Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, said Friday that the Nigerian nation was in dire need of redemption saying the nation has lived with poor governance, extravagance and indolence induced by free money for too long.
Ekweremadu said the time for free money is over and the time has come for Nigeria and Nigerians to retrace their steps as the country is already neck deep in economic recession with the attendant hard life and escalation in inflation.
Speaking at the investiture of the 15th President of the Association of Professional Bodies of Nigeria, said it was unfortunate that the country was not structured for wealth creation and economic prosperity, but for wealth sharing and guzzling.
The Deputy Senate President said however there was hope for the country only if professionals do the right thing, assuring that while the National Assembly will continue to make laws for the good governance of the country, the attitude of the people and government must also change.
He said: “This investiture ceremony comes at a most crucial time in our recent history. Instructively, well-meaning Nigerians including my humble self-have continued to warn, even long before now, that our nation is not structured for wealth creation and economic prosperity, but for wealth sharing and guzzling.
“Otherwise, there should have been no reason to continue to rue the fall in oil pride in a knowledge driven global economy. It is a clear indication of how much we have thrived on a wrong federal structure and wasted our yesteryear a. For too long, we have lived with poor governance, extravagance and indolence induced by free money.
“Today, the honeymoon is over. We must wake up to reality and retrace our steps. The country is already neck deep in economic crisis, the recession bites even harder and inflation has escalated. It is needless to cry over spilt milk. But I dire to add that we are a country in dire need of redemption and very fast too and this redemption must also start from within.
“We will continue to work hard to ensure that the legal frameworks guiding our electoral system conform to international best practices and standard while also addressing our peculiar local challenges.
“However, I will be quick to add that our attitudes as a people and government are equally as important as the laws, for laws amount to nothing unless they are obeyed and enforced.
Therefore, while we do our best to reform our electoral system, we should also be patriotic enough to respect our laws and ends chew impunity.
While expressing hope for a bright future for the country, Ekweremadu said: “with the array of professional bodies that make up the APBN, I see hope for our nation. I have gone through the list of professional bodies that constitute the APBN and I came to the conclusion that we will be out of the wood sooner than expected if each professional body plays its part well.
“APBN comprises the creme de la creme of Nigeria’s technocrats and professional community. Therefore, we certainly have the requisite knowledge and human resources to revamp our economy if we deploy round pegs in round holes regardless of political, religious and ethnic affiliations.
“For the APBN in particular, it is time to show your strength and worth. I challenge you to rise to the occasion and proffer short, medium and long term solutions to our economic crisis.”
Delivering a paper entitled “Deconstructing professionalism in the context of economic recession: a fresh perspective”, Deputy Bice Chancellor of the African Business School, Abuja, Dr. Anthony Ubani said the failure of leadership was largely responsible for the present economic recession in the country.
According to Ubani, contemporary studies in economic development have conclusively determined that there are other critical factors, other than capital and markets that stimulate economic growth and development, one of which he said is leadership and governance which speaks to the available quality and quantity of professional, political, managerial, entrepreneurial, technical skills and abilities as well as the strength of institutions.
He said: “In practical terms, leadership is what determines and drives governance. Good governance whether democratic or corporate seeks to establish and promote strong, credible and sustainable institutions which regulates performance and compliance.
“Institutions are enablers of efficiency, predictability, stability, trust, business, innovation, growth, development and confidence in the economy. Invariably, therefore, a leadership that lacks professionalism cannot deliver credible and strong governance institutions that the economy needs to thrive.
“Today, the credibility of governance institutions is the number one indicator that investors use in making their investment decisions. In other words, to the extent that the rule of law, an independent legislature, a free press, a vibrant civil society, effective regulatory institutions, etc cannot be guaranteed in Nigeria, then it will be difficult if not impossible to attract the much needed foreign and local investments that are urgently required to reflate Nigeria’s economy and reverse the current economic recession.
“The implication of this is that leadership has a direct relationship with economic growth and development. As professionals, it is therefore important to understand that leadership recession is the direct cause of economic recession in Nigeria. A leadership, whether corporate or political, that lacks professionalism, purpose, patriotism, vision and values can only engender economic poverty, political instability, social dislocation and failure.
“Furthermore, if we agree that integrity, specialized knowledge and compliance to rules and laws are about the most potent solutions to the malignant cancers of corruption, compromise, complacency, impunity and incompetence that have conspired to mortgage Nigeria’s economy, then we can also logically deduce that the APBN is uniquely positioned to offer and inject these solutions into the leadership orientation of Nigeria.
“The message therefore, is that the APBN, more than ever before, has a critical role to play in supporting, strengthening and enhancing the efforts of government to pull Nigeria out of the present economic recession.”