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Aregbe: A Revolutionary Who Enters Our Door

Aregbe: A Revolutionary Who Enters Our Door
  • PublishedMay 26, 2019

Do you know that not all politicians that come to our streets must enter our doors? Were you at 4th edition of RAUFNOMICS, a colloquium organised to celebrate Ogbeni Raufu Aregbesola at 62 where Mr Adegboyega Oyetola, the State Governor was the Chief Host?  Do you know that Ogbeni used the occasion to task us with four things to get our country out of the woods?.  The first is that all of us must show responsible leadership at home, work, offices and positions of responsibility.  The second task is that we must let people know that Nigeria is poor and it needs collective hard work and sacrifice to make it rich.  The third task is that by any method, we must reduce our population as a matter of emergency.  The fourth task is that we must demand from the Federal Government our cards from the National Identity Management Commission as Nigerians to let every Nigerian know where we are. Do you know why Aregbe raised the alarm?  Come along, please.  

   Do you know that the occasion throws  Aregbesola as a visionary consensus-builder by the calibre of the people in attendance?  Do you know that OtunbaOmisore sent powerful delegation to the occasion?  Do you know that Chief Dosu Ladipo was in attendance to celebrate with Ogbeni?  Do you know that as one of the architects that arranged the consensus-building between the North And the South West, we are able to get the position of the Vice President for the second time running? Do you know that his initiative to befriend the herdsmen by honouring them with a post in his cabinet from the early days of his administration kept the banner of peace aloft for many years in this State?

       Do you know that his offer of olive branch to all former Governors of the State in his first term made him to secure the second term victory despite the ‘Jonathanian flu’ of maximum regimentation of the electoral process in 2014?  Do you know that building consensus is key and keeps doors to many  heartsopen? Do you know that Theresa May,  the second female Prime Minister of  Great Britain learnt that lesson late? Come along.  

Are you aware that Mrs Theresa May became the UK’s  Prime Minister in July 2016 to lead her country to withdraw from the European Union? Do you know that thrice, she could not mobilise the necessary consensus to secure the  parliamentary support to approve her agenda contained in EU Withdrawal Agreement Bill?  Do you know that eventually she became lonely as  many party members called for her to resign?  Do you know that Aregbe has never been lonely?   Do you know that the game of politics is about consensus-building? The statement of Theresa May while quitting power,  cuts in:

“It is, and will always remain, a matter of deep regret to me that I have not been able to deliver Brexit.It will be for my successor to seek a way forward that honors the result of the referendum.To succeed, he or she will have to find consensus in Parliament where I have not. Such a consensus can only be reached if those on all sides of the debate are willing to compromise. For many years the great humanitarian Sir Nicholas Winton —  was my constituent in Maidenhead. At another time of political controversy, a few years before his death, he took me to one side at a local event and gave me a piece of advice. He said, ‘Never forget that compromise is not a dirty word. Life depends on compromise.’Hewas right.”

Do you know that Aregbe is right to offer us pieces of advice as a nation on this occasion of his birthday? Do you know that he had offered the same advice at a symposium organised to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of Hon Abdulahi Ayinde Enilolobo, an APC leader in Lagos some weeks ago?   The statement of Aregbesolaresonates:

“We don’t remember that we are poor here in Nigeria. If we have a deep thought, we ought to have a day of weeping every month. If we don’t work harder to improve our fortunes, we would continue to be poor. In 2017, Brazil had a population of approximately 200 million people almost about what Nigeria had. That year, Brazil had a revenue of about $600  billion and a budget of $700 billion.  Nigeria in that same year made $13 billion and a budget of $23 billion. Are the two countries equal?Today, OPEC allowed Nigeria to extract and sell 2million barrel of crude oil per day but we don’t get that quantity. Even if we get 2millionbarrel per day and if the price rises to $100 per barrel, it means our income will be $200 million. If you divide this by 200 million people, it amounts to $1 per every Nigerian, or #400. What can each Nigerian do with that per day?  We have to check our population by practicing birth control. If we don’t address this, we would have huge problems to deal with. We need able-bodied persons to work.”

