Recession: Aregbesola, Fayose Differ over Proposed Sale of National Assets
As controversies rage over the proposed disposal of national assets to
combat the economic recession, the Governor of the State of Osun,
Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, has told President Muhammadu Buhari to sell
off idle national assets to service the functional ones to save the
country from undue embarrassment.
Aregbesola said the country has only two options to wriggle out of the
economic recession, which are to either sell off any idle national
asset or borrow from the international capital market, stating that
nothing would profit the country to hold onto assets that has no
economic viability .
However, his counterpart in Ekiti State, Mr Ayodele Fayose, had
sharply opposed the proposition, saying it amounted to placing Nigeria
for auctioning, if national assets , that ought to be our heritage and
pride are disposed off, adding that Nigeria should desist from acting
like a prodigal son.
The duo expressed the divergent views during the weekend at the
occasion of the 20th anniversary of Ekiti State where
Aregbesola had delivered a keynote address tagged : ‘Imperative of
Aregbesola, harped on the need to gear up aggressive efforts to
developing agriculture, concerted efforts to end oil pipeline
vandalism and regional integration towards meaningful development to
bail the country out of the economic doldrums.
He 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 1 million per barrel.
" The current vandalism of oil pipeline by the Niger Delta militants
is robbing the nation of oil production of 700,000 to 1 million per
barrel on daily basis. This amounts to a huge loss of oil revenue to
the country and has further led to the current recession in the
country. An urgent concerted effort is therefore needed to stop the
vandalism so that the country could get out of the recession."
The governor of Osun praised Ekiti people as men of integrity and
courage, urging them to continue to unite in integrity and courage and
support their governor for the development of the country.
"I congratulate you all Ekiti people on the 20th anniversary of the
creation of your state, my state our state. You fought the Ekiti
Parapo war which is an indication of unity of purpose. There is
strength in unity.
It is high time the Yoruba Nation and indeed the South-West unite in
terms of integrating our development strategies in education,
commerce, economy, agriculture and tourism among others. There is no
reason why we should not unite for the best”.
In vehement opposition to the proposition, 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
"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. "
Urging the FG to also uphold the principles of justice and equity,
which he said are germane to building democracy, Fayose 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.
It is political parties that supposed to contest elections and not
people contesting against inadequacies of the electoral umpire. A
virile opposition is a veritable ingredient of democracy”.
Fayose said he decided to chose Aregbesola rather than any PDP as
speaker for the occasion because of the dire need for the nation to
remove the veil of politics and work together as a team to rescue the
nation from current economic woes.
" I want to caution that theory don't amount to reality, Nigeria
requires practical steps to surmount our challenges. If you examine
critically the current trend in the country, Nigerians have began to
ask why don't we go back to the time when Dollar used to be N200 to
one and not N500 to one.
" In all countries of the world, when a new government comes into
place, they bring together all views, opinions and parties
irrespective of their political party, to sit down and direct the
affairs of the nation because the government is coming afresh and need
a lot of things to learn and gather before they can fully take control
and build on the existing achievement," he said.