Immediate past governor of Osun State Rauf Aregbesola has said that despite previous reports that Nigeria has the largest economy in Africa, in reality, the country is poor with a ‘very tiny’ economy.
He said this in Lagos during the launch of ‘Eleniyan Perspectives’ a book written by Olusegun Olulade, the immediate past chairman, Committee on Health in the State House of Assembly.
Aregbesola, said that because Nigerians have been told repeatedly that the country has the largest economy in Africa, they have come to believe what he describes as the fallacy that Nigeria is rich. He said many people have the illusion that the country is wealthy because only a few people have access to the crude rents coming from oil.
“We have been living on free money, which is why our economy is very tiny and we have an illusion that we are rich. Nigeria produced 2.3 million barrels of oil a day and the .3million can be cost of production. The 2 million barrels is what we share. If it is 100 dollars per barrel, that is 200 million dollars and that means each Nigerian gets 1 dollar per day, which is N366 for each person per day. Last year, Britain announced a ban of fuel and diesel by 2040 and painting a gloomy future for oil producing countries like Nigeria. So, we have just about 20 years to go, which is not far.
“The number of people that have access to the money is so small and they live large. We have been living on free money such as rents and government patronage. We have no incentive to earn anything that is productive. Any economy that is so driven can never be prosperous. To be successful and to create wealth we must be productive. Productivity is the act of adding value to everything we touch or we are asked to work upon. The efforts we could put into achieving this is work. If you don’t produce or work to add value then you are parasite,” Aregbesola said.
He also spoke on the need for youths to live within their means and emulate people like Olulade, saying that it is the pressure to get rich quick that has pushed a lot of youths into crime.
He said: “Olulade was one of the few young men that devoted their lives to ensure that Bola Tinubu became the governor of Lagos State. There is something remarkable about him. He wears a look that commands respect and he is always smartly, neatly and elegantly dressed. That is his greatest virtue as a young man.
“People should learn to discover their needs and separate them from their wants. Needs are your daily needs such as food, water, shelter and others. Wants are things like houses, cars and others. A car is a necessity in our society, but your choice of cars should be according to your capacity. I didn’t receive a salary for the eight years I spent as governor in Osun State and I never operated a bank account anywhere. I lived in a government house, I passed on government roads, my security was provided by the government.
Also, my children are grown and the government provided my clothes. My guests are taken care of by the government. I didn’t have a house of my own in Osogbo, the capital of Osun State. It is now I am thinking of getting a house in Osogbo and I have been contacting friends to help me. I have friends that have houses in Ilesha, Osun State who are begging people to live in the houses. Building a house there is a want and not need.”
In his welcome address, the author, Olulade, thanked Tinubu for writing the foreword to the book and for believing in his capacity to occupy an elective office. He also thanked other party leaders for believing in him and giving him the oppourtunity to serve his constituency. He said that what he put down in the book are his thoughts on some of the valuable lessons he learned in his political journey. He also said that he had detailed some of his thoughts on some national and international issues.
While reviewing the book, veteran journalist, Babajide Otitoju, highlighted Olulade’s contribution in Kogi governorship election.
“Olusegun Olulade has broken records by representing Epe Constituency 2 on two occasions. He has hit a milestone on national discourse.
“Eleniyan Perspectives” is a good book for the modern day fit for sale in any bookshop all over the world safe for proof reading and editing in some areas. His insight into power sharing formula is commendable. He reflects critically on political issues in the book. He stood to ensure that good leadership comes out of Kogi State during the last election in the state. Aberration is the word to describe what is happening in Kogi State. Some people insisted that they would not allow a man who is destined for greatness to emerge as Governor in Kogi State,” Otitoju said.