Do you know that Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola was right?  Do you know World Poverty Clock compiled by Brookings Institute? Are you aware that this institute used publicly available data  on income distribution, production, and consumption, provided by various international organizations, most notably the UN, World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund, agency’s data covering 99.7% of the world’s population?  Do you know that it has reported that as at October, 2018 more than 643 million people in the world lived in extreme poverty, with Africans accounting for about two-thirds of the total number?  Are you aware that in October, 2018, the UNDP celebrated its anniversary with a report that the world population rose from 5 billion people in 1990 to 7.5 billion in 2017? In its 2018 edition published just last October, do you know that  the UNDP was enthused to see that the number of people in low human development index (with average life expectancy of 60.8 years) fell from three billion to 926 million (i.e. from 60 per cent of the global population to 12 per cent)? Are you aware that with these 962 million miserable people in the world under low human development index with average life expectancy of 60.8 years, which is even far higher than the average of 52.2 for Nigeria, do you know that an estimated population of 90.8  million of them are in Nigeria,  living with less than $1.90 a day?

Do you know that the 2018 report on Human Development Index showed that 3.8billion people or 51 per cent of the total world population can now be found in the matrix of high Human Development Index?  Do you know that when the world was celebrating this cheering news, Nigeria was declared as the world capital for poverty, having overtaken India? Have you read the 2018 publication of the Institute for Peace titled  Global Peace Index (GPI) 2018?  Do you know that Nigeria was ranked at the 148th position out of 163 countries?  Do you know that when Nigeria was ranked among countries in sub-Saharan Africa, Nigeria was in 40th position out of 44 countries sampled, just a little more peaceful than the failed States of Central Africa Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalia and South Sudan?  Do you know that in the same review, Sierra Leone ranked 3rd. Ghana 5th, Liberia was ranked 11th, Niger and Cameroon were ranked 33rd and 34th respectively ahead of Nigeria in 40th position? Do you know that these are the issues making Ogbeni Adesoji Aregbesola sad enough at 62?

Are you aware that there are two areas in which our country is ruling the world? Do you know that our country leads the world in the number of deaths recorded from AIDS, over 150,000 deaths per year? Do you know that Nigeria ended 2018 with 90.8 million people living in extreme poverty, defiling the first Sustainable Development Goal of the  United Nation?  Do you know that our demography of200,962,417 people as of Thursday, May 23, 2019, based on the latest UN estimates published by the Worldometers (www.worldometers.info//) is still equivalent to 2.6% of the total world population, ranking 7th in the list of countries by population with  the density of 221 per Km2 over a total land area of 910,770 Km2?  Do you know that now 51.9 % of the population translating to 104,282,822 people live in the cities in 2019 with the median age 17.9 years? Are you aware that the Nigerian  Population Forecast is besmearing…2020 (206,152,701), 2025 (233,691,888), 2030 (264,067,527) putting us in the 5th position in the world, 2035(297,323,173),2040 (333,172,092)  putting us in the 4th position in the world, 2045 (371,119,359), and 2050(410,637,868) putting us in the 3rd position in the world?)

Do you know why United Nations Population Fund was formed?  Do you know that in 1969 the United Nations was shocked to see that the world population had reached 3.6 billion, increasing by 1 billion within 17 years?  Do you know that the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) says Nigeria’s population has hit a new high of 201 million and that growth rate has been at an average of 2.6 percent?  Are you aware that the fertility rate among Nigerian women is said to have only dropped from 6.4 in 1969 to 5.3 in 2019; meaning that an average Nigerian woman gives birth to at least five children? Do you know that this is greater than the world average?  Are you aware that global fertility rate, or the average number of births per woman stood at 4.8 in 1969; 2.9 in 1994; and 2.5 in 2019 while that of Nigeria is 5.3 in 2019? Do you know that the report says contraceptive prevalence rate among Nigerian women aged 15-49 is only 19 percent? Do you know that reproductive health and reproductive rights among these women had averaged at 51 percent from   2007 to 2018, meaning that 49 percent of Nigerian women still do not have the power to decide on their sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights? Do you know that of this 201 million Nigerians in 2019, 44 percent or 88.44 million are between the ages of 0 and 14, while 32 percent, that is 64.32 million people   are within the ages of 10 and 24? Very active population?

