Many Nigerians fell for APC’s booby trap in 2015 – Muritala Awodun

Muritala Awodun is a Professor of Business and Entrepreneurship. He is a member of the Governing Council of Al-Hikmah University, Ilorin, Kwara State; Director, Centre for Enterprise and Human Capital Development, Crown-Hill University, Kwara State; Chief Operating Officer, CSDC Consulting Enterprise Solutions and Founder/CEO, Fiftyfifty Institute Limited. He was the Executive Chairman that reformed the Kwara State Internal Revenue Service between 2015 and 2019. Awodun speaks on a number of issues affecting education, security, politics, economy and the 2023 elections
ASUU’s strike has lasted for over 6 months. Who is to blame?
We all have a share of the blame for the long-lasting strike of ASUU. The government’s insincerity is however, the number one factor in prolonging this strike, and I want to say that it appears as if it is a deliberate attempt by the government to lock up the universities. For what benefit you may ask? What started as a warning strike has taken the toll of a logjam that nobody can say there is an end in sight. First, the ministries that have direct responsibilities for the universities could not authoritatively address the issues of parastatals under them for this prolonged period, and the government that put the people in charge is comfortable with the situation. What they are telling us is that they don’t care about the people. Education, to governments in Nigeria, whether at the 774 local government levels, that are saddled with the basic education, or at the 36 state government levels, that are saddled with the secondary education, or the federal level that is saddled with the tertiary education, are all lacking in solutions to make the various levels of education what they should be. The outcome of the bastardization of several years is what is staring us all in the face today in terms of huge numbers of out-of-school children, staggering unemployment figures, brain drain, insecurity, inflation and unrestricted devaluation of the currency through the uncontrollable exchange rate of the naira.
Sad is the least of the feelings I could express. We are only creating another round of problems for the nation that will manifest in years to come. Every action or inaction, right or wrong will obviously have its effects that would be good or bad at the end of the day. While some few ones will leave the country for better opportunities outside, some will catch in to even grab opportunities to create some enterprises for themselves locally and succeed better than being in school. However, the majority will loaf around and become burdens to their parents, families, communities, friends and foes, and their reactions will result in negative vibes on all of these stakeholders directly or indirectly, including you and I.
What should be done to grow university education in Nigeria?
The time for us to revisit the funding system of our university education is now if we want a better and sustainable university education in Nigeria
The 2023 election is by the corner. International investors are scared? What is your advice to them?
There is no advice you can give to international investors because they are not foolish. They are already taking steps to safeguard their investments. You can see Emirates, because of their inability to get their funds out of Nigeria resulting in winding down their operations. If they continue to operate, at the same scale, they already know that they will be risking having more funds accumulating which may become more difficult to recover for effective operations. That is just one good example.
Nigeria is still ranked as the poverty capital of the world. How do you respond to this and what are the solutions?
I think we are enjoying it. At least we are first in something worldwide and we are not ready to let go that first position for a long time to come because we are not making any significant effort that can see us out of that position in years to come. You can mistakenly fall into a ditch but you cannot get out of it without making efforts to come out, so, we are in this for a record time in history, unless we start to do something to climb the ladder. We will remain at the bottom of the ladder for a long because every country that we may be looking up to for help is also saddled with global problems that, for them to remain steady on the ladder, and not fall down, is to concentrate on their journey and forget about trying to salvage a drowning Nigeria.
Nigeria’s inflation rate is on the rise. What is the way out? Inflation is a price-related problem arising out of an excess of demand over supply of any item which obviously results in rising prices. It has been said over and over that we are not producing enough of anything in Nigeria except criminality and corruption. Even where we have some comparative advantages, in music, film and the entertainment industry, the economic policies of government are making a mess of those sectors and the benefits inherent in them. Our consumption level is rather unprecedented as we have a high taste for things we don’t produce. So, for us to address the high level of inflation, we have to address production, and this cannot happen if we don’t resolve our insecurity problem that is making it practically impossible to freely go to the farm in areas of the country that are infested by the gruesome insecurity situation. Not paying attention to the insecurity problem is permitting the continuous downward trend in levels of production, and the supply shortages that will continue to support rising prices and inflation.
Insecurity is still a challenge in Nigeria. What measures should be adopted to address this?
We cannot overemphasize the unacceptable state of insecurity of our nation. This government promised us heaven and earth when they were clamouring for power in 2014. They made everybody believe that there is no better option for us as a nation than to vote in the newly and hurriedly assembled APC with General Buhari as the messiah that will bring an end to the child-like insecurity situation then when compared to what we now have as the adulthood of the same situation.
We all fell for that booby trap, as the propaganda then was unprecedented. With no better option, we all surrendered our future to the hands of the APC government and the rest today is history. What is painful is the fact that the government sees nothing wrong with the downward trend in the state of insecurity, and rather than act will be concentrating on defending what is obvious for all to see. The most honest response ever from the government concerning the insecurity situation is the President’s submission that he is tired and cannot wait to hand it over to the next administration.
2023 General Elections are by the corner. What is your advice to INEC, security agencies, the electorates and political parties?
We are in another season of electioneering and we have really not learnt our lessons as a nation. We have failed to realize how significant our choices are that we left the processes leading to the selection of the flag bearers of the various political parties to be determined under the auspices of ‘business as usual which is why we are on our kneels today. Without a change in the process through which people emerge for the election proper, there will be no change in the outcomes of the elections and no change in the performances of the elected officers.
So, all the noise about 2023 as a make or mar year for us as a nation will not happen. For the type of change that we all desire to happen, there must be a paradigm change that will require those with capacity getting involved in the various political organizations to effect and affect these organizations positively that will begin to throw up people of character and value that will have the interest of our nation at heart, in the real sense of it. For the INEC let them give us a very transparently acceptable election. Let the security agencies be vigilant and up to their responsibilities. Let the electorates vote for a competent, capable and courageous leader. Let the political parties put the interest of the nation above their selfish interests. With a credible election in 2023, we will be moving closer to getting it right by 2027, all things being equal.
Culled from ThisDay

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