The Ondo State Governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN, says Nigeria economy went into recession because of  non-application of tested socio-economic principles by those who managed the wealth of the nation.

Governor Akeredolu who spoke on the title: “Beyond Recession: Reinventing the Nigerian Federation”‘, at the 2017 Faculty of Arts Distinguished Guest Lecture of  Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, said Nigeria was not the first to experience recession but consequent upon unpatriotic acts of omission and commission by some of the Nigerian leaders, the masses of the nation tasted the bitter pills of recession.

Speaking on the state of the nation, Arakunrin Akeredolu stated that the current agitations against the continued corporate existence of Nigeria which stemmed from parochial point of views have gone to an embarrassing level that make “Nigeria now exist only by name , during elections or when the national football teams are on the field of play”.

Governor Akeredolu challenged patriotic Nigerians to rise and explore the nation’s diversities and harness the values of the country’s heterogeneous nature towards building a virile country rather than always bringing to the front burner those divisive issues that are chauvinistic and self-serving .

While calling on the nation’s universities to help proffer plausible solutions to her multifaceted challenges, the Ondo State Governor assured that the artificial agitations for the disintegration of Nigeria will not succeed.

“Many countries of the world have once found themselves confronting a similar challenge, especially after the second world war. The United States experienced severe recession in 1930’s.

“The strategies and tactics deployed by many countries, many of which are now advanced, both in economy and technology, must be understood and put into context.

“The lessons derivable are enormous. Failure to avail ourselves of the lessons, which those experiences teach, will not be attributable to lack of striking and compelling examples,” he said.

While expressing his displeasure at the ongoing calls by some advocates of the 2014 Constitution Conference to address the current ethnic and tribal sentiments across the country, Governor Akeredolu said restructuring of the country must be by consent and not by selection.

“Restructuring is desirable, restructuring is indispensable, but must be with a well-though-out blueprint “, he asserted.

Governor Akeredolu submitted that a blueprint with strategies to restructure Nigeria will be appropriate step to reinvent the Nigerian Federation and not hate speeches or blackmail.

Earlier, the Osun State Governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, said the restructuring of Nigeria’s federalism was a panacea to the nation’s challenges.

Represented by Mr Festus Olajide, Permanent Secretary Ministry of Education, Ogbeni Aregbesola said the lecture was necessary at this time to rearrange the country.

The governor reiterated his call for true federalism and lauded the university for putting the lecture together amidst calls for restructuring and the current economic challenges.

Also the Vice Chancellor, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife Prof Eyitope Ogunbodede congratulated the governor on his victory at the last election noting that the institution identified with the various steps he had taken as an alumnus of Ife to put smiles on the face of the people.

Professor Ogunbodede commended the Faculty of Arts for working towards solving myriads of challenges facing the nation in the time past with series of lectures.

He emphasised that the theme of the lecture was apt since the nation was going through economic downturn, recession and agitation from parts of the nation.

‘This lecture series had featured so many eminent personalities including sir Emeka Anyaoku, Professor Sam David West, Chief Olu Falae to mention a few and they have proffered several solutions to some of the challenges of the nation.

”We must deeply look inwards to ensure Nigeria remains one entity and do all we can to move out of recession before it is too late,” he said.

Similarly, Prof. Gbemisola Adeoti, Dean, Faculty of Arts, OAU, said the theme of the first series of the lecture was carefully thought out as it was strategic in many ways.

“Recession or economic downturn in the nation at the moment are no longer news. It is palpable in the house, we feel it on the farm, it is a familiar song down the rivers, people are very much aware of it abroad.

“The remote causes may have been the drop in oil revenue and wanton corruption, but the consequences are far-reaching, affecting the culprits and innocent masses.

“For the nation’s economic managers especially at the state level, it has caused a consistent source of worry and unrest.

“As seekers and peddlers of knowledge in the humanities, our task is to generate ideas and regularly create platforms for engagement towards evolving a better society,” he said.

High point of the event was the presentation of Award of Distinguished Fellow to the Governor by the Faculty of Arts and by the National Association of Ondo State Students, NAOSS, Obafemi Awolowo University Chapter.

Dignitaries who at the event include: Secretary to the State Government, Hon. Ifedayo Abegunde;  Head of Service, Oluwatoyin Akinkuotu; Chief of Staff to the Governor, Chief Olugbenga Ale; former Speaker, Ondo State House of Assembly, Rt Hon. Victor Olabimtan and former Chief of Staff, Mr Femi Agagu;

Also were: Permanent Secretaries in the Ondo State Public Service; some past State Commissioners in Ondo State: Mr Wale Akinterinwa, Mrs Yetunde Adeyanju, Mr Tola Wewe; Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Research and Documentation, Mr Kunle Adebayo; Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Oil and Gas, Mr Benson Enikuomehin; Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Agriculture, Pastor Akin Olotu; Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Special Duties and Strategy, Dr Doyin Odebowale and Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Security, Alhaji Jimoh Dojumo.

And in attendance were : the Vice Chancellor of Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba-Akoko (AAUA), Prof Igbekele Ajibefun; Vice Chancellor, Ondo State University of Science and Technology (OSUSTECH), Prof Robert Ogunduyile; former Vice Chancellor, AAUA, Prof. Femi Mimiko; former Vice Chancellor, WUSTO, Prof Tola Badejo.

Royal fathers at the event include  the Deji of Akure, Oba Aladetoyinbo Ogunlade Aladelusi; Orangun of Oke-Ila, Oba Dokun Abolarin; the representative of the Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan

Ogunwusi, the Alara of Ara, Oba Adebisi Layade;

Others personalities are the Ondo State Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Engineer Ade  Adetimehin; notable leaders of the party in the state: Otunba Timilehin Adelegbe, Otunba Gboyega Adefarati, Mr Saka Yusuf Ogunleye, Otunba Dele Ologun, Princess Oladunni Odu, Mr Ife Iji, Otunba Agboola Kelly (Secretary, APC Elders’ Assembly, Ondo State), Mr Sam Ereduwa, Mr Soji Alakuro.

Some distinguished friends of the governor at the event are Dr. Wale Okediran;  a former SSG in Oyo State, Mr Dele Adigun and Dr. Iyabo Bassey. Also the teacher of History of Governor Akeredolu at Loyola College and Comprehensive High School, Ayetoro, Chief Sanya Oyinsan and the governor’s lecturer of Law at OAU, Professor David Ijaloye (the first emeritus Professor of Law in Nigeria) and his wife.

Top management staff of the university; students of the university; Ondo State Chairman of NURTW, Jacob Adebo, his executive members with several alumni of the university came from far and near to grace the annual OAU Faculty of Arts lecture.

BODE AKINWUMI