ONLY REVOLUTION 'LL SAVE NIGERIA -OSHIOMHOLE
The Edo State governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole yesterday in Abuja stated in definite words that the only thing that would save the nation is a revolution. But he however, qualified the revolution as that of infrastructure and the manner and attitude of the public sector in handling the management of the nation.
Oshiomhole made the remarks in his speech at the opening of the 41st Annual Accountants Conference of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) at the International Conference Centre, Abuja.
He questioned the rationale behind government's insistence that things have to change in the way the nation was being managed only in words or policies pronouncements but refusing to make sure at implementation or action, things were done differently.
In the same function, Governor Chibuike Amaechi of Rivers State in his address to the accountants, queried why after many years of battle over the pricing of petroleum products that was refined abroad, the Federal Government has not found reason to build or create the environment for the private sector to build refineries in Nigeria.
It was a day of flaks as one speaker or the other took out issues against one sector or another on the failings in the nation. In the opening lecture by the Accountant-General of the Federal, Mr. Jonah Otunla took a swipe at the accountants for aiding and abetting crime in every sector of the nation's life.
He noted that but for the compromise of accountants on ethics and prudence, there was no way any government official could divert, misappropriate or corruptly enrich himself with public fund.
He challenged the accounting profession to channel its efforts to ethics, best practices and integrity if the war against corruption and mismanagement of public fund would come to an end.
In his support for the removal of fuel subsidy, the Accountant-General said it is aimed at achieving a better economy meant to favour the poorer members of the society.
In his reactions to the speech of the AGF as a discussant, Governor Amaechi noted that the reason crimes could or have not been controlled in the nation was the prevailing unemployment.
He drew an instance from his state where he said massive roads development and other constructions have been sources of generation of employments in thousands for the idle hands as a means of reducing the crime rate. He challenged the FG to adopt such policies. Amaechi lamented the poor infrastructural state all over Nigeria and argued that the first problem of the nation that must be fixed if the nation should forge ahead was power. He lampooned the FG for holding down the state from using and distributing power it generatds from its power station, which he said was more than enough for the state's consumption.
He described what he called the trend of health tourism by Nigerians to South Africa and India as the highest and unnecessary drain on the economy of the people of Nigeria, and urged the government to manage the economy in a way that the sector would develop to cater for the healthcare needs of the citizens.
Amaechi however threw his weight behind the removal of all subsidy on petroleum products as a means of lifting the economy to make inroads into those areas where the public sector had not been giving adequate attention.
Governor Oshiomhole who took the crowd through a long speech analyzing the ills of the society rooted for the non-removal of oil subsidy. On this issue, which he declared he had wanted to skip, he said: 'I am a loyalist and supporter of President Goodluck Jonathan administration, and I have another president. My second president is the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) president, Comrade Abdulwaheed Omar.
I am a member of the NLC for life and whatever is the position of the labour on national issues is automatically my position whether I am a state governor or even the president of Nigeria. I stand on where the labour stands. But here on this matter now, I am not here to take a stand but to pose some questions to the government especially on why we want to keep doing things the same way and expect a new result. We have always been talking of fuel subsidy and what we want to do with the fallout, yet not much has been seen from past experiences. We build our roads with the same formula that never lasted and refuse to change from that. A good example was the Lagos-Benin road that looks like what is designed and built with intention of not working or serving.'
Oshiomhole lamented the total decay of infrastructure and the imbalance of the revenue allocation in staggering favour of the FG, which it questioned the states it manages with the fund outside the states already handled by the state governments.
He tasked the FG to work more towards blocking the leakages from government fund and also asked if there is any need for the office of the Accountant-General to remain the way it was.
His argument was that there should be a separation of the office from that of the Accountant-General of the FG because according to him, the AGF as presently constituted defends the FG and not the states especially in revenue allocation. He said if an AGF for the nation is separate from that of the FG, such would defend the interest of the states and LGAs while an accountant-general for the FG takes care of the Federal Government fund only.