Do you know that the 2019 World Population Review shows that we have one new birth every 4 seconds, one death every 14 seconds, one net migrant every 9 minutes and one net gain of one person every 6 seconds? Do you know that Nigeria has the largest population in Africa and the 7th in the world? Are you aware that approximately 50% of Nigerians are urban dwellers, with the rate of urbanization being estimated at 4.3%?  Are you aware that most of the population is a young population, with 42.54% between the ages of 0–14? Do you know that Nigeria has a very high dependency ratio of the country at 88.2 dependants per 100 non-dependants?

Are you aware that the population in sub-Saharan Africa is projected to increase to almost one billion people, making it the most populated region outside of South-Central Asia?  Do you know that the UNPF has projected that the population of Nigeria will reach 411 million by 2050, making it the 3rd most populous country in the world?  Do you know that in 2100, the population of Nigeria has been projected to reach 794 million while the growth rate is estimated to decrease from 1.2 percent per year in 2010 to 0.4 percent per year in 2050?  Do you know that the birth rate is projected to decrease from 20.7 to 13.7, while the death rate is projected to increase from 8.5 in 2010 to 9.8 in 2050 because of depletion of resources?  Do you know that life expectancy is projected to increase from 67.0 years in 2010 to 75.2 years in 2050?  Do you know that by 2050, 69.6% of the population is estimated to be living in urban areas compared to 50.6% in 2010, with attendant urban crises?  Can you now see why Aregbeis worried and calling for restraint?  

         May God bless the Chairman of National Population Commission, Eze Duruiheoma, while delivering Nigeria’s statement in New York on Sustainable Cities, Human Mobility and International Migration in the 51st Session of Commission on Population and Development.  He declared:  

“Nigeria remains the most populous in Africa, the seventh globally ….. The recent World Population Prospects predicts that by 2050, Nigeria will become the third most populated country in the world…. at an average annual growth rate of more than 6.5 per cent without commensurate increase in social amenities and infrastructure.”

Do you know that Aregbe is not alone unhappy about the gloomy situation?  Do you know the newly re-appointed Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele?  Are you aware that recently, he expressed worry over the country’s rapid population growth rate and  warned when he appeared for screening before the Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and Financial Institution? He advised that urgent steps must be taken to put policies that would take care of the projected 425 million Nigerians by the year 2050? Do you know that he warned of the impending population explosion and its economic implications on Nigerians?   Emefiele resonates:

“We just came back from the IMF/World bank programme in April and in the IMF’s/World Bank’s World Economic Outlook. Nigeria is positioned as a country whose population will rise to over 425 million people in 2050. That will make Nigeria the third most populous nation after China and India, overtaking the United States of America….With the current rapid population growth rate, there is urgent need for development-driven monetary and economic policies.  We from CBN, from the monetary policy side, have come to the realisation that using the instrumentality of the Anchor Borrowers Programme where access to credit is being provided to our masses all over the country would be a way to generate employment and boost economic activities amongst our rural population.”

Hurray! President Muhammadu Buhari will  besworn in for a second term on May 29, 2019, a new term of only 1,460 days.   Are you aware that in the last four years, we spent more time to discuss issues on elections than any other issue in the National Assembly?  And what were the results?  Do you know that the total number of registered voters was  84,004,084 people?  .Do you know that at the end of the day, only 28,614,190 people voted in the 2019 election representing only 34.75% of registered voters?  Do you know that the winner polled 55.6 per cent or 15,191,847 votes of the total votes cast to win, leaving his closest rival, with 41.22 per cent or 11,262,978 votes? Can we relate the voters’ apathy to the time and cost of the elections  and  the welfare of the people?   A poem interludes:

“She spent all her days learning how to cook,

And she knows a thousand dishes.

But the man she later married,

Only ate bread and milk.”

