Against the backdrop of prevalent poverty in the country despite the abundant natural resources, the incoming administration has been tasked to do things differently by valuing the lives of Nigerians.
This is even as it has been charged to re- appraise the operations of anti-corruption agencies in the country to make them more effective.
President of Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), Festus Osifo, speaking at the opening of the National Executive Council (NEC) meeting of the association in Abuja last week, lamented that the standard of living of most of Nigerians has been a case of “hand-to-mouth.”
“We challenge the new government to do things differently by caring and valuing the lives of the citizens,” he said.
He reasoned that poverty and crime are rampant on the back of unemployment of more than 60 per cent of those that are able and willing to work.
“Despite promises by successive governments, the country remains in darkness due to a lack of power thereby stifling the growth and investment that are so badly needed to create jobs and lift people out of poverty,” Osifo said.
He recalled that Nigeria started its journey of independence about the same time as countries like Malaysia, South Korea, and Singapore, to name a few.
“All these countries have long overtaken us despite our oil wealth and joined the league of industrialized countries,” he said.
The high cost of living and other economic issues, Osifo reasoned have combined to worsen the current situation, leading to an increase in the country’s poverty index, further corroborated by the National Bureau of Statistics, “133 million Nigerians are multi-dimensionally poor out of over 200 million citizens.”
He said, “This is against the fact that the country is endowed with human and natural resources. The failure of the previous and the current leaders to manage the resources of the state has resulted in the failure in governance.
Alake recalled that the DIL recorded another first through the N187 billion series 1 bonds (under the N300 billion program), being the largest corporate bond ever issued in the history of the Nigerian capital markets and the management was pleased to have set the remarkable milestones, showcasing the depth, resilience and liquidity of the domestic capital markets, whilst reflecting the strong credit quality of the issuer, despite the current global market volatility.
“The bonds issuances were well received by the market and recorded participation from a wide range of investors including domestic pension funds, asset managers, insurance companies, and high net-worth investors.
Indeed, the reception of the market was buoyed by the strategic importance of the project and its expected impact on the Nigerian economy. Overall, we strongly believe the success of the Series 1 and 2 bond issuances further demonstrates investor confidence in our credit story and the appreciation of the work done by the Group across several key sectors that are crucial to the development of Nigeria and the continent at large,” Alake said.
Alake pointed out that his Company was not new in the business of listing securities on NGX. “We are therefore conversant with all the listing requirements and promise to be prompt and up to date in that regard. We count on the cooperation and support of NGX and the stockbrokers to meet this important investors’ objective.”
The DIL Group Managing Director assured that the company would remain resolute in the Nigerian and African story an
“One would be correct if said that the past 63 years have been the story of leadership that has failed its people and the nation is tending towards a failed state. Our hospitals are dangerously unequipped, with doctors armed only with stethoscopes and drips while the rest of the world is racing ahead with modern technology.”
To correct the malaise, the PENGASSAN president said the union recommends that key ministries should be headed by professionals and experts as political party loyalty or membership should not be a yardstick for ministerial and institutional appointments.
On corruption, the labour leader said it seems to be proliferating and it is the cause of the dilapidation of our institutions and national health.
“Worst still is the lack of resolve to eradicate it through different means including consequence management,” he said.
According to Osifo, cases of corruption in and out of government have continued to compound the country’s woes, even as resources that are expected to contribute to gradually reducing the poverty rate are siphoned off by a few people who take advantage of their positions in government.
He stated, “Sample cases like that of the of ex- Accountant-General of the Federation, who allegedly misappropriated N109bn, with the EFCC said to have recovered only a paltry some of N30bn and that of a former EFCC head, who was arrested and later sacked over mishandling recovered loot and selling seized assets, have been swept under the carpet.
“So also, are other cases whose investigations have been concluded, ongoing or stalled?
All these have made the corruption war a lip service.”
The president said it is the expectation of the union that the incoming government will urgently carry out due diligence, appraisals of the operational apparatus of the The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) and other agencies charged with responsibilities of fighting corruption with a view to making them more effective.