotel Plc, Mr. Goodie Ibru and the former Chairman of First Bank Plc, Mrs. Ibukunoluwa Abiodun Awosika, were conferred with honourary doctorates.
The rank of Emeritus Professor was conferred on distinguished Professor Peter Akinsola Okebukola, the Chairman of Council of the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) and on the Council and Board of Trustees of 10 universities across the world.
The event was graced by important personalities and monarchs including the Emir of Kano, Alh. Aminu Ado Bayero, white cap chiefs and other traditional rulers.