While we are still dancing from one court to the other in Nigeria on elections, do you know that India has just concluded a general election where 1,841 political parties participated and over 900 million people voted?  Do you know that the strongest opposition conceded defeat immediately?  The statement of Modi resonates: “If any one has won, it is India.  If any one has won, it is democracy”

Do you know that a new President has just been sworn-in in Ukraine after a presidential election?  Do you know that the country is moving on?  Do you know that the President of South Africa has just been sworn in for another term without acrimony?   Do you know that the second coming of President Buhari should promote employment of youths?  Are you aware that  National Bureau of Statistics stated in its Labour Force Statistics released on  December 19, 2018 that 23.1 per cent (i.e. 24,370,500) of the population was unemployed by the end of September 2018? Do you know that only about 59.9 per cent of Nigerians are literate, with males constituting about 69.2 % of this figure while the percentage for females is 49.7%?  Do you know that this is one of the reasons that our country is ranked 144th of the 162 countries sampled on the global literacy index?  Do you know that our country has been declared by the Federal Ministry of Education to have 10.5 million out of school children?  Do you know that about 75 per cent of those employed including members of the security forces are not IT compliant, thus not smart in a development oriented environment? Do you now see why crime thrives and why Aregbe is advising?

Do you know that Nigeria needs urgent land reforms in this second term of President Buhari?  Are you aware that the total geographical size of Nigeria is 923,768 square km, with land area of 910,768 square km and water constituting 13,000 square km?  Do you know that with a rising population of over 200, million people, this land size is considered to be relatively small and fast becoming grossly inadequate? Are you aware that the country has a coastline measuring 853 km, territorial sea of 12 nautical miles (nm), exclusive economic zone of 200 nm, and a continental shelf of 200 metres depth majorly wasting away without being converted to huge wealth through shipping, tourism and other maritime activities popularly called blue economy?  Do you know that we  need to refocus this corridor?  

Do you know that out of the total land area of 923,768 square km, only a total land area of  37.3% of it is arable, with permanent crops  occupying 7.4 per cent of the land area and pastures occupying 33.3 percent of the land area?  Do you know why we are backward in agriculture?  Are you aware that only about 2, 930 square kilometres of the land in Nigeria is irrigated and the balance has to rely on the vagaries of nature like the early man?  Do you know that Nigeria has to diversify with Agriculture like Brazil and Cote D’Ivoire  and solid minerals to bail us out of this mess?  Do you know that out of those countries in top ten in Africa on Human Development Index, only Ethiopia is on track to meet the United Nations’ SDG of ending extreme poverty by 2030 , followed by Ghana and Mauritania? Do you know that the population of poor people in Nigeria is greater than the population of Germany? Do you know that with the present condition of insecurity, almost six people in Nigeria fall into this trap of poverty every minutes? Do you know that we need to invest in girls’ education? Do you know that we have to invest in health? Do you know that we have to expand economic opportunities, embrace technology and vocational education? Do you know that we have to build institutions in our country? Do you know that the issues relating to minimum wage and pensions should occupy the pride of place?

Do you know that Nigerians have seen the direct cost of corruption in the trajectory of regenerative capital investment the President has executed in his first term?  Do you know that Nigerians expect this investment to continue?  Do you know that the country has to stop  food importation to drive local agriculture?  Do you know that we have  to continue all these signature infrastructure like  power, roads, bridges, railways, airports, hospitals, schools in this second term? Do you know that Nigerians want social intervention scheme to continue?  Do you know that Nigerians still want the N-Power employment scheme, Trader Moni scheme, the school-feeding programme, and the cash transfer scheme to continue?

Do you know that Nigerians want the President to deploy technology to the security sector to prevent terror from taking over?  Do you know that Nigerians expect an enduring framework that will insulate the public treasury from the plunder of light-fingered persons that may be elected or appointed into public office?  Do you know that we need to cut down the cost of elections?  Do you know that the President has to grow the economy?  Do you want to know why?  Come along, please.

Are you aware that the economic outlook is not particularly encouraging?  Do you know that Africa Development Bank projects 2.3 percent growth GDP in 2019 for Nigeria?  Do you know that the World Bank projects 2.2 percent in 2019 for Nigeria and 2.4 percent in 2020? Do you know that at the close of 2018, the GDP only grew by 1.9 percent which is unarguably not adequate for a country that has unemployment rate standing at 23.1 percent?  Do you know that the government is projecting growth rate of 3.01 percent in 2019?  Are you aware that the Central Bank is projecting growth of about 2.7 percent?  Do you know that the IMF and World Bank are projecting 2.0 and 2.2 percent respectively? Do you know that the government must come to term with itself to identify which sector of the economy will drive the 3 percent growth expected in the GDP?  Are you aware that agricultural activities are now hampered by insecurity in the viable corridors that are clement for large-scale farming? Are you aware that the spate of insecurity that led to closure of artesanal mining in Zamfara and Kaduna States will have telling effects in the contributions of mining into the GDP? Are you aware that the country’s unemployment rate rose from 18.8 percent in Q3, 2017 to 23.1 percent in the corresponding quarter of 2018?  Do you know that statistics revealed that about 14 million people lost jobs from 2015 to 2018 as a result of inclement investment climate?  Do you know that President Buhari needs to get it right in his second term?  Why?  Come along, please.

Are you aware that despite the fact that  Nigeria is the 26th largest economy in the world and that Nigeria is the first economy in Africa, can you believe that our money supply is less than 20 percent compared to that of South Africa which is above 70 percent? Do you know that despite the fact the population of China is billion-denominated,  China’s money supply is over 300 percent of their GDP?  Do you know that our stock market is only about 11 percent of our GDP?  Do you know that these are common signals of a very poor economy?  Do you know that in the last four years, there was exodus of foreign investment on account of unfavorable environment?  Do you know that small businesses folded up in large numbers? Do you know that the President has to improve in the area of the rule of law so as to lower the red flag it signals to the foreign investment community?

Do you know that it is investment that drives economic growth and jobs growth?  Do you know that we have limited investment and foreign direct investment are exiting? Are you aware that recently the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) reduced interest rate by about 50 basis points, from 14 per cent only to  13.5percent to reflate the economy? Do you know that the country’s economy was over-exposed during the last election? Do you know that there is a binding link between economy and security?  Do you know that the low economic boost is a flint for insecurity?  

Are you aware that the Trade sector is still in recession due largely to the combined limitations of security, corruption and growing the economy?  Do you know that all the members of the new cabinet must be made to read and understand Chapter II (15)(5) of the Constitution which states: “The State shall abolish all corrupt practices and abuse of power.”  Do you know that we need to resolve the issues of women in relation to Chapter II Section 17 (1)(1) of the Constitution which states: “The state social order is founded on ideals of Freedom, Equality, and Justice“.Chapter II Section 15 (2) states:  “Accordingly, national integration shall be actively encouraged, whilst discrimination on the grounds of place of origin, sex, religion, status, ethnic or linguistic association or ties shall be prohibited”.

Do you know that we have to work more to generate power?  Do you know that China generates :  6,495,100,000 MW, USA   4,281,800,000 MW, India:     1,387,000,000 MW, Russia  1,091,200,000 MW, Japan:   1,020,000,000 MW, Canada  693,400,000 MW, UK        335,900,000 MW, Iran  304,400,000 MW, S. Africa  255,100,000 MW and Nigeria   5,000 MW?  Do you know that the Power Companies currently managing power in Nigeriare just like touts in the park?  Do you know that they are not eager to transport Nigeria to the harbour of development and success?  How far can 5,000 MW of electricity poorly distributed take 200 million Nigerians? Do you know that is the reason Aregbe is sad?  

     Do you know that Nigeria has a smaller national budget than Algeria ($71.9 billion) Angola, Egypt, Libya, Morocco and South Africa?  Are you aware that all these countries have fewer citizens, yet significantly more money to spend on them?  Do you know that while Nigeria’s 2019 budget amounts to $29 billion, South Africa, with a population almost 4 times smaller, will spend $130 billion, Egypt has a $90 billion budget with 100 million people? Do you know that countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh and Vietnam have larger budgets than Nigeria for 2019? Do you know the reason why Aregbe now wants us to realisethat we are a poor nation?  Do you know that he has given us the antidotes? Yes! All of us must provide leadership.  All of us must work harder to liberate us from poverty. We must declare emergency on the issue of our rising population. And the Federal Government must order the National Identity Management Commission to issue national identity cards to all Nigerians to assist all our planning activities. We thank Mr Adegboyega Oyetola, the Governor of the State of Osun for being the Chief Host at the event.  And to Ogbeni Adesoji Aregbesola, you are a revolutionary who enters our door!

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