According to reports, the Governors of Ekiti and Osun States, Ayodele Fayose and Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, have disagreed on the controversial issue of selling the nation’s national assets to finance the 2016 budget and salvage Nigeria.
The governors expressed the divergent views during the weekend during the 20th anniversary of Ekiti State, where Governor Aregbesola delivered a keynote address bordering on the current Nigeria economic challenges.
A group of stakeholders of Ekiti State people comprising state civil servants, traditional chiefs and rulers, clerics, organized labour, organized private sector, informal sector and security operatives had received Aregbesola at the Government House in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital.
While Aregbesola urged the Federal Government to sell off national assets he described as idle and spare the functional ones as part of measures to end recession, Fayose vehemently opposed to the idea and declared that selling off the nation’s assets amounts to auctioning Nigeria.
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 next year?
“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 Federal Government to also uphold the principles of justice and equity, which he said are germane to building democracy, Fayose spoke further: “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 are supposed to contest elections and not people contesting against inadequacies of the electoral umpire.
“A virile opposition is a veritable ingredient of democracy.
“The Federal Government should promote justice and the rule of law and ensure that justice is administered to all parties irrespective of political affiliation.”
Speaking further, Aregbesola, who proffered other measures such as aggressive effort on agriculture, concerted efforts to end oil pipeline vandalism and regional integration towards meaningful development, 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 ongoing vandalism of oil pipelines as the militants’ activities have been reducing the nation’s daily productivity level to between 700,000 to one 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 one 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 State praised Ekiti State 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.
He said: “I congratulate with 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.
“The truth is that no Yoruba state, with the exception of Lagos State, can survive alone without collaborating with sister states.
“Therefore, we have to come together, pull together our abundant human and material resources.”
Explaining why he chose Aregbesola, a colleague from another political party, the All Progressives Congress, as speaker for the occasion, Fayose, a member of the Peoples Democratic Party, said there was a 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.
He said: “I took this decision that you should come instead of my colleague from my party because if we don’t take away the veil of politics and wear the armour of Nigeria, we would be wasting our time.
“I’ve personally visited you before and I’m glad you are also here.
“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.
“They are beginning to ask questions why we are still using cutlasses and hoes when we want to diversify.
“Why in 15 months of the current administration there has been no step taken to declare emergency in agriculture.
“All countries that I know, including the little Ghana, are all importing things that are important to their people.
“At this present time, we are nose-diving and not progressing because there have not been cogent steps taken by the Federal Government to effect a positive change.
“One important thing is that it is not about what we eat or wear, it is about leadership.
“It’s about the body language of the leaders.
“When our leaders go outside the country and brand us armed robbers, there are so many foreigners who want to invest in our economy, but are afraid because of all these.
“